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Pentagroup ignored DV letter in March... now sending documents in JUne

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In early March, Pentagroup offered a settlement agreement in two installments for April and May. A couple weeks later I'd decided to respond back with a debt validation letter instead since this is my first time dealing with these people. I've received the green card through mail as confirmation they received the letter but within a week or two, they gave me ANOTHER settlement letter offer instead of proof that I owe the debt. They just totally ignored what I gave them plus the 30 day period had expired.


 


In late May, I sent another follow up letter claiming they have yet to respond to the original one. Now today, they sent me a big envelope with paperwork in it as "proof" that I owed them and a letter demanding payment in full.


 


Did I do the right thing asking for debt validation when they initially sent me a settlement offer? Do they suppose to respond within the initial thirty days to prove the debt is mines? It was a little over two months ago when I sent the first DV letter and now it's June and I'm receiving documents. I want to know was it legal on their part. If I don't respond to them, will their next step is to sue next? I don't know what to do next. :(


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Sending a debt validation letter on valid debts invites lawsuits. If you feel the debt is valid, you're better off working out an arrangement that is acceptable to you. If you're uncomfortable about the agency that is handling it, you should call the original creditor to confirm their involvement.

 

If your intent was to settle, you would have been better off negotiating a settlement rather than sending a validation request.

 

Requesting validation on valid debts is one of the stupidest things you could do. Previous to your request they're not sure if they will acquire the backup. Thus, they're typically more negotiable due to that lack of confidence. Once collectors receive the validation it is common practice for them to become less negotiable since they now have the documents that would be necessary to sue you.

 

When you have accounts that are in collections you're best served keeping yourself off their radar and on the general collection floor. You will get a lot further by not singling yourself out and arming them with the information they need to aggressively pursue you. 

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Requesting validation on valid debts is one of the stupidest things you could do.

 

I disagree with this.  After an initial letter, I would definately send a DV.  You are already on the radar if they are sending you settlement requests.  Even if it is your debt, I would still do this.  At least you will know what you are up against.  If they are sending you letters, I have found they will eventually file suit if they can find on your CR that your address is listed.  May be different if they are just trying to skip trace. You need to protect your rights and do the DV within 30 days of inital letter.

As to the 2nd letter after you asked for DV, did they sign for the DV letter you sent, and is the post mark of the 2nd letter after they recieved the DV request?  If so, you *may* have an FDCPA violation, as they need to verify the debt before they continue collection activity. 

 

 

 

When you have accounts that are in collections you're best served keeping yourself off their radar and on the general collection floor. You will get a lot further by not singling yourself out and arming them with the information they need to aggressively pursue you

 

I agree with this.  I would never send a blind DV disputing a debt that has showed up on my CRA's If I knew the debt was mine because I would not want to draw attention to myself.  Having them verify a CRA report puts you on their radar.

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Sending a debt validation letter on valid debts invites lawsuits.

 

@jared_strauss

 

I second Shelli's disagreement.  Unless you have proof that a DV request invites lawsuits, it's my opinion that your statement is irresponsible.  There is no way to predict whether or not a lawsuit will be filed.

 

If a creditor or JDB is going to sue, they're going to sue whether or not you send a DV.  Both times that I was sued, I had not requested validation.

 

Requesting validation on valid debts is one of the stupidest things you could do. Previous to your request they're not sure if they will acquire the backup.

 

Very little is required for validation.  Based upon your statement referencing backup, you're referring to a JDB.  A CA collecting for an original creditor will have no problem providing sufficient validation.

 

A JDB who has purchased a debt can usually provide sufficient validation in the form of a credit card statement.  However, a cc statement alone would not be sufficient to win a lawsuit.

 

Many of the people who visit this site and are already being sued have told of how the JDB plaintiff included a copy of a credit card statement with the complaint.  That's also exactly what happened in my cases.  In other words, when the JDB purchased the debt, a cc statement or two was included with the purchase.  At the DV stage, there is nothing else for them to acquire.

 

Personally, I don't care for your blanket statements.  I have told posters what I said earlier.  There's no way to predict whether or not a creditor or JDB will sue. 

