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What is considered a correct VALIDATION


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Hello I've been visiting this board for over a year but just now have aggressively started fixing our (my husband and mine) credit reports.

A prblem I am having is that after the items have come back verified by Experian, I sent a debt validation letter to the collection agency.

The only thing they have sent back is a copy of a bill with my name on it and an address that is not even listed in my credit file.

This is an old utility bill. Do they have to provide something a little better then that? I mean this is a copy of a bill nothing else they have no explination or anything. They actually sent this to me through certified mail too. If they went through all that effort you would think they would have something better then that?

Anyways where exactly should I go from here?

I don't think they really validated anything other then giving me a bill that has my same name on it and thats it.

Do I request better validation and if so what exactly should I be asking for?

Thank you very much for you time!

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There are lots of different opinions regarding your question, but most courts subscribe to Chaudhry.

Verification of a debt involves nothing more than the debt collector confirming in writing that the amount being demanded is what the creditor is claiming is owed. Chaudhry v. Gallerizzo, 174 F.3d 394 (4th Cir.1999).
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I'm sorry let me try to be more specific.

We did have an account with the electric company listed through the collection agency but it was not at the address they have listed on the bill. It has a completely different apartment number. I'm pretty sure we never owed $1200 to them either. The electricity would have been loooong turned off before it ever reached that limit.

The utility is from 2003 in FL

The CA stats

date of service 10/27/2003

date of referral 12/22/2004

date of the last payment is blank they do not have that information.

The date on the copy of the bill is 11/4/2003

Florida is 4yrs for open ended accounts and 5 for prom. and written, I have no idea what this is considered, open ended I am guessing?

Like I said the problem is that I'm pretty sure this isn't our account, we did live in FL and have electricity through them but the bill would have never reached that amount and it was never at the apartment number they have listed.

So what can I do from here?

Thanks for you time again =)

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LittleFox, my utility/electric dilemma was while I lived in Florida as well, with the account past due dating back to 2005. Even if the account is in collection, the utility company should or will still talk to you. I called, asked for a full history of the account and they obliged. That should have all the information you need to help you figure out what is going on. Maybe they can supply you with actual statements that show meter readings etc.?

In my case they were correct, and I was able to pay them directly, and not pay the CA. PM me if you like, and I can tell you what city I lived, in the off chance it is the same utility company.

And yes, I agree, that no residential electric bill on an apt.in Fl., will ever get to $1200 without being turned off, that would be at least 6 months worth of bills. Or is that the amount that the CA is seeking to collect?

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Try this:

Your Name

Your Address

City, State Zip

Non-cooperative Collection Agency

1 E. IWantToBeSued

Colorado Springs, CO 80901-1120

Date: Nov 1, 2002

Re: Acct#’s 212487, 5904602, 5904602, 5903026, 10010019

To Whom It May Concern:

I have previously sent you a request to validate my debt under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and all I received was an itemized list of the alleged charges you claim I owe you. This does not meet the Federal Trade Commissions guidelines of what constitutes proper debt validation. I am attaching an opinion letter from the FTC, (the Lefevre-Wollman) letter, specifically addressing the kind of “documentation” you have sent me.

In addition, in the case of Spears Vs. Brennan (IN THE COURT OF APPEALS OF INDIANA, No. 49A02-0003-CV-169), the court ruled that:

15 U.S.C. § 1692g(B) (emphasis added). On November 12, 1996, nineteen days after the date of Brennan’s debt collection letter, Spears’ counsel Shepard sent Brennan a letter declaring that Spears “disputes your debt collection-related allegations, denies the same, and demands strict proof and verification thereof.” Record at 21. As such, Brennan should have ceased his debt collection efforts immediately upon receiving that letter. Instead, Brennan proceeded to obtain a default judgment against Spears on the debt collection claim before he had mailed Spears the necessary verification and, thus, violated 15 U.S.C. § 1692g(B).

Brennan maintains, however, that there was no violation of the FDCPA because he “sent adequate verification of the debt [to Spears] in the October 30, 1996 notice of claim.” Brief of Appellee at 13. Specifically, Brennan claims that a copy of the consumer credit contract between Spears and American General attached to the notice of claim provided sufficient verification of the debt within the meaning of 15 U.S.C. § 1692g(B). We cannot agree.

