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FDCPA Debt Validation, Letters, Laws, Questions,


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I left room to be able to edit pages and add links to CIC threads and other things, and add other letters to the list of letters

 

There are some things I am still looking for to add in

 

If I made an error anywhere PM me and I will edit and correct it

 

If you think something is out of place in the order or want to add something to the flow of the initial 6 pages PM me and I will edit and put it in

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The Fair Debt Collection Protection Act   http://ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre27.pdf

 

FDCPA is a consumers friend. The act covers consumer (not business) debts. Although if the consumer has used the business loan for personal use and can document that fact it may be possible to sue on a debt set up as a business line of credit. Contact a Licensed Attorney in your state for more information. Collection Agencies violate the FDCPA often.

 

FDCPA Personal or Business Thread creditinfocenter.com/community/topic/317144-fdcpa-business-or-consumer-purpose-of-debt/

 

They do this in part because they have found that there is more money in breaking the law than in following it. The few consumers who stand up for themselves and file suit are not even a temporary setback, violating the law and the settlements they pay consumers is viewed a nothing more than the cost of doing business for today's debt collection agencies. As Ustrojanalum said it is nothing more than a speeding ticket to them.

 

Following up with FDCPA violations can have benefits for you though. The claim can give you leverage in a lawsuit, in settling the debt, negotiating tradelines etc. If you are having financial difficulties you can still use the one or two thousand dollars you may collect.

 

Become familiar with the Consumer Laws that are there to protect you. FDCPA claims can be sued upon by an individual representing themselves, they are most often taken on by Consumer Attorneys at no cost to the consumer because the Private Right to Action allows you to be reimbursed for legal fees.

 

ALSO

 

FCRA http://law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/15/1681

 

TCPA http://transition.fcc.gov/cgb/policy/TCPA-Rules.pdf

 

The good consumer attorneys will represent consumers filing FDCPA, and other similar suits on a contingency.

NACA Lawyers naca.net/ National Association of Consumer Attorneys

 

They don't get paid unless they win or settle the suit in your favor. The FDCPA maximum is 1,000.00 for the Consumer, plus a possibility of additional payment on related State Consumer violations, whether it was an individual or class action, and actual emotional/mental/physical damages.

 

FDCPA and other consumer protection statutes

 

 

They can provide a cross or counter claim should you be sued for the debt. Attorney collectors are covered by the FDCPA and must follow the law when attempting to collect a debt. As we said it can give a consumer some leverage in negotiating a dismissal of the lawsuit, settling it, or in reducing the amount of the judgment should they lose the lawsuit but win the FDCPA claim.

 

When a person has been run into the ground by dozens of collectors making hundreds of phone calls to your,home, families and business it can be hard to believe that there is actually a law out there that protects you, that can make the calls stop and can provide you with a cash settlement to compensate you for the harassment and abuse.

 

It is true however. There is help available, you can make them stop calling you and you can make them pay. The FDCPA is a strict liability statute, it means that ONE violation is enough to win. If you have 100 violations the violations do not stack up with the FDCPA the maximum penalty to the debt collector is 1,000.00 per action (plus attorney fees and any damages.

 

 

YOU HAVE RIGHTS http://pennlawyer.com/fdcpa.htm

 

FDCPA Primer http://usdebtweb.com/index.php?page=fdcpa/fdcpaprimer

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One of the most common questions and requests seems to center around validation of a debt after you have received a collection letter from a Debt Collector. There are many misconceptions about what you can ask for and what you will receive.

 

One thing is imperative though, every letter you receive from a debt collector should be answered with a validation request sent certified mail return receipt (green card) CMMR

 

In the beginning I used variances of letters that I found online that asked for everything but the kitchen sink.

The sad truth is that they do not have to provide it for the debt to be considered validated. The amount of money that they claim is due, and the name of the creditor, validation just does not provide much information.

