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What if I never received a notice of validation?


validationnoob
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I've read section 809 of the FDCPA. What I can't figure out is, what I should do if the debt collector never contacted me? If there was no initial communication, and thus no debt validation notice, how does that affect my rights under the FDCPA? What should I do?

One of the DC's sent me a bill after I initiated a CPA dispute. It has the OC name and amount owed, but not a 30-day notice. Are they already in violation? What should my response letter to this bill look like?

Thanks in advance!

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I've read section 809 of the FDCPA. What I can't figure out is, what I should do if the debt collector never contacted me? If there was no initial communication, and thus no debt validation notice, how does that affect my rights under the FDCPA? What should I do?

One of the DC's sent me a bill after I initiated a CPA dispute. It has the OC name and amount owed, but not a 30-day notice. Are they already in violation? What should my response letter to this bill look like?

Thanks in advance!

Unfortunately, this could be an "I said/they said" situation. They can claim they did send you a bill with the 30 day notice before you disputed with the CRAs.

Is the debt within the SOL? Does the OC still own the debt?

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Unfortunately, this could be an "I said/they said" situation. They can claim they did send you a bill with the 30 day notice before you disputed with the CRAs.

Is the debt within the SOL? Does the OC still own the debt?

I can't be sure. All I can see is what is on my credit report. It says opened January 2011. Doesn't that mean that's the date the DC started reporting it?

It's possible that my ex-husband stole my identity, which would explain why I don't recognize any of these accounts, and why I never received any past due notices from the OC's or initial communications from the DC's.

Assuming the SOL hasn't expired, there are 3 line items on the bill:

Previous Creditor: [left blank]

Current Creditor: [Name of OC]

Amount owed: $350.00

I would have to contact the OC to see if they still own the debt, right? I have the company name, but no phone number or address. All I have is this bill from MERCANTILE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU.

Edited by validationnoob
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The following is my response, please tell me if I'm doing anything I shouldn't, or if there is something I should do that I am not doing. Again, thanks in advance! (note: the bill I received was dated July 5 2011, I plan to mail this letter the week of 8/22/2011.)

To Whom it May Concern,

I received the attached bill from your company in response to a dispute I initiated with one of the 3 major credit reporting agencies. This is the first communication I have ever received from your offices.

The information on my credit report indicates that this account was opened during January 2011. I have not had a [OC] customer account since I moved in with my boyfriend (now husband) a few years ago. While I was a [OC] customer, I never received a [OC] bill that I did not pay in full. I filed a change of address form with the US Postal Service when I moved, and [OC] never contacted me by mail or phone regarding any past due charges. I am suspicious of whether this debt belongs to me, and how the amount was determined. It is highly probable that this debt legally belongs to my ex-husband [named here].

Because you are not the original creditor for this debt, but are instead a debt collector, your actions are governed by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) .The attached bill, which I consider to be your initial communication with me, includes information required by section 809(a)(1) and 809(a)(2) but omits a "debt validation notice" as required in section 809(a)(3), 809(a)(4), and 809(a)(5). Thus, it is my position that you are in violation of section 809(a) of the FDCPA.

If you can provide evidence that the attached bill is not your first communication with me, or that a debt validation notice was sent to me within 5 days of your initial communication with me, I respectfully request that you respond to this letter with copies of such evidence, including but not limited to the communication itself, the mailing address of the communication, and USPS certified mail receipts or similar documentation of delivery confirmation.

Because of your failure to include a debt validation notice as required by the FDCPA within 5 days of your initial communication, I was unaware of my rights to submit a debt validation request within 30 days of the receipt. Rather, this letter is being written and will be sent approximately 45 days after the initial communication. I realize that your non-compliance may not be intentional, and if you are able to provide a preponderance of evidence of this, you may be protected from civil liability under section 813 of the FDCPA.

As it is my belief that this debt belongs to my ex-husband, and that I may be a victim of identity theft, I respectfully request that you validate this debt, regardless of whether you believe you are obligated pursuant to the FDCPA. In the attached letter you indicated that you have verified the information on your file. This is not a request for "verification" or proof of my mailing address, but a request for validation. I respectfully request that your office provide me with competent evidence that I have any legal obligation to pay you. Please provide me with the following:

1.) What the money you say I owe is for, including service address and dates of service.

