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Legal Minds: Have you ever received this type of letter from CA?


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I received the following letter after I sent a 2nd DV request to the CA. I received no response from the CA on the 1rst DV and I sent the 2nd DV after I received a notice from the CA's attorney office demanding payment.

1. Please tell me how I can combat the case law in this letter. I requested specific information in my DV letters,

they have not provided one statement. I even sent them a copy of the Wollman letter

2. In addition, the CA is adding interest on an alleged purchased debt.

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"It appears there is a misunderstanding as to our obligations under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to validate a debt. The FDCPA provides that if a consumer disputes a debt, he/she has the right to request a validation of the debt within thirty days of his receipt of the first collection letter.

Specifically, it states (then they quote 15 USC 1692g(B).

The FDCPA does not define the term "validation," but the term has been interprested by the Fair Trade Commission and the courts. The FTC stated that validation " is intended to assist the consumer when a debt collector inadvertently contacts the wron consumer at the start of his collection efforts." FTC Staff Commentart on the FDCPA, 53 Fed. Reg. 50097, 50108-09 (Dec. 13, 1998).

The courts have adopted a similar interpretation, stating:

[V]erification of a debt involves nothing more than the debt collector confirming that the amount being demanded is what the creditor is claiming is owed; the debt collector is not to keep detailed files of the alleged debt.

See Azar V. Hayter, 874 F. Supp. 1314 (N.D. Fla 1995), aff'd, 66 F.3d 343 (11th Cir. 1995), cert. denied, 516 U.S. 1048 (1996). Consistent with the legislative history, verification is only intended to "eliminate the ...problem of debt collectors dunning the wrong person or attempting to collect debts which the consumer has already paid." S. Rep. No. 95-384 at 4 (1977), reprinted in 1977 U.S.C.C.A.N 1695, 1699. There is no concomitan obligation to forward copies of bills or other detailed evidence of the debt.

Chaudhry v. Gallerizzo, 174 F. 3d 394, 406 (4th Cir. 1999), cert. denied, 528 U.S. 891 (1999). Verification of a debt requires more than simply resending the same collection letter that prompted the consumer to dispute the debt. The debt collector should verify that the amount demanded is what the creditor claims is owed.

In the present case, we have contacted the original creditor and verified that the amount demanded on this account is the amount that the creditor states is owed. If you believe this account is fraudulanet, we will need a copy of a complete police/incident report regarding the fraud, or a notarized fraud or identity theft affidavit.

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The CA is correct. Much of the information you find on the internet, this site included, gives the impression that the CA is under some sort of obligation to provide all sorts of data; signed contracts, permits, etc. That just isn't the case. The FTC Wollman letter gets circulated frequently, but carries no legal weight. Courts historically disregard FTC opinions partly because of the disclaimer included in each letter.

Not to say you don't have options, just not through DV. If the account is truly being misreported, you still have the FCRA at your disposal. However, now the burden falls upon you to provide compelling evidence that the account is being incorrectly reported. Upon receipt of credible evidence, the CA is obligated to either correct the way the account is being reported or delete it altogether, depending upon the circumstances. Failure to do so constitutes willful noncompliance with the FCRA. Your own state will likely have similar laws which accomplish basically the same thing, but tend to be easier and less expensive to enforce.

Hope this helps!

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nascar thanks for the prompt response...

What about the case law from:

Fields v Wilber Law Firm

Guerrero v RJM Acquisitions

Coppola v. Arrow Financial Services, 302CV577, 2002 WL 32173704(D.Conn., Oct. 29, 2002)

But the CA has not provided any information from the alleged original creditor, not even 1 alleged billing statement. Doesn't the CA have to provide verfication from the alleged original creditor not just type up on a BLANK piece of paper "You owe me this"?

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IMO, case law is not going to help you at this point. You are dealing with a CA who has already determined their course of action. No matter what case law you send them, it's extremely doubtful they will send you anything more detailed than they already have. You really need to be thinking about court at this point.

But the FDCPA is clear in 1692g(B) that it requires "a copy of such verification or judgment... is mailed to the consumer by the debt collector." Just claiming they have validated with the creditor without providing you with some proof of that communication does not fulfill the plain meaning of the statute. It's true that you don't have the right to a catalog of bank statements, but you do have the right to proof that the creditor has verified your alleged debt. If they've truly provided you with nothing but that smug statement, I would be looking for a consumer lawyer if I were you, one who will sue the CA on contingency for providing you with a false and misleading representation of your rights, and for failing to provide you with proper validation.

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They are being decietful as usual. All those quotes from all that case law is taken out of context.

They most likely don't have the proof that they would need in court, so they play that Jedi mind trick hoping you will be confused enough to quit questioning them.

While validation and verification aren't really properly defined, just saying "yup, you owe it" just doesn't cut it.