 

A DV request may show that you care and could encourage a JDB to pursue their claim either through calls and letters or by a lawsuit.  However, a JDB may also decide to close the files because they were actually looking for an easy case...a lawsuit with a default judgment.   A DV request could inform them that this would not be their default judgment.

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Requesting validation on valid debts is one of the stupidest things you could do. 

 

 

I disagree with this.  After an initial letter, I would definately send a DV.  You are already on the radar if they are sending you settlement requests.  

 

 

 

I also disagree with this.  Many times a debt collector will leave you alone once they know you are aware of the law.  

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I disagree with this.  After an initial letter, I would definately send a DV.  You are already on the radar if they are sending you settlement requests.  Even if it is your debt, I would still do this.  At least you will know what you are up against.  If they are sending you letters, I have found they will eventually file suit if they can find on your CR that your address is listed.  May be different if they are just trying to skip trace. You need to protect your rights and do the DV within 30 days of inital letter.

As to the 2nd letter after you asked for DV, did they sign for the DV letter you sent, and is the post mark of the 2nd letter after they recieved the DV request?  If so, you *may* have an FDCPA violation, as they need to verify the debt before they continue collection activity. 

 

Shellieh, 

 

This is based on my experience when I was in the collection industry and by information recently reported by the CFPB. 80% of all accounts that go into collections are never paid. When people initially receive a letter from a collection agency their accounts are on the general collection floor. Depending on whether the collection agency is a manual one or one that heavily relies on a predictive dialer will give people the idea of how many accounts the collection agency is servicing. 

 

If the agency is a manual one, each collector will generally be assigned a few hundred accounts.  If the agency is a dialer shop, they work from a pool of accounts that generally number in the tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands. So you're not on the radar. 

 

Instead your account is just mixed in with a whole bunch of other accounts.  And since they only collect roughly 20% of the accounts (over the entire life-cycle) they tend to focus on the ones with higher collection scores and attachable assets. When a consumer sends a cease and desist letter they make the decision to be focused on for the agency, thus placing them on their radar. 

 

Furthermore, it is common practice to segregate accounts that have been disputed away from the general collection floor. And when they do so, they generally assign the account to a more sophisticated collector, which further puts people on the radar and makes their goal of resolution more challenging and possibly more expensive due to the likelihood of the increased leverage that the collection agency has achieved if they are able to produce the validation. 

 

 

 

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@jared_strauss

I second Shelli's disagreement. Unless you have proof that a DV request invites lawsuits, it's my opinion that your statement is irresponsible. There is no way to predict whether or not a lawsuit will be filed.

If a creditor or JDB is going to sue, they're going to sue whether or not you send a DV. Both times that I was sued, I had not requested validation.

BV80,

I'm not saying that you won't get sued if you don't send one. I'm saying that you will increase your chances of getting sued if you do.

I understand you guys have never been on that side of the fence so you would have no way of knowing the internal workings, so I'll elaborate. When collection agencies and debt buyers are assigned debt it's done through an Excel spreadsheet. They just transfer data. They generally do not receive any items that would be necessary to validate.

Most agreements involving the sale of debt to junk debt buyers permit the JDB to request documents on 10% of the accounts. The JDB will generally be charged additionally for requests that exceed that 10% threshold. So they are very careful about what they request. As I mentioned to Sheila, they generally focus on acquiring the documentation for the most "collectable" accounts.

In the instance that the accounts are placed on contingency (not sold), there aren't any thresholds. However, most contingency collection agencies are focused on real-time collections and generally lack the capacity to sue, since the owner of the debt (in this case the original creditor) would generally have to recall the account from the contingency based collection agency and place it with a local attorney.

However, if the creditor is forced to produce the validation they'll have it in hand and be more likely to refer it to a local attorney, since most of the work that would be needed to be performed has been.

Again, people are better off if they're "just another account."

Very little is required for validation. Based upon your statement referencing backup, you're referring to a JDB. A CA collecting for an original creditor will have no problem providing sufficient validation.