 

Often though your request for validation sends up a red flag at the collection agency, only about 5% of the people they send letters to request validation and it is an indication to them that you are a more savy consumer (if you send the right kind of letter) and are aware of at least some of your rights. It is not unusual for a debt collector to cease calling and to send your debt back to the original creditor or to sell it to another collector for pennies on the dollar after receiving your validation request. There are easier marks out there than a consumer that knows their rights and may file a suit.

 

Asking for validation also protects your rights, and gives you a little more to work with. When you send the validation request you are disputing the debt, they cannot call you or attempt to collect the debt until they validate it. If they do it is a violation of your rights and you have cause to sue the debt collector.

 

Before you discount that you should know that violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act are enforceable and you have a private right to action. The act is considered a strict liability act which means one violation is enough to act on and you have the right to sue them for their violation

 

There are many Consumer Attorneys nationwide that have built a practice and make a living off from the lawsuits they file for consumers against debt collectors.

 

When you dispute a debt generally they also have to mark it as disputed on your credit report.

 

There is a thread regarding marking disputes:

 

If they choose to not respond that is their choice, they do not have to send you anything,there is no time limit. The CA just cannot continue to collect on the debt until they validate it.

 

Now you can verbally dispute the debt on the phone but to protect all of your rights it is vitally important to send the validation letter certified mail return receipt. It is a lousy deal that we must spend 5.00 every time we send one but your are documenting your actions and you will need that green card back if you pursue a lawsuit against the collector.

 

So what do you say when you dispute a debt? I have come to the conclusion that less is more. When I send a validation letter I simply state;

 

This is not a refusal to pay. I have received your demand for payment for an alleged debt to XYZ, dated XYZ and received XYZ.

I dispute the debt in its entirety and request validation of the debt pursuant to the FDCPA.

Sincerely,

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I do not feel it is my job to educate or warn a debt collector. Many people think they can scare them off by quoting a lot of legal mumbo jumbo or asking for statements and signed contracts.

 

You don't get that in validation. You can ask for all those things in discovery though should you be served and are sued. That is a different matter for a different day.

 

The debt collector knows the law (you would think) and simply they violate it anyways because it is expediant and it pays off. I don't need to say more than I do or threaten them, or give them a chance to be nice.

 

They can validate the debt or not.

 

IF they violate the FDCPA then my education is served in the form of a summons when they are sued.

 

I used to include a CEASE AND DESIST ALL PHONE CALLS on every validation letter but I no longer do that on the first letter. Some people will state "All phone calls are inconveinent" in an effort to keep them from calling but allow them to send letters. The jury is out on that one as to whether it works they way people want it to.

 

You have the right to demand that they not contact you or you can allow them to contact you. Whether or not a limited demand for contact will hold up or not is debatable. Make a decision; do you want them to contact you or not?

 

There is another arena to the issue though and that is the fact that more and more people are going to cell phones and shutting down their land lines. It is possible to state that they do not have permission to call your cell phone and without permission they cannot call it without violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

 

You can if you want to send a second letter that is a Cease and Desist all calls and contact once you have received validation or you can send them a letter which is a refusal to pay which accomplishes the same thing.  A refusal to pay or a cease and desist letter could provoke a lawsuit to be filed sooner rather than later. Check some of coltfan's posts on that topic.


 


 


 

If they can't communicate then their options are limited.

 

Some people send such letters in an effort to bait the collector into a suit or making violations of the FDCPA. Honestly, debt collectors violate often enough on their own, they can't seem to help themselves. Their greed trumps common sense.

 

Often they do not even consider the possibility of violating State laws so check out your

50 state consumer laws http://www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs27plus.htm

 

n the conversation )recorded if legal in your state)

50 State Recording Laws http://pimall.com/nais/n.tel.tape.law.html#anchor373433

 

And the Reporter's Recording Guide http://rcfp.org/reporters-recording-guide

 

Other Resources by State: http://usdebtweb.com/index.php?page=us/us50states


Even if you recognize the debt ALWAYS deny the debt and request debt validation (DV) You want them to PROVE everything now and later if you are sued.

