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Is this considered debt verification? Input greatly appreciated!


itswhatido
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I have been reading this board and others, discovering a wealth of financial knowledge, and learning to repair my credit through my own actions. I wish to take some personal accountability and correct this on my own but I seem to have hit my first bump in the road and I have few questions on how to proceed. 

To start, I have six adverse accounts on my credit report(s).  Three of the accounts are medical related and should have been covered by insurance but I’m unsure as to why they were not. The amounts of those accounts are ~$100, ~$700, and ~$400 (I’m keeping numbers vague, just in case). I sent them all certified debt verification letters on 10/8 and so far I have heard only back from two of these three particular medical debt collectors.


1.  One debt (~$400) seems to be valid and they even included a letter to validate the debt, along with the verification, which was all received less than a week after I sent out the certified letter. Now I move on to a pay-for-delete for this debt, unless you feel I should try to bring my (former) health insurance provider into the mix.  Suggestions?

2.  The debt in question (topic title) is the one for ~$700, which I was replied to with only a copy of the bill from the hospital, the original creditor. In fact, I have no indication, letterhead, return address, or otherwise, that this was intended to verify or validate the debt. It was simply one page showing the bill, presumably from the original creditor, with a $0 balance, saying it was “Turned to Collection." 

  • I am aware that it is simple for debt collectors to validate a debt and all they need is to send a copy of the statement from the original creditor but does this qualify? I was asking to have the debt verified but they sent me debt validation. I have no proof that debt collector, on my credit report, was assigned or sold the debt. Is this the point in time that I ask to verification (even though it is out of order in the specific process), or after 30 days from 10/8 have passed, should I ask them (via certified mail) to immediately remove the collection listing from my credit report or I will file a lawsuit because they are in violation of the FDCPA, section 809 (B )?

3.  Another was a debt that I paid off in Feb 2010 for ~$2000, which was for me being forced to break a lease. It went into collections and they verbally promised (stupid me, I know) to remove it from my credit report if I paid that partial amount. Well, I naively paid them and it was obviously never removed from my credit report but at least it is marked as paid. I sent them a debt verification letter on 10/8 and they responded with a letter that includes the following: 

“Account Number: XXXXXXXXXXX 
Balance: ~$1000 
Dear itswhatido 
This letter shall serve as confirmation as proof that the above referenced debt has been satisfied in full. 
JerkLiarCreditPeople, Inc. hereby releases you of further obligation to this account.” 

  • Notice the two amounts listed in the letter and what I paid are different. The debt collector settled for ~$2000. The account number they list and what shows on the letter are identical.  Does it make a difference that there is a discrepancy between the balance I paid and the balance showing on the letter? Also, should I assume that the this will be removed from my credit report or is there anything else I need to do in order to remove it? Should I contact the FTC, etc? Or does this imply that it stays on my credit report until the seven years is up but I do not owe any additional money?

4.  The last communication I received from a debt collector was a letter I just received today, dated 10/22, 14 days from when I sent the certified letter.  The letter I received acknowledged the request for verification but said additional time was needed to obtain the requested documentation.  Is this some sort of legal tactic I am unaware of?  They still only have 30 days, correct?


I am still awaiting to hear back from two of the six other debt collectors in regards to certified debt verification letters sent on 10/8.
There is a TON of great information out there and I have spent a lot of time looking for the answer but I can’t seem to find a definitive answer for how to proceed with these accounts for now.

Thank you for any help you're willing to provide.  I have completely brought myself to financially responsible and I am in the process of saving up for a down payment on a house, refinancing my car, and obtaining credit cards.  All of these require an improved credit score from where I am now (although it has already come up by far), with an average score of ~610.  I hope the formatting works out to make this easier to read!

 

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They have more than 30 days, if you requested debt validation and they did not contact you first with a dunning letter, they don't have to validate it at all unless they try to collect.

Also a DV after they send you a dunning letter, and then you within 30 days ask for a DV, they only need to send you the OC and amount.

It would be better to dispute with the credit reporting agencies as not mine in writing, and see if they come back verified. If they do, there are other steps you can take, read about the 623 method.