That's not always true. Due to a lot of mergers and acquisitions some creditors are unable to provide backup on a fairly high percentage of accounts.

A JDB who has purchased a debt can usually provide sufficient validation in the form of a credit card statement. However, a cc statement alone would not be sufficient to win a lawsuit.

Many of the people who visit this site and are already being sued have told of how the JDB plaintiff included a copy of a credit card statement with the complaint. That's also exactly what happened in my cases. In other words, when the JDB purchased the debt, a cc statement or two was included with the purchase. At the DV stage, there is nothing else for them to acquire.

That's also not always true. They may be able to get the original credit app or an affidavit. And please understand (as you mentioned), most collection attorneys rely on default judgments. Approximately 90% of people who are served do nothing and lose by default. So, I like the advice you guys give about fighting it. It's very important to fight it.

Personally, I don't care for your blanket statements. I have told posters what I said earlier. There's no way to predict whether or not a creditor or JDB will sue.

I used to be in the industry, so this information is based on experience and the protocols we would employ. This isn't some blanket statement.

A DV request may show that you care and could encourage a JDB to pursue their claim either through calls and letters or by a lawsuit. However, a JDB may also decide to close the files because they were actually looking for an easy case...a lawsuit with a default judgment. A DV request could inform them that this would not be their default judgment.

That's a good point, but if they're able to acquire the necessary backup it's an unlikely one.

Also, if they do and a consumer decides they would would prefer to resolve it, as demonstrated by the original poster, they'll generally be a lot less negotiable.

So my point is why take that risk when you're just better off mingling with the thousands to tens of thousands of other accounts?

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I also disagree with this.  Many times a debt collector will leave you alone once they know you are aware of the law.  

 

You're right. In fact, for a lot of agencies it is standard procedure to remove accounts that they feel may lead to FDCPA lawsuits off their collection floor.

 

In the event that there is something to go after, it is also common practice to just forward the account to an attorney for suit to avoid that potential exposure.  

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@jared_strauss

 

I understand that the fact that you've been on the other side of the fence provides you with information that may be unknown to the majority of posters on this site.  However, that does not excuse your statement that requesting validation is the "stupidest" thing one can do.  And, yes, it was a blanket statement.  You didn't include that any information or statements that would allow the consumer to make an informed decision.

 

You also said that a validation request "invites lawsuits".   You didn't qualify that statement either.  You merely stated it as fact. 

 

However, we know for a fact that DV requests do not always invite lawsuits.  Unless you have evidence that shows otherwise, you're statement was irresponsible.  We also know for a fact that DV requests can result in FDCPA violations against a CA or JDB which can be used as a counterclaim in the event of a debt collection lawsuit.

 

If you believe that a validation request is stupid and invites lawsuits, you are entitled to your opinion.  I have no problem with opinions as long as it's clear that it's merely an opinion or if one's statement is followed by something to the effect of "but this is not always the case".

 

Because of your past experience and current line of work, some might assume your statements are irrefutable facts and not opinions based upon your experience.

 

No matter your experience, the only opinion that applies 100% of the time is an opinion by the Supreme Court of the United States.

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@jared_strauss

 

I understand that the fact that you've been on the other side of the fence provides you with information that may be unknown to the majority of posters on this site.  However, that does not excuse your statement that requesting validation is the "stupidest" thing one can do.  And, yes, it was a blanket statement.  You didn't include that any information or statements that would allow the consumer to make an informed decision.

 

You also said that a validation request "invites lawsuits".   You didn't qualify that statement either.  You merely stated it as fact. 

 

However, we know for a fact that DV requests do not always invite lawsuits.  Unless you have evidence that shows otherwise, you're statement was irresponsible.  We also know for a fact that DV requests can result in FDCPA violations against a CA or JDB which can be used as a counterclaim in the event of a debt collection lawsuit.

 

If you believe that a validation request is stupid and invites lawsuits, you are entitled to your opinion.  I have no problem with opinions as long as it's clear that it's merely an opinion or if one's statement is followed by something to the effect of "but this is not always the case".

 

Because of your past experience and current line of work, some might assume your statements are irrefutable facts and not opinions based upon your experience.

