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Payments & Validation Requests under FDCPA


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Hi all.

I'm a lawyer (environmental, so I know very little about this stuff) and have been looking for a case on this for hours, to no avail.

Here's my issue: What is the legal result of making a payment to a CA while simultaneously disputing validation under FDCPA? Does the CA still have to stop collection and validate? Or does my payment trump my written request for validation and constitute my not disputing the debt? And what about when there is more than one CA involved?

Here's my situation...

I'm in New Orleans. Along comes Katrina, my mail comes months and months late, and my private student loans are in default. After 3 mos. of tracking the loans down and the CA that had them (yeah, I had to track THEM down), they tell me I owe significantly more than my records indicate, then offer me obscene repayment plans that are out of the question. But, since my knowledge of the FDCPA was minimal at the time, I sent them a check for what I could afford (show of good faith or whatever), but I also ask for validation under FDCPA, and it's within 30 days of their first written communication. The validation request is ignored for three months (while they continue to attempt collection and violate FDCPA in almost every way possible) until finally they send my "lawyer," (who, while a real lawyer, is still really just a friend I'm using for window dressing and knows about as much about this stuff as I do) a stack of incomprehensible documents. The documents still don't justify the debt amount they claim. So, my lawyer and I get together and fire off a nasty "you violated the FDCPA" letter to them demanding better validation and I don't hear anything else from them. That was in 6/06.

Fast forward to 1/07. Get a new letter from a new CA (CA #2) for the same loans, with the same screwy amount listed, sans the payment I'd made to CA #1. Fired off an airtight dispute/validation letter, within days. No response. No validation, no collection efforts - nothing.

But it occurs to me today, 7/9/07, that even if CA #2 can't sue because they didn't validate, the creditor could take the loan back and haul me into court. So, I call and confirm that CA #2 still has the loan.

So, to clarify - did making a payment to CA #1 before receipt of validation constitute my assumption of responsibility for the debt amount claimed by the CAs in any way? Either with respect to CA #1 OR CA #2?

And on a side note, because I got no validation from either CA, would I have any recourse in court if Creditor decided to sue? Does anyone know if there's a way to get Creditor to take the loan back (yeah, optimistic, I know)?

This has been going on for a year and a half now. I really do want to make payments, but I'm not going to pay for hidden CA fees.

Any thoughts would be much appreciated. Thanks.

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The FDCPA does not say that you lose your validation rights by paying, however, I do not really see a violation here. You sent payment to them WITH the dispute letter, and they ceased collection activity after receiving it.

They sold it/sent it on to a new CA, who you sent a DV to. That CA ceased.

The OC may be able to sue, and the fact that you paid should not hurt you, as I am sure that the OC has enough proof already. The fact that validation was requested and not sent will not help you as a defense, unless it is one of the CA's that sues you, then you will have a cause of action for a counterclaim.

As far as whether or not the OC will take the account back depends on whether the account was sold or just contracted for collection.

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Thanks for the reply.

No, I don't see a violation either, at least none within the current SOL. But my interest isn't in filing suit against the CAs.

I'm worried about being sued - to keep my law license and not have to pay court costs, etc. So my idea is to lay out the problems I've been having with the CAs to the OC collections dept., including the discrepancy between what the OC says I owe and what the CAs say I owe, and make clear that I want to pay. I just wanted to be sure that in making clear my intent and desire to pay, or even going ahead with making monthly payments to the CA, I wouldn't be inadvertently giving up any rights to dispute the larger debt amount asserted by the CAs.

How do you find out if the account was sold or just contracted for collection?

Thanks again.

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You really should contact the original creditor. They may be a lot more helpful to you. If they have not sold the debt they may call it back and allow you to make payments directly to them. If they have sold the debt, they should be able to tell you the amount and possibly give you a copy of the contract. The CA may not be entiled to more interest than what's in the contract. Are any CA's reporting the debt debt to your credit reports?

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