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The debt in question (topic title) is the one for ~$700, which I was replied to with only a copy of the bill from the hospital, the original creditor. In fact, I have no indication, letterhead, return address, or otherwise, that this was intended to verify or validate the debt. It was simply one page showing the bill, presumably from the original creditor, with a $0 balance, saying it was “Turned to Collection." 

 

 

@itswhatido

 

The leading case on this subject simply states that verification of the debt involves nothing more than being provided with information confirming that the amount being demanded by the debt collector is the amount the creditor is claiming is owed.

 

If you received a copy of a "bill" from the creditor showing a zero balance, then any money the debt collector is attempting to collect is not the same as the amount the creditor is claiming is owed. The collector is claiming you owe ~$700. The hospital says you owe $0.  That is the purpose behind validation; to uncover these discrepancies.

 

It now falls to you to contact the hospital to confirm whether you do, in fact, owe anything. Make sure you keep that "bill" which shows zero balance.

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@shellieh98

 

Thank you!  I'll look into the 623 method.  What is the point of debt verification of they don't have to reply at all?  Am I thinking of debt validation in regards to the 30 days?  Are you saying I should contact the CRAs to dispute these debts?  I do see that the 623 Method's primary tactic is disputing.  I have included a generic copy of the letters I sent out.  I may have found the letter on these boards but I'm not too sure.  Perhaps you have some input.

 

Thank you very much, Shellie!

 

 

@nascar

 

I suppose I should have mentioned that the hospital bill I received does show an amount (~$700) that matches with what the debt collector claims I owe.  However, the bill from the hospital states that $0 is owed to the hospital because the balance, ~$700, has been "Turned to Collection".  I just wanted to clarify in case I mistakenly implied that nothing was ever owed.  In fact, the only reason I knew that this bill matches up to the collector is because the amounts are identical.  

 

I included a copy of the letter I sent out to all collectors.  Would you take a gander?  I think I may have mixed up debt verification and validation.  Also, in regards to my #3 paragraph, should I assume that trade line is being removed?  Thank you, sir!

 

 

 

Date

 

Name

Address

Address

 

Collection Agency


Collection Agency Address


City, State Zip

 

Re: Acct # XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXX

 

To Whom It May Concern:

 

I am sending this letter to you in response to an entry on my credit report. Be advised, this is not a refusal to pay, but a notice sent pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 USC 1692g Sec. 809 (B) that your claim is disputed and validation is requested.

 

This is NOT a request for "verification" or proof of my mailing address, but a request for VALIDATION made pursuant to the above named Title and Section. 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:

 

•    What the money you say I owe is for;

•    Explain and show me how you calculated what you say I owe;

•    Provide me with copies of any papers that show I agreed to pay what you say I owe;

•    Provide a verification or copy of any judgment if applicable;

•    Identify the original creditor;

•    Prove the Statute of Limitations has not expired on this account;

•    Show me that you are licensed to collect in my state; and

•    Provide me with your license numbers and Registered Agent.

 

If your offices have reported invalidated information to any of the three major Credit Bureaus (Equifax, Experian or TransUnion), said action might constitute fraud under both Federal and State Laws. Due to this fact, if any negative mark is found on any of my credit reports from your company or the company that you represent, I will not hesitate in bringing legal action against you for the following:

 

•    Violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act

•    Violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

•    Defamation of Character

 

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.

 

Also during this validation period, if any action is taken which could be considered detrimental to any of my credit reports, I will consult with my legal counsel. This includes any information to a credit reporting repository that could be inaccurate or invalidated or verifying an account as accurate when in fact there is no provided proof that it is.

 

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 and completely removed from my credit file and a copy of such deletion request shall be sent to me immediately.

 

I would also like to request, in writing, that your offices make no telephone contact to my home or to my place of employment. If your offices attempt telephone communication with me, including but not limited to computer generated calls or correspondence sent to any third parties, it will be considered harassment and I will have no choice but to file suit. 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.