 

No matter your experience, the only opinion that applies 100% of the time is an opinion by the Supreme Court of the United States.

 

 

I like your response. I'll be more specific: requesting validation on valid debts is the stupidest thing you can do if you desire to find amicable resolution. 

 

I included the common reaction. It's basic logic and common sense.

 

Think about it - what would you do if you were a collector and you received a validation request and you were able to validate it? I won't speak for you, but for the majority of collectors they'll become less negotiable and more aggressive because they now have the means to become aggressive, when previous to the request, they didn't. 

 

You're right, they don't always. I never said always. I said they increase your chances of getting sued. And they do. Again, think logically. 

 

And you're correct that they could create violations that may come in handy for defense. But that is a big "could." It really is. You're leaving open the possibility of mainly 1 violation: contact with the consumer previous to providing validation. 

 

You are even more likely to be exposed to violations by mingling with the general population of collection accounts, without singling yourself out and subjecting yourself to the increased risk in the first place. Simply because you'll be exposed to additional communication that can lead to many violations. 

 

This just isn't opinion. This is real-world experience and typical protocols that are employed throughout the collection industry. 

 

Thank you for being so professional with your response. I appreciate it. 

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@jared_strauss

 

My argument was based upon the fact that you your statements were made in such a matter-of-fact manner that they appeared indisputable.  If you had stated that a DV "might" invite lawsuits or "could possibly motivate a CA to file a lawsuit, but this is not always the case", I wouldn't have responded. 

 

I must state that I see no redeeming quality in your statement that requesting validation is "the stupidest thing you could do."

 

Unless we know that a particular statement is fact and indisputable, we should point out that a statement does not apply in all cases and that other outcomes are possible.  It's a matter of providing posters with enough information in order for them to make an informed decision with which they are comfortable.

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@jared_strauss

 

My argument was based upon the fact that you your statements were made in such a matter-of-fact manner that they appeared indisputable.  If you had stated that a DV "might" invite lawsuits or "could possibly motivate a CA to file a lawsuit, but this is not always the case", I wouldn't have responded. 

 

I see no redeeming quality in your statement that requesting validation is "the stupidest thing you could do."

 

Unless we know that a particular statement is fact and indisputable, we should point out that a statement does not apply in all cases and that other outcomes are possible.  It's a matter of providing posters with enough information in order for them to make an informed decision with which they are comfortable.

 

I understand your point and I agree with what you have said in respect to appearing to be matter-of-fact with my initial statement. You're right. 

 

I really like your style BV80. I bet you bring a lot of value to this community. Keep up the great work! 

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I understand your point and I agree with what you have said in respect to appearing to be matter-of-fact with my initial statement. You're right. 

 

I really like your style BV80. I bet you bring a lot of value to this community. Keep up the great work! 

@jared_strauss

 

Despite the fact that I disagree with a lot of what you are saying, I really enjoy reading your posts and am learning a lot from reading about your experiences.  

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It's good to hear from the other side, I had never been on the other side, nor do I have read in other forums, I know they got forums too, but I never found one (I probably didn't try hard enough), anyways other opinions are always valuable, that's why we live in a democracy! we might not agree but as long as it respectful it's always something to read.

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BV80, I'm not saying that you won't get sued if you don't send one. I'm saying that you will increase your chances of getting sued if you do. I understand you guys have never been on that side of the fence so you would have no way of knowing the internal workings, so I'll elaborate. When collection agencies and debt buyers are assigned debt it's done through an Excel spreadsheet. They just transfer data. They generally do not receive any items that would be necessary to validate.

First ... please learn to make followup replies where YOUR text is NOT inside the box of who you are answering.  They way you are doing it makes it hard to reply to YOU without having to copy and paste text around, which subjects the process to potential errors.  You can break up a box by just pressing a couple of returns together fast at the places you want to break it.

 

There is a certain plausibility to this.  The argument is that the DV forces them to expend (either by using up their 10% or paying out) to answer the DV (if they are going that far), and having done that, it is a "sunk cost" that makes the lawsuit slightly less costly (they now have the info and it won't be expended to file the suit).  For borderline accounts, they may make a statistical difference.