2.) Explain and demonstrate to me how you calculated what you claim I owe.

3.) Provide me with copies of any papers that show I agreed to pay you what you say I owe.

4.) Identify the original creditor's contact address and phone number.

5.) Prove the Statute of Limitations has not expired on this account.

6.) Show me that you are licensed to collect in my state.

7.) Provide me with your license numbers and Registered Agent.

If your offices are able to provide the proper documentation as requested, I will require at least 30 days to investigate this information and during such time all collection activity must cease and desist. If your offices fail to respond to this validation request within 30 days from the date of your receipt, all references to this account must be deleted from my credit files. Additionally, a copy of said deletion request shall be sent to me immediately.

I would also like to request that no telephone contact be made by your offices to my home or to my place of employment. All future communications with me must be done in writing and sent to the address noted in this letter.

This is an attempt to correct your records, any information obtained shall be used for that purpose.

Thank you,

[signed validationnoob]

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I can't be sure. All I can see is what is on my credit report. It says opened January 2011. Doesn't that mean that's the date the DC started reporting it?

It's possible that my ex-husband stole my identity, which would explain why I don't recognize any of these accounts, and why I never received any past due notices from the OC's or initial communications from the DC's.

Assuming the SOL hasn't expired, there are 3 line items on the bill:

Previous Creditor: [left blank]

Current Creditor: [Name of OC]

Amount owed: $355.43

I would have to contact the OC to see if they still own the debt, right? I have the company name, but no phone number or address. All I have is this bill from MERCANTILE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU.

Oh, Mercantile...they are a JDBs (junk debt buyers). I don't know if they collect FOR OCs while the accounts are still owned by the OC, but they definitely buy defaulted debts. Therefore, the OC no longer owns the debt.

Yes, the 1/2011 date is when the JDB began reporting.

If you're not sure it's your account, I would contact the OC to see if they have any helpful information to go on.

If you're sure it's not your account, I would dispute with the CRAs again stating it's not my account. Don't dispute online. Do it by certified mail.

Since you disputed with the CRAs, does/did Mercantile's entry state that the debt is disputed?

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Oh, Mercantile...they are a JDBs (junk debt buyers). I don't know if they collect FOR OCs while the accounts are still owned by the OC, but they definitely buy defaulted debts. Therefore, the OC no longer owns the debt.

Yes I've read a few places on the web that they are a JDB.

If you're not sure it's your account, I would contact the OC to see if they have any helpful information to go on.

But I'm not sure what number to call or where to write. All I have is the OC name, not an address or phone number.

If you're sure it's not your account, I would dispute with the CRAs again stating it's not my account. Don't dispute online. Do it by certified mail.

My original dispute was online, and I did dispute under reason "Not my account". If I send a mailed dispute with the same reason, are they still required to verify under the same reason with a new investigation?

Since you disputed with the CRAs, does/did Mercantile's entry state that the debt is disputed?

Yes, the bill from mercantile states this, under the line "PLEASE DETACH AND RETURN TOP PORTION WITH YOUR PAYMENT":

We recently received notification that you dispute the credit reporting relative to the above referenced account. We have begun our investigation and verified the information on our file.

Unfortunately, we are unable to complete a full investigation of this matter with the information provided. If you wish for us to investigate this matter, please provide in writing the specific nature of the dispute and any supporting documentation.

Please send this information to [Mercantile PO BOX]

Calls to or from this company may be monitored or recorded for quality assurance purposes.

THIS COMMUNICATION IS FROM A DEBT COLLECTOR. THIS IS AN ATTEMPT TO COLLECT A DEBT. ANY INFORMATION OBTAINED WILL BE USED FOR THAT PURPOSE.

Thank you so much for your help!

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Unfortunately, validation requirements according to the FDCPA are minimal. The law only requires they provide the name of the OC and the amount of the debt. They are not required to provide all the details or documents you requested.

Proving they are in violation of 809(a)(4) would be your word against their's regarding an initial communication. As I stated, they can claim they sent you a letter with the 30 day notice and that you didn't respond. As a result, they can continue collection efforts including updating your credit report.

From what you've written, you had an account with the OC at one time. The best case scenario is that you have old cc statements showing you paid the account in full.