 

Sending a DV is the first step not the last

 

When disputing with a CRA you can send proof of your validation request to the debt collector

 

Once you have sent a validation of debt letter and received your green card back from the collection agency, dispute the debt,and request an investigation from the CRA (credit reporting agency). The CA (collection agency) will either ignore the request and the CRA will delete the trade line or they will reaffirm and re-report and it can give you a violation to pursue.

 

Review the following letter from the FTC http://ftc.gov/os/statutes/fdcpa/letters/cass.htm

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SAMPLE LETTERS

 

NO.1

 

Short sweet and to the point

  • Most often it seems best to keep it simple. Don't forget to check your state protections, it is not unusual for collectors to validate pursuant to the FDCPA and forget about other requirements that are state specific.

This is not a refusal to pay. I have received your demand for payment for an alleged debt to XYZ, dated XYZ and received XYZ.

I dispute the debt in its entirety and request validation of the debt pursuant to the FDCPA.

Sincerely,

 

NO. 2

 

Sometmes you will notice that they date the letter and it is not mailed for a week or two after the date. Some people like to include the date of receipt of the letter, date of the postmark and the date they received the letter. You have 30 days AFTER RECEIPT to send a validation letter. If you throw away the envelope you throw away your proof that they delayed mailing.

 

Dear Collector,

This is not a refusal to pay. I received your letter dated 11-01-12 postmarked 11-12-12 on 11-14-12 You are seeking money from me for an alleged debt. I dispute this debt and pursuant to the FDCPA I request that you provide the following:

THE NAME AND ADDRESS OF THE ORIGINAL CREDITOR;

VERIFICATION OF THE DEBT; AND

A COPY OF ANY VERIFICATION OR JUDGMENT IF IT EXISTS;

Thank you for your immediate cooperation.

 

NO.3

 

Some people want to jump on validation after the initial phone call, personally I don't see the reason to jump the gun. They have 5 days to send you a letter after they first call you. Let them send the letter.

 

It is not unusual that the initial dunning letter has violations of the FDCPA in it. Why throw that opportunity away. Remember once they validate they can continue trying to collect. You can always send a cease and desist or refuse to pay later.

 

REMEMBER The can claim they sent validation and really only have to prove that they have a mechanism in place in their procedures to mail.

 

Dear Collector,

On August 8, 2012, You called me about a debt. I then learned that you had placed a tradeline on my credit report but have not sent me anything in writing. I dispute the debt under the FDCPA.

 

PURSUANT TO THE FDCPA, I WOULD LIKE THE FOLLOWING PROVIDED:

 

1.THE NAME AND ADDRESS OF THE ORIGINAL CREDITOR;

2.VERIFICATION OF THE DEBT,; AND

3.A COPY OF ANY VERIFICATION OR JUDGMENT IF IT EXISTS;

 

NO. 4

 

This is a refusal to pay. A refusal to pay meets the requirements of a Cease and Desist, if the collector attempts to continue collecting on the debt they violate the FDCPA.

 

The more they send you and the more often they call, the more likely that they will violate your rights under the law. Again though it depends on your goals.

Date

 Dear Collector

I am in receipt of your letter dated 12-1-11, on 12-5-11 regarding an alleged debt.

I REFUSE TO PAY!!

Regards

 

NO. 5

Some people (colt) like to include their phone number in the letter when they tell them not to contact them. Collectors have a tendency to violate the FDCPA and will often call the number anyways. If your goal is to send a cease and desist then I think this is a good tactic.

 

This can backfire because some people attempt to do what they call a limited cease and desist by saying that the collector can send written correspondence but cannot call. The exception might be how it plays out if they are calling your cell phone.

 

Check out the TCPA thread

 

The Cease and Desist is generally taken to be an all or nothing demand. I have known people who have done that and the collector has honored it, and sometimes they treat it as a complete cease and desist.