 

But there is also the counter argument that a debtor who knows how to DV is a debtor that is less likely to pay.  For an account that is worth filing suit on, this would likely speed it up.  But it also shows the debtor is more likely to stop a default judgment.

 

Evaluating the above depends on whether the collector is one that is into the practice of mass suing for DJs.  In this case, the DV is more likely to reduce the risk of a suit.  And we know of certain collectors and junk debt buyers that do this all the time.
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You're right. In fact, for a lot of agencies it is standard procedure to remove accounts that they feel may lead to FDCPA lawsuits off their collection floor.

 

In the event that there is something to go after, it is also common practice to just forward the account to an attorney for suit to avoid that potential exposure.  

Some collectors completely skip the collection letter step and go straight to a lawsuit.

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[There is a certain plausibility to this.  The argument is that the DV forces them to expend (either by using up their 10% or paying out) to answer the DV (if they are going that far), and having done that, it is a "sunk cost" that makes the lawsuit slightly less costly (they now have the info and it won't be expended to file the suit).  For borderline accounts, they may make a statistical difference.

But there is also the counter argument that a debtor who knows how to DV is a debtor that is less likely to pay.  For an account that is worth filing suit on, this would likely speed it up.  But it also shows the debtor is more likely to stop a default judgment.
Evaluating the above depends on whether the collector is one that is into the practice of mass suing for DJs.  In this case, the DV is more likely to reduce the risk of a suit.  And we know of certain collectors and junk debt buyers that do this all the time.]
 
Been following this thread along with a few others related to my situation (one of which I have dedicated to my own situation [mod - please move if better suited there]).  
Since this thread overlaps and may be helpful to others, I posted here.
 
The above makes the most logical sense to me from a collection agency standpoint.
My situation is clear:
  • the debt is 100% valid, the tacked on fees, maybe, can be arguable to a point
  • I had previously settled 3 other CC accounts that show as settled in some form or another on my CR.  2 other accounts (inc this one) show as unpaid for over a year and a half.
  • I had spoken to the OC prior to charge off in an attempt to negotiate a settlement and was unable to secure one that was satisfactory to me based on funds available at the time
  • I have spoken a few times to the JDB (Portfolio Recovery Associates) briefly, once to tell them not to call me at work, and 2 other times to hear them out and also noted I'd like to settle but just didn't have funds at present. Last conversation was had Feb 2013
  • They have since called my home incessantly and I never pickup.  They have also sent a letter identifying the debt and offering an 80% "settlement" to clear
  • Last contact came last week via mail, Second notice, being referred to the litigation dept but that no individual attorney has reviewed the case as of yet and they must hear from me by July 5th.  This notice showed the correct OC, and debt Seller, as well as a balance (that included tacked on late fees, no itemization, just a number).

I have been hemming and hawing about sending a DV precisely because of what Torden writes. 

Fact is, if I had funds, I'd push to settle for 20-40% right now, it is my debt after all.

If my goal is to simply delay until I gather funds, but avoid risk of judgment and/or suit, what would best course be?

And being this is second notice, but has not been referred to an attorney yet, can I still send a DV?  And what would next steps be?

What happens if I do not send a DV and they send suit?  I cannot have a judgment against me so I would need to respond.  How?

 

Thanks again to all on this forum.  It is extremely helpful.

 

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Second notice means nothing, just something to put there to threaten you to pay. I had have second third fourth, attorney letters, etc, etc and as of today no JDB has sued me, I hope they do, but since my debt is old now and outside SOL, I doubt it.

 

A DV offers two things, one and most important, that you show them you know your rights and are willing to fight, and 2 a time delay if you do it within the 30 days window, they do not have to reply if you do it after the 30 day window. Also if you DV them within the 30 day window and they do not reply within 60 days I'll send them a refuse to pay with the excuse they didn't respond (a refuse to pay is the same as a cease and desist but with different wording). Chances are that they will not go after an informed consumer and move on to greener grass.

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