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DV letter and FDCPA violations


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Okay, I'm new to this and I have a couple of ?'s.

On 11/28/08 I received a collection letter for a medical bill from Universal Fidelity. On 12/4 I sent a DV letter CMRRR. It was accepted on 12/8. I demanded validation of the debt and asked only to be contacted by mail. I have been called 9 times since their receipt of my DV letter.

Now, for my questions...on the collection letter, they identified the OC and the amount owed. Are they still required to validate the debt?

I pulled my TU credit report today and they are not reporting this yet. I intend to pull my EQ and EX report tomorrow to make sure it's not reported on those either. I don't want this to go on my CR's so what is my best course of action? I tried to contact the OC, but they wouldn't discuss it with me any more.

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What the FDCPA requires to meet the bar for “validation” isn’t much but it does usually require something prepared by the Original Creditor…a “statement” prepared by the JDB/CA saying “ABC Company” was the original creditor and you now owe “$X” is no more validation of the debt than their original dunning letter…all it shows is that the CA believes you owe $X dollars (as if you didn’t already know that).

Asking them not to call (usually referred to as a “limited C&D”) is meaningless. However, they have no business contacting you AT ALL, calls or letters or otherwise, between the time they received your request for validation and the time they sent validation (or at least made a half-hearted attempt to validate as they seem to have done in this case)…if they called you during that time frame (noted above) then technically they have committed violations. If you can prove they called then you might have something to use as leverage.

Moving on…

Do you actually owe this debt?

Is the amount being requested the correct or at least close to the correct amount?

Do you have the money to pay/settle this debt?

If the answer to all the above is “yes” then why would you not pay/settle it?

If the answer is any of the above is "no" then you shouldn't settle yet...ovciously if you don't have the cash you can't settle...if it isn't your debt then of course you wouldn't settle...if the amount is in question then I'd say you have some more work to do to iron out what you really do owe/should pay.

Once your questions are answered; I would consider trying to pay/settle this debt and I would make every effort to get a written agreement in place that they will not report this debt to any credit reporting agency and/or remove any negative tradelines if they are already reporting.

I am a little surprised that a JDB is involved…how old is this debt?

The fact that this is, apparently a subsequent creditor should allow you to settle this for a reasonable amount.

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This is a recent medical debt and it is mine. The amount is close, but not accurate. I want to settle it, but I don't have the money to settle it in a lump sum. I would need to make some kind of payment arrangements.

Here's the history... The amount was originally $1200+. I worked out payment arrangements with St. John's Hospital. It was being billed through a billing company called TLRA. My last payment was 7/08 and then I got a little behind on bills and this one slipped through for a couple of months. In October, I realized I was way behind so I made 2 months worth of payments on 10/31/08. It cleared my bank on 11/3. I thought this would somewhat get my account back in good standing. I received a dunning letter from CA a couple of weeks later, which surprised me.

Now, the lady I spoke with yesterday said she shows no record of the payment made 10/31 and the account was "forwarded" to the CA on 11/13/08. I pressed her hard as to whether or not TLRA still owned the debt. She finally said no, although hesitantly it seemed, and said they sold it to CA (Universal Fidelity). I'm not sure that she knew 100%whether TLRA still owned it or not.

I DV'd CA CMRRR and they received it on 12/8/08. Today is the 31st day and no validation. I would love nothing more than to just reume the payment plan I had in place. More importantly, I don't want this reported the the CRA's.

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Best I can advise you at this point is to continue the DV process...I would suggest that you concentrate on what YOU need to know so that you feel comfortable working out some sort of arrangement with this JDB/CA.

So...time to do some new letter writing - at the very least, you need to make them get the amount owed corrected...keep pushing...don't let them control you...you have to stay in control of the process and don't EVER pay a third-party anything until your reasonable questions are answered to your satisfaction.

Needing a payment arrangement is going to give you less leverage here than if you could offer a lump sum but you should still be able to work out a sensible arrangement.

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