 

Keep in mind that there does not appear to be much if any case law to back up a limited cease and desist. If they can't contact you it may increase the liklihood that they will file suit.


 

Dear Collector

You are seeking money from me for an alleged debt amount I dispute. Please send me proof I owe the debt and stop calling 222-333-4444 until you do.

 PLEASE CEASE AND DESIST FROM CONTACTING ME AGAIN WITHOUT FIRST VALIDATING THE DEBT. STOP CONTACTING MY PHONE NUMBER ABOVE.

 PURSUANT TO THE FDCPA, I WOULD LIKE THE FOLLOWING PROVIDED:

 THE NAME AND ADDRESS OF THE ORIGINAL CREDITOR;

VERIFICATION OF THE DEBT; AND

A COPY OF ANY VERIFICATION OR JUDGMENT IF IT EXISTS;

 Thank you for your immediate cooperation.

 

(Remember; “The bar for validation is low” (repeat 10 times)

 

 

NO. 6

 

Another area for a more specific letter might be with the issue of a collector calling your place of employment. Including the statement that calls are prohibited by your employer in the initial request for validation may help keep them from calling your workplace and may set the stage for a FDCPA violation if the collector ignores it and calls.

 

IF you put all of the different issues into one letter it would probably look like this, I don't know if this is something that you want to do or not, it really depends on your goals and what you are seeking from your validation letter.

 

Each situation is different not only for each person but for each collector that is coming after you. One thing is certain and that is Debt Validation letters should not ask for more than you are entitled to receive both in information that they send you about the debt or for protections that you wish to invoke.

 

You have the right to;

Request that they not contact you at work,

Not call at inconvenient times,

Revoke permission to call your cell phone,

Dispute the Debt

Request Validation

Request the name of the original creditor

Request a copy of a judgment if it exists

 

Pick and choose what applies to YOUR SITUATION

 

Dear Collector,

This is not a refusal to pay. I received your letter dated 11-01-12 postmarked 11-12-12 on 11-14-12

You are seeking money from me for an alleged debt. I dispute this debt and pursuant to the FDCPA

I request that you provide the following:

 

The name and address of the original creditor; Verification of the Debt and A copy of the verification or judgment if it exists;

 

I would further like to inform you that calls to my workplace are Prohibited

and as of 12-1-2012 I revoke authorization for you to contact me on my cell phone number 222-333-4444 and hereby notify you that all calls to my home phone of 222-444-5555 before 5PM after 9PM are inconvenient.

 

Thank you for your immediate cooperation.

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QUESTIONS ABOUT VALIDATION

 

Please PM Questions (and your answers) and I will add them to the list

 

What if the Collector refuses to validate the debt?creditinfocenter.com/community/topic/318307-fdcpa-what-if-the-debt-collector-refuses-to-validate/

Do I Have to Dispute in Writing?

creditinfocenter.com/community/topic/315696-must-you-request-validation-“in-writing”-fdcpa-1692ga3/

 

What is the process of validation consist of? Flow Chart

http://creditinfocenter.com/rebuild/debt_validation_workflow_large.shtml


 

What Do I need to Document Collector Abuse and Violations?

http://creditinfocenter.com/community/topic/318309-fdcpa-what-do-i-really-need-to-document-collector-violations-and-abuse/


 

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It's a potential hook that coltfan has talked about that I really like, you send a refusal to pay which is a cease and desist and there is a possibility that the leasy sophisticated debt collector will ignore it and violate FDCPA by continuing collections.

 

General Validation Guidelines

  • Do NOT Ignore the debt collector or the debt

  • ALWAYS send Debt Validation letters

  • If Legal Record all calls

  • Keep a call log

  • Is the debt past the Statutes of Limitations?

  • Are there special considerations per the type of debt?

  • Know Your Rights read the FDCPA

  • Keep Good Records- Document Everything!