I am wondering if it's a JDB you are dealing with, and how old and for how much. (roughly- don't give too many specifics)

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What about the case law from:

Fields v Wilber Law Firm

Established only that the existence of a contract did not prove that a debt was still owed upon it.
Guerrero v RJM Acquisitions
Under appeal
Coppola v. Arrow Financial Services, 302CV577, 2002 WL 32173704(D.Conn., Oct. 29, 2002)
Dealt only with issues of discovery.
But the CA has not provided any information from the alleged original creditor, not even 1 alleged billing statement. Doesn't the CA have to provide verfication from the alleged original creditor not just type up on a BLANK piece of paper "You owe me this"?

Well, they are supposed to DO more than that. IMO the law isn't clear on what they have to GIVE you. It appears that as long as they allege compliance with the points below, they can get away with sending you just about anything that indicates they have DONE what they are supposed to do. It helps if you don't read too much into the whole DV thing. You can probably tell that I don't. I'm not suggesting that you don't do it, it's a condition precedent to enforcement of other legal rights, but don't get hung up on it. There are LOTS more effective ways to deal with CAs and JDBs than sending a couple of DV letters and expecting the TL to disappear.

· The validation must come from the debt collector in writing.

· The amount demanded must be what the creditor is claiming is owed.

· The debt collector must contact the creditor to retrieve the information.

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Nascar,

I disagree with your opinion on the Fields case. It covered specifically the cases where a CA is adding fees onto a debt.

In the original dunning letter, Wilber listed an account

balance that exceeded the principal obligation by $266.48. Wilber’s fees were more than double the original obligation, $122.06. Nowhere did Wilber explain that it was seeking

attorneys’ fees of $250. Fields received the initial dunning letter almost eight months after she incurred the charges at the veterinary hospital. An unsophisticated consumer could reasonably wonder why her bill was now $388.54, even assuming she had saved the original contract that specified she could be charged for attorneys’ fees. It would be difficult for such a consumer to understand how a relatively modest fee for services rendered had tripled in size. Cf. Johnson v. Revenue Mgmt. Corp., 169 F.3d 1057, 1060 (7th Cir. 1999) (“Unsophisticated readers may require more explanation than do federal judges; what seems pellucid to a judge, a legally sophisticated reader, may be opaque to someone whose formal education ended after sixth grade.”). Or, an unsophisticated consumer may have lost the bill and forgotten the amount of the debt completely. In this circumstance, the debtor (or the debtor’s spouse, or someone else paying bills for the debtor) might logically assume that she simply incurred nearly $400 in charges. By leaving the door open for this assumption to be made, Wilber’s letter was misleading because it gave a false impression of the character of the debt. It is unfair to consumers under the FDCPA to hide the true character of the debt, thereby impairing their ability to knowledgeably assess the validity of the debt. One simple way to comply with § 1692e and § 1692f in this regard would be to itemize the various charges that comprise the total amount of the debt.

The Veach case also said:

the attorney violated § 1692g(a)(1) by stating the amount of the debt as an estimate of future potential liability in a court action rather than as a statement of the current amount of the debt. The debt collector “took it upon himself to hold Veach liable for [statutory] penalties that had not yet been awarded, penalties that for FDCPA purposes should have been separated from the amount of the debt.” [T]he ‘amount of the debt’ provision is designed to inform the debtor (who, remember, has a low level of sophistication) of what the obligation is, not what the final, worst-case scenario could be.”

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What I've not seen asked so far is if that letter is the only thing the CA provided to you as validation. The reason I ask this is that the FDCPA does have one specific requirement for validation that every court has upheld:

(B) If the consumer notifies the debt collector in writing within the thirty-day period described in subsection (a) that the debt, or any portion thereof, is disputed, or that the consumer requests the name and address of the original creditor, the debt collector shall cease collection of the debt, or any disputed portion thereof, until the debt collector obtains verification of the debt or any copy of a judgment, or the name and address of the original creditor, and a copy of such verification or judgment, or name and address of the original creditor, is mailed to the consumer by the debt collector.

That means a CA cannot just claim to have called the OC and confirmed the debt is accurate. They must get it in writing from the OC and forward a copy of that to you. Copies of statements and bills have been ruled to be insufficient because they show only a snapshot in time of the account which could be any point before or after the account was closed/charged-off. A letter from the OC stating the debt and to whom owes the debt is required to comply with the plain language of the law.

If you challenge the validation... and you CAN (dispute is a seperate right from validation)... you can demand a full breakdown of how that amount claimed was computed and contest the legitimacy of the contract. While in dispute the CA is still required to cease collections because if they don't they are misrepresenting the character and legal status of the debt.

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That means a CA cannot just claim to have called the OC and confirmed the debt is accurate. They must get it in writing from the OC and forward a copy of that to you. Copies of statements and bills have been ruled to be insufficient because they show only a snapshot in time of the account which could be any point before or after the account was closed/charged-off. A letter from the OC stating the debt and to whom owes the debt is required to comply with the plain language of the law.

I agree and think the statute is meant to require what you are saying, but for some reason, courts are just not seeing it the same way. Here's a representative sample of what we're seeing from the court in response to this question.