 

Best Regards,

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@nascar

@shellieh98

 

The letters I sent out on 10/8 were only CM, not CMRRR.  I didn't know at the time that was an option, so I obviously didn't know that is the preferred protocol.  Every single letter was delivered according to the tracking numbers.  Will this make a substantial difference in a potential legal case against collectors?

 

After examining the letters I sent out on 10/8 (when I was less aware of what I was doing), it seems I asked for validation as my first contact with with the collectors.

 

Does this make a difference?  Should I send out an appropriate debt verification letter now?
 
Thank you for your input!  
I wish I could show you how truly grateful I am for anyone's advice!  I love learning about this!
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@itswhatido

 

Sending the letters CMRRR is merely more convenient because a consumer has the green card in hand to show that the letter was received.  What you did was fine because you can still prove that your letters were received.

 

The only time a CA has to respond to a DV letter is if you send it within 30 days of their first contact with you.  That first contact is usually a letter that contains the the language in 1692g(a) which states that you have 30 days to request validation, etc.  Even if you send a timely DV, the CA doesn't have to respond if they choose to stop collection efforts.

 

If you send a DV request at any other time, CAs are not required to respond at all and can still make collection attempts.

 

The letter you sent was way too wordy.  In the future, when sending a DV in response to a first dunning letter,  all that's actually necessary is:

 

CA's name

Address

 

RE:  Account #xxxxxx

 

To Whom It May Concern:

 

I dispute the above referenced account and request validation.

 

Since you want to dispute entries on your CR, I'd so as Shellie suggested and look into the 623 method.  You start by disputing each entry with the credit reporting agencies.

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@BV80

 

Thank you for the info regarding the letters I sent; that puts me at ease.  However, in the future, I will certainly opt for CMRRR.

 

I am currently investigating the 623 Method and will be immediately employing those tactics!  I appreciate the reinforcement of Shellie's advice.

 

Thank you!

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@BV80 @shellieh98

 

I am currently attempting to employ the 623 Method but i am stuck on Step 1, which is to send letters of dispute to the CRAs.

 

I found a letter template to use, which I have included below, but I am a bit curious on some specifics.  Should I send one letter per account I am disputing?  I can list several, five in my case, on one dispute letter per CRA.  Would disputing five accounts seem obnoxious to the CRA and would they still be required to provide evidence against the dispute if I dispute every adverse account on my credit?  I have little evidence to support my disputes.  In my case, I just want them to provide the evidence to me, so does the burden of proof lie on them?  

 

Also, as this letter does not contain the word "dispute".  Is that required to identify the letter as a dispute or will this letter make due?

 

Thank you very much for everyone's continued help!

 

 

 

Date

 

Your Name
Your Address
City, State Zip

 

Credit Bureau
Bureau Address
City, State Zip

 

Dear Credit Bureau,

 

This letter is a formal complaint that you are reporting inaccurate credit information.

 

I am very distressed that you have included the below information in my credit profile due to its damaging effects on my good credit standing. As you are no doubt aware, credit reporting laws ensure that bureaus report only accurate credit information. No doubt the inclusion of this inaccurate information is a mistake on either your or the reporting creditor's part. Because of the mistakes on my credit report, I have been wrongfully denied credit recently for a <insert credit type for which you were denied here>, which was highly embarrassing and has negatively impacted my lifestyle.

 

optional With the proof I'm attaching to this letter, I'm sure you'll agree it needs to be removed ASAP.

 

The following information therefore needs to be verified and deleted from the report as soon as possible:

 

CREDITOR AGENCY, acct. 123-34567-ABC

 

Please delete the above information as quickly as possible.

 

Sincerely,

 

Your Signature

 

Your Name
SSN# 123-45-6789
Attachment included

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@admin

 

Thank you!  This is a great relief!  Obviously I pulled the letter from the sample letters available through this website but I just wanted to make sure that it would definitely apply to my situation.

 

Considering the minimal amount of time I've been using the resources of creditinfocenter.com, I have been given a wealth of information!

 

I am doing my best to research everything on my own but for the gaps that are missing, everyone has been extremely helpful!

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