The contract in no way provides sufficient verification of the debt. A review of the document reveals that it identifies only the terms of Spears’ loan, including a 17.99% annual interest rate and the original loan amount of $2,561.59. The loan agreement contains no accounting of any payments made by Spears, the dates on which those payments were made, the interest which had accrued, or any late fees which had been assessed once Spears stopped making the required payments. Indeed, the existing unpaid contract balance at the time Brennan sent the debt collection notice was at least $350.00 more than the original loan amount. Therefore, Brennan violated 15 U.S.C. § 1692g(B) when he failed to cease collection of the debt by obtaining a default judgment against Spears after Spears had notified Brennan in writing that he was disputing the debt but before Brennan had mailed verification of the debt to Spears. We reverse the trial court’s entry of summary judgment in favor of Brennan on this issue.

I notice that you are still reporting this collection on my credit report, which is considered to be a collection activity. You are now in violation of the FCPDA, and are now subject to fines of $1000, plus actual damages and attorney’s fees, which I may collect from you by filing a claim in small claims court. These collections on my credit report are causing me severe problems in trying to purchase a home and the damage could lead into the $1000’s. I am also attaching an opinion letter from the FTC on the illegal practice of continuing to report these collections on my credit report without proper validation (Lefevre-Cass letter).

You should also be aware that reporting such invalidated information to major credit bureaus might constitute defamation of character, as the negative marks on my credit report harm my credit and prevent me from enjoying all the benefits of good credit. In addition, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) does not allow the inaccurate reporting of information on my credit report and under this act. Therefore, if you do not immediately remove this account from my credit report, you are subject to another $1000 fine, plus punitive damages. I'm sure your legal staff will agree that non-compliance with this request could put your company in serious legal trouble with the FTC and other state or federal agencies.

I intend to follow through with the suit if I do not hear back from you within 15 days.

I look forward to hearing from you,

Your Name


<The documents you are attaching can be found at:



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Wow rm2738!! There's just one problem--- the CA and a judge would probably agree that proper validation was provided to the consumer.

Wrenchdevil is right- call the utility co. directly and figure out this bill before you proceed on the offense. If what you're saying is correct, they should also have records of bills in your name with the proper apt. number on it.

Good luck!

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If that copy you received was on the letterhead of the utility company, with a proper date range, charges, etc., it meets the burden. If a CA computer generated "bill", it does not meet the burden.

If it is true you never lived in the referenced apartment, all you need to do is show proof it was not your apartment. Many times numbers are transposed in the office and this does happen. It is up to you to prove otherwise. Hopefully, you have kept old letters, checks, whatever, which show a different number. Or, if you had a bank acocunt, and do not have any statements available, go to bank and ask for copies to show a different apartment. The burden is now on you.

And, yes, many utilities will talk to you and upon receipt of proof of error, or, an agreement of repayment is accepted, you can move to have the CA removed from the transaction.

Most important here is to know that even if the claim was vaild, and the SOL had lapsed, thus, removing all legal recourse from the picture, the utility has all rights afforded them to deny you service until claim is paid, and a deposit is paid up front. Yes, some will break down over a set amount of time, but, not always.

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call the utility co. directly and figure out this bill before you proceed on the offense. If what you're saying is correct, they should also have records of bills in your name with the proper apt. number on it.

Just sharing an experience I once had with local phone co. Nothing to do with debt, quite the opposite, BUT -- it regards them keeping old records. I admit, this was years back (prior to the current high-tech computer systems) and probably doesn't apply nowadays. But still, I feel it's worth sharing.

Had excellent payment history. Moved away. Closed account. Moved back couple years later. Called up for phone service. Was told I'd have to put done outrageous deposit due to my never having service with them. I was basically a NEW customer.

Told them I'd HAD service. That I'd never been late, account paid in full, and their records should reflect that.

Guess what they told me??!! OH....well, THAT'S the problem. We don't keep older records of accounts that were in good standing. Account we had problems with.

I say....OH, so for being an excellent customer, you have no record of me ever having service with you? And now I'm punished for that and have to pay a deposit? Basically, they said, YES, unless I could PROVE otherwise.

Thankfully, I had copies of ALL my paid bills and I got service - no deposit. But could not believe I had to PROVE my good standing with them.

As for the situation - I agree with others that you must have something to prove the address that YOU did live at during that time and hopefully you can prove to them you did not occupy BOTH addresses at the same time.

Best of luck !!

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brit, thanks for sharing that experience. It is another fine example of why we should always keep "papers" for future use. The excepted norm was to retain files, receipts, etc. for at least 7 years. Not sure if this has changed today.

To include, do you think this could be one reason for the term LACHES when sued for an old debt, as you failed to keep your "papers"? Ummmmm, maybe played a small part.

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