“Upon Plaintiff's request for verification, Defendant Wolpoff provided her with a bill statement. Plaintiffs also contend that Defendant Wolpoff sent statements reiterating the amount that was allegedly owed by Rita (and nothing more). Applying the standard set out by the Ninth Circuit in Clark, Wolpoff adequately verified the debt to Plaintiff by sending her a bill statement. Based on these facts, no reasonable jury could find that Wolpoff did not verify Plaintiff's debt in accordance with subsection g of 15 U.S.C. § 1692. Accordingly, there are no genuine issues of material facts with respect to verification as Defendant Wolpoff sent Plaintiff a bill statement upon request.” Worch v. Wolpoff & Abramson, L.L.P., WL 643336 E.D.Mo., 2007

"The FDCPA does not require a debt collector to provide the original, a certified, or an attested copy of the document creating the debt as part of the verification. … Other courts have concluded that computer printouts constitute sufficient verification." Monsewicz v. Untrerburg & Assoc., P.C. WL756433, S.D. Ind. 2005

This court goes on to cite Chaudhry, Mahon, etc. Same stuff you see over and over. Methuss, exactly what case(s) would you use to support "They must get it in writing from the OC and forward a copy of that to you." I'd like to see the treatment these cases have received over time. Do you have a couple of examples?

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After a year of being told by a supposed "attorney network" that I paid for, to send out these debt validation letters and having Discover card sue and then the "group" that told me to ignore etc and sent me the supposed "defenses" bailed and said can't represent or help you.. so finally found a local attorney with the NACA though called 10 and only 1 replied as they don't want to deal with it once its at arbitration.

Then I find out all the 'do not call", debt validation etc.. does NOT apply to the origianal CA. Only if they sell it to a debt COLLECTOR - it applies to the COLLECTOR. I had sent out the do not call letters & was told to record when the collection calls came in as there were "penalties" I could collect on for the calls.... well not on the CAs, and on the collection agencies they can call until they get a live person - you do have to talk with them.. so until the CA sells it off to a collection, bottom feeder etc.. there isn't a defense in court, the CA doesn't have to "validate" etc.. now scrambling to try for debt settlement, but don't have any $$ and trying to get a refi to have $ to offer something but the credit card companies are tanking the credit score and raising their interest rates because late with any credit card. The credit card companies are trying to put america in to bankruptcy, they don't care about anything but profits..

But the bottom feeder scums that represented they are "helping" for a $5000 fee, with "eliminating debt" made it worse by telling me it would " go away" and I could sue the credit cards for their violations of the FDCCA and actually get money, for a year with these letters. can can't get refinancing due to the credit score being tanked. If had known this a year ago the attorney could have settled with the CA's for reasonable amounts.. Discover card had at one point offered a 10% settlement, probably what the "attorney" firm paid them for it, now looking at 120% of origianal debt with interest and attorney fees ..

This is what my PAID naca attorney told me, and not legal advice.. but its going to cost me a lot for waiting.. and I don't have it.

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my attorney says debt validation doesn't appy to the Origianal creditor - ie credit card co. sorry new to the abreviations.

That's correct. The original creditor is bound by the Fair Credit Billing Act, not by the FDCPA. It may be a different law, but it has essentially the same right to dispute a charge and demand proof...amongst other things.

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What I've not seen asked so far is if that letter is the only thing the CA provided to you as validation. The reason I ask this is that the FDCPA does have one specific requirement for validation that every court has upheld:

(B) If the consumer notifies the debt collector in writing within the thirty-day period described in subsection (a) that the debt, or any portion thereof, is disputed, or that the consumer requests the name and address of the original creditor, the debt collector shall cease collection of the debt, or any disputed portion thereof, until the debt collector obtains verification of the debt or any copy of a judgment, or the name and address of the original creditor, and a copy of such verification or judgment, or name and address of the original creditor, is mailed to the consumer by the debt collector.

That means a CA cannot just claim to have called the OC and confirmed the debt is accurate. They must get it in writing from the OC and forward a copy of that to you. Copies of statements and bills have been ruled to be insufficient because they show only a snapshot in time of the account which could be any point before or after the account was closed/charged-off. A letter from the OC stating the debt and to whom owes the debt is required to comply with the plain language of the law.

If you challenge the validation... and you CAN (dispute is a seperate right from validation)... you can demand a full breakdown of how that amount claimed was computed and contest the legitimacy of the contract. While in dispute the CA is still required to cease collections because if they don't they are misrepresenting the character and legal status of the debt.

Thanks Methuss. Yes that is the only thing they provided as validation.

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The good thing is, any legit effort they would have just obtained statements from the OC, and forwarded them to you. Since they didn't they likely can't actully prove the debt in court.

A good judge is going to want more than just thier word for it ;-)

The state of what constitutes validation is up in the air in the courts, but cases as to what IS NOT validation along with some of the FTC letters.

But it leaves it to YOU to argue the point in court.

But if they dont have proof, they wont likely sue.

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