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Can This Be Left On Answering Machine?


Scouse
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My wife received a message on our answering machine from a CA with all the usual bs.....

Except one thing....The person identified themselves by name and as a debt collector, stated that this was an attempt to collect a debt.

Are they allowed to state this in a message?

Aren't they supposed to say something to the effect that it is regarding a business matter or personal business??

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I think the law, and certainly opinions on this are mixed.

The law has to do with disclosure to a third-party (neighbor, unrelated friend , etc clearly fit that bill). A spouse is not a "third-party" as I understand the law.

That said, it does not appear to me that there was any third-party disclousre here so no violation; at least nothing you could likely get a judge to get excited about.

I would simply "make notw of it" in case you do get to court as they should have, in my opinion, said something much more generic or left no message at all.

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I think the law, and certainly opinions on this are mixed.

The law has to do with disclosure to a third-party (neighbor, unrelated friend , etc clearly fit that bill). A spouse is not a "third-party" as I understand the law.

That said, it does not appear to me that there was any third-party disclousre here so no violation; at least nothing you could likely get a judge to get excited about.

I would simply "make notw of it" in case you do get to court as they should have, in my opinion, said something much more generic or left no message at all.

Very true but, if someone other than a spouse were in the room when the message was left it could be. Say you were out of town and your neighbor was watching your house and heard that message. Maybe you were meeting with your boss at the time and he heard it.

Just a for instance.

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Very true but, if someone other than a spouse were in the room when the message was left it could be. Say you were out of town and your neighbor was watching your house and heard that message. Maybe you were meeting with your boss at the time and he heard it.

Just a for instance.

Did they start the message with "This call is for John Doe. If you are not John Doe, hang up now.....". I think that takes them off the hook.

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Very true but, if someone other than a spouse were in the room when the message was left it could be. Say you were out of town and your neighbor was watching your house and heard that message. Maybe you were meeting with your boss at the time and he heard it.

Just a for instance.

True; but I try to not to spend a lot of time worrying about what could have but didn't happen. :)

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Does this message constitute first contact? We haven't received any letters from them.

Do we send a DV & C&D letter now or wait until we receive a letter?

It's likely enough "contact" that they should follow-up with the initial "dunning letter" and I would wait on that before starting the DV process.

That letter should come within the next few days if they are going to send one - if a couple of weeks go by with no letter then you may need to take a different course.

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Does this message constitute first contact? We haven't received any letters from them.

Do we send a DV & C&D letter now or wait until we receive a letter?

A message left on the machine would not constitute first contact. I would answer the phone one time only. Verify your mailing address and let them know you're expecting their letter w/in 5 days. Hang up! Do not allow them to engage.

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I had a CA leave a message saying that they are making a decision about my account and if I call back it could be a positive decision and if not it would result in a negative decision. Would that be considered a threat? It certainly feels like one.

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  • 3 weeks later...
No letter so far...just phone calls. They may have sent one prior to the phone calls but I am not sure. (will have to dig through papers again)

How do I ask for DV+ C&D at this point?

You never dispute and request validation (DV) and concurrently tell them to cease communication (C&D)...think about it for a moment; how can they validate (which means they must communicate with you) after you've told them to cease all communication???

It's one or the other and a C&D should be used sparingly and only in the right circumstances (unless you like forcing creditors to sue you).

You are probably going to have to talk to these people at least long enough to establish "initial contact" and/or to get an address to send correspondence to.

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No letter so far...just phone calls. They may have sent one prior to the phone calls but I am not sure. (will have to dig through papers again)

How do I ask for DV+ C&D at this point?

Is this CA reporting on her CR's? You can pull their info from her CR's to DV. State in your DV that discovering their tradeline on her CR's constitutes initial contact.

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I was referring to C&D all but written communication. They call 4 times per day!

A timely DV letter will stop their calling or any other collection activity until such time as they provide validation as required by the FDCPA (assuming they are willing to follow the law)...if the DV is not timely then they can not validate at all but still continue their collection activity including calling.

However, a consumer has no authority under the law to limit contact to written form only.

A consumer can request that CA not call and only use written communication (and I would recomend they do so) and a consumer can refuse to answer calls from a CA but a CA is free to keep calling except for the very limited protections afforded by the FDCPA.

The FDCPA was not established to allow consumers to avoid CAs, it was written to keep the legitimate need to collect debts a civil (i.e. peaceful) process and to stem the abusive tactics the CAs will employ if not reigned in.

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