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A curious question about the changes in debt validation and the legal climate...


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About three years ago, I got a phone call from a really pushy collection agent in Buffalo.

I immediately came to the Internet to look for suggestions and advice, and luckily I found the Credit Discussion Boards. I followed their counsel, sent a letter and never heard from 'em again. It certainly seemed, at the time, that the laws and the legal climate were more on the side of the debtor. A CA *had* to provide information about the debt, including:

• Explanation of the calculations used to arrive at the total amount of debt

• Copies of original lending or revolving credit agreements;

• Verification or copy of any judgment if applicable;

• Identity of the original creditor;

• Proof that the Statute of Limitations has not expired on the account

• Proof of the CA's license to collect in the debtor's state

• CA's license numbers and Registered Agent info

Fast-forward to 2007... I get a letter from a local attorney and I return to the Credit Discussion Boards for some suggestions. I have been reading letters here and it looks like the climate is rather different. I see letters that say all the CA has to do is say you owe the debt. Like this post, written by griffiscustoms after s/he got an inadequate validation from a CA...

Originally Posted by griffiscustoms

Aren't they supposed to show me more than this for verification???

Response from Nascars:

Until things change, that's about all they need to do.

<end snip>

Have the laws changed so much in the past few years?

Is it still possible for me to have a debt removed from my credit report if the statute of limitations for last recorded payment has expired for my state of residence? Or has that changed, too?

Halp!!!

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"...credit report...statute of limitations for last recorded payment has expired..."

SOL is state law relating to legal actions allowable in the recovery of money. Lawsuits, wage garnishment, seizure of bank accounts and attachment (lien) to any real property owned are provinces of SOL. It doesn't relate to credit reporting. The (federal) Fair Credit Reporting Act regulates credit reporting. There is a sticky at the top of this page.

"Internet...sent a letter..."

Many consumers paste and copy from "form" letters on the net. That laundry list of requested information has been the subject of numerous lawsuits. Exactly what "validation" is has been determined by case law. Much of that law is circuit/district, not just federal court. So, basically, the amount of data they MUST provide varies, widely, depending on your location.

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Have the laws changed so much in the past few years?

No, the laws haven't changed, but the information circulating on the internet has. The law never required a creditor or collector to provide a laundry list of information in order to provide validation. That was just bad information. What you're seeing now is more accurate information.

IMO, nothing is worse than pumping someone up with a bunch of bogus information, then telling them to run to court and sue someone because of some alleged violation of internet lore. That person wastes their money, gets blasted in court, and winds up in a worse situation than they started.

Granted, there are definitely success stories out there, but like the fat burning pills on TV, those results are not typical.

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I'm still learning here, but that small amount of info given as validation allows them to continue collection activity, but I would think they would need considerably more proof to win a judgement assuming you show up and dispute it. The question would then be if they actually have it.

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I do not like the standard letter. I usually like to write something like this:

Bob's CA

123 First St

Anycity, NE 11111

Jan 1, 2007

I am writing in regards to the letter you sent to me postmarked Dec 15, 2006, bearing the account number of 234565432. I do not recall any information about that account, and according to your letter I have a right to dispute within 30 days, so I am doing so at this time. Please furnish any information you may have concerning this account, so that I may look into this further.

Thank you,

Dive

That is all you need to write. Give them plenty of rope, they will break the law. Send it CMRRR, and then 1-2 punch them when you get the card back.

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That is all you need to write. Give them plenty of rope, they will break the law. Send it CMRRR, and then 1-2 punch them when you get the card back.

__________________

ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΈ

[end snip]

Ack! 1-2 punch them with WHAT?!?!

THAT is the piece I do not understand.

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I use the laundry list, but I do not expect to ever see that stuff from a CA. I make sure the dispute is well phrased. I believe you have to say more than " prove this is mine." You have to give a reason for your dispute if you want to be taken seriously by a court later on.

Remember, there is no violation for " bad validation."

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