If that's not the case, I would send a simple DV letter disputing the debt. Request the name of the OC, the original account number, and copies of cc statements. They're not required to provide the original account number or the cc statements, but they might do it. Who knows?

If you have your original account number, I'd call the OC. They may be able to give you some information. If this is your old account, they may be able to tell you the date of last payment, to whom the debt was sold, etc. Mercantile may not be the first buyer.

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Unfortunately, validation requirements according to the FDCPA are minimal. The law only requires they provide the name of the OC and the amount of the debt. They are not required to provide all the details or documents you requested.

Proving they are in violation of 809(a)(4) would be your word against their's regarding an initial communication. As I stated, they can claim they sent you a letter with the 30 day notice and that you didn't respond. As a result, they can continue collection efforts including updating your credit report.

From what you've written, you had an account with the OC at one time. The best case scenario is that you have old cc statements showing you paid the account in full.

If that's not the case, I would send a simple DV letter disputing the debt. Request the name of the OC, the original account number, and copies of cc statements. They're not required to provide the original account number or the cc statements, but they might do it. Who knows?

If you have your original account number, I'd call the OC. They may be able to give you some information. If this is your old account, they may be able to tell you the date of last payment, to whom the debt was sold, etc. Mercantile may not be the first buyer.

Okay, thanks. The OC is not a credit card company, it is a utility provider (gas + electricity). I lost my statements when I moved, so I'll try to use a CRA dispute to obtain the original account number and addresses. The fact that it is a utility provider, as is one of the other 2 collection accounts (cable) is another reason I think it may belong to my ex-husband. He may have used my name on a rental lease agreement. I made sure all of my bills were paid in full before I moved.

On another note, I pulled a lot of copy for this validation request from a sample letter on this site. If the DC isn't required to provide this information, why would it all be included in the sample letter on this site?

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On another note, I pulled a lot of copy for this validation request from a sample letter on this site. If the DC isn't required to provide this information, why would it all be included in the sample letter on this site?

People have different opinions about validation letters. Some people think that if you ask for everything in the book and include references to the FDCPA, that it will scare debt collectors or JDBs away.

Some JDBs may think you're very serious because of such a letter, but others may think you don't actually know what is required and that you simply copied a letter. CAs and JDBs do know what's required validation under the law.

Since this is a utility debt, it's possible you can still get the information from the utility company.

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Unfortunately, we are unable to complete a full investigation of this matter with the information provided. If you wish for us to investigate this matter, please provide in writing the specific nature of the dispute and any supporting documentation.

My response back would be:

"Per the FDCPA, I am not required to give your firm a specific reason for my dispute nor provide any documentation. However, the FDCPA and the FCRA reporting act do require your firm to investigate. So if your firm is stating that no investigation will be performed without these items, this letter is to document the willful violation of both the FCRA and the FDCPA."

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My response back would be:

"Per the FDCPA, I am not required to give your firm a specific reason for my dispute nor provide any documentation. However, the FDCPA and the FCRA reporting act do require your firm to investigate. So if your firm is stating that no investigation will be performed without these items, this letter is to document the willful violation of both the FCRA and the FDCPA."

Really?

Should I say that in addition to the request for validation, or instead of it?

What is the language of the FDCPA / FCRA to support the claim?

Edited by validationnoob
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That would be opener...then I'd go onto writre:

"Since I have never been contact regarding this item, I am proactively asserting my rights under 15 USC 1692g and demanding validation of the alleged debt."

I don't see any language in the FDCPA regarding investigations... is it in the FCRA? Can you point me to a section?

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1692g requires the debt collector to provide validation of the debt.

FCRA Section 611 and 623 require that an investigation be performed if the consumer disputes the accuracy of an item on their credit report.

From section 623 (a) (8) (F) Frivolous or Irrelevant Dispute

(i) In general. This paragraph shall not apply if the person receiving a notice

of a dispute from a consumer reasonably determines that the dispute is

frivolous or irrelevant, including--

(I) by reason of the failure of a consumer to provide sufficient

information to investigate the disputed information; or

The OC account number on the bill is most definitely not correct. I called the OC and they say no accounts with that number exist. Should that be the "nature of my disupute"?

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