  • Set goals; What do you want?

  • Don't let the collector box you into a corner

  • Think about it before you talk with the collector.

  • Let them send the Dunning Letter > Don't jump the Gun

  • Oral Disputes are not as good as a CMMR Letter

  • Respond on Time CMMR within 30 days after receipt

  • Verify the Debt- check your records

  • Are you the correct person?

  • Is this a case of Identity theft? >File a Police Report

  • Does the CA have the right to collect?

  • Is the CA Licensed in your state?

  • Is the amount correct?

  • Have they added fees or interest illegally?

  • If you do not recognize the debt; DENY DENY DENY

  • Negotiate settlement if desired,

  • Get agreements IN WRITING

  • Don't forget about trade-lines

  • Don't forget about tax obligations

  • Do NOT give out bank information

  • Do NOT give out personal information

  • Do NOT pay by personal check

  • Do NOT give out your SS#

  • Are you going to pay in full? or settle? or refuse to pay?

  • A refusal to pay IS a cease and desist

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Wow great resource! 

 

One thing I would ask though is about the refusal to pay letter.  I'm not sure I've wrapped my head around that.  What exactly is its purpose?

 

Ceasing communication:

 

If a consumer notifies a debt collector in writing that the consumer refuses to pay a debt or that the consumer wishes the debt collector to cease further communication with the consumer, the debt collector shall not communicate further with the consumer with respect to such debt,

 

A refusal to pay is the same as a C&D.  But do all CAs/JDBs know this?  If they don't, they just might continue collection efforts.

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Wow great resource! 

 

One thing I would ask though is about the refusal to pay letter.  I'm not sure I've wrapped my head around that.  What exactly is its purpose?

REFUSAL TO PAY ACTS THE SAME WAY A C AND D ORDER DOES,,,ONLY MOST CS'A DO NOT KNOW THIS.

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I realize that your post is meant to be generic and apply to everyone in general but, I would also suggest that you alert readers that state specific validation requirements may also apply.

For example, the Michigan Fair Debt Collections Practices Act 339.918 states that:

 

"(2) If the consumer notifies the collection agency in writing, within 30 days after receiving the written notice, that the debt, or any portion of the debt, is disputed, collection of the debt or any disputed portion of the debt shall cease until the collection agency obtains verification of the debt and a copy of the verification or judgment is mailed to the consumer by the collection agency. Verification of the debt or any disputed portion of the debt shall include the number and amount of previously made payments and the name and address of the original creditor, or a copy of the judgment against the debtor."

 

I have included this quotation an a few DV letters and it's usually sent the collector running.

 

Always look into your specific state's consumer protections.

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Yes, very true.

 

In my DV letters, I always wrote along the lines of "I dispute this claim in its entirety and request validation pursuant to the FDCPA as well as all applicable Washington State statutes".  I don't bother with quoting it, since it's their job to know what laws they've gotta follow :)

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I realize that your post is meant to be generic and apply to everyone in general but, I would also suggest that you alert readers that state specific validation requirements may also apply.

For example, the Michigan Fair Debt Collections Practices Act 339.918 states that:

 

"(2) If the consumer notifies the collection agency in writing, within 30 days after receiving the written notice, that the debt, or any portion of the debt, is disputed, collection of the debt or any disputed portion of the debt shall cease until the collection agency obtains verification of the debt and a copy of the verification or judgment is mailed to the consumer by the collection agency. Verification of the debt or any disputed portion of the debt shall include the number and amount of previously made payments and the name and address of the original creditor, or a copy of the judgment against the debtor."

 

I have included this quotation an a few DV letters and it's usually sent the collector running.

 

Always look into your specific state's consumer protections.

 

On post #4 there is a link to pricacyrights.org that has information on State Laws

 

I don't ask them to validate per Michigan law because it is their responsibility to know already, a couple of the local little agencies provide last payment and amount in responding to my DV's but the bigger CA's never have.

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