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When to respond to Debt Verification?


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I have what I hope is a quick question, and which may have been answered in nested threads elsewhere, but I think this deserves some additional attention.

 

When someone receives an initial letter in the mail from a lawyers office that they were referred by a junk debt collector for credit card debt that was written off and they are now acting on for collections, what is the best course of initial action?  Now mind you no lawsuit has been filed yet.

 

It seems to me this type of letter appears to be more of an intimidation, phishing or prodding attempt to get someone to respond to the lawyers office/Collection Agency that the debt is somehow valid and you are the one on the hook for the debt.

 

Doesn't responding to them resets the clock on the Statute of Limitations?

 

Secondly, wouldn't it be just as effective to force them to file a lawsuit then wait for their motion to show up by registered mail then demand debt verification at that point - at which time you hammer them with the list of discovery questions then file a motion to dismiss as a result of them not being able to provide the necessary information?

 

Wouldn't asking them for discovery items before a lawsuit just seems to tip your hand to your defense which would allow them more time to gather evidence against you?

 

Thank you.

 

 

 

 

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@Nuntuis

 

Requesting validation and disputing a debt does not reset the SOL.   A validation request is not discovery.  All that's required for them to validate is to provide the name of the original creditor and the amount of the debt.

 

Once you've been sued, it's really too late to request validation.  Discovery is what takes place after you've been sued and answer the complaint.    It depends upon what they can or can't provide that would determine the next move.

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The only things they have to provide if you DV them are the amount you owe and the name/address of the original creditor.  Anything else you demand in DV beyond that they can ignore and they are in compliance with the law.

 

Once they sue you it is WAY too late for DV.  You are assuming they will have no proof.  It depends on who is suing you.  While some JDBs have no records or spurious ones at best there are a few law firms that do their job and get the records for court.  It also depends on whether your court is creditor or debtor friendly as to what and how much proof they will need.

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@Nuntuis

Many states have collection laws that require a collector to be licensed and/or provide more information when responding to a request for validation or verification or a dispute. It's best to review your state's laws:

http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/washington-collection-agencies-law.html

 

Law firms, with some exceptions. Lawyers and law firms do not need to be licensed as long as they are not in the regular business of collecting debts. Some law firms specialize in debt collection, however, so they do need to obtain a debt collector license.

Prohibited Collection Activities Under Washington Law

Licensed debt collectors must comply with the regulations contained in the Washington collection agency law. As you read this section, keep in mind that debt collectors must comply with both Washington’s regulations and the FDCPA’s regulations, but this section is limited to Washington law.

Debt collectors:

Must provide specific information upon first contact. The first time a debt collector sends you a letter, notice, form, or anything else, its must include the following:

  • the debt collector’s business address and licensee name
  • the name of the original creditor (if the debt collector knows who it is) as well as your original account number (which can be redacted)
  • when you last made a payment to the original creditor, and
  • a statement including the original amount of the debt and a schedule of additional charges (such as late fees, interest, and attorneys’ fees) that were added.

                                                                                            ###

Debt Validation and Verification

If you ask a debt collector, in writing, to provide the name of the original creditor, your account number with that original creditor, or the date of your last payment, the collector must stop collection efforts until it provides you with this information. (The FDCPA has a similar provision; it is often referred to as debt validation or debt verification.) This can be crucial if you don’t know who the original creditor is or you want clarification on the amount owed.

You can also request that the debt collector provide you with a statement of the additional fees added to the debt, if it hasn’t already provided this to you. It must make a reasonable effort to obtain and provide the information to you.

If you dispute the amount of the debt and the debt collector has already reported the debt to a credit reporting agency, it must request that the credit reporting agency mark the debt as disputed. Once you dispute the amount of the debt, the debt collector can no longer contact your employer or and third party until the debt has been verified.

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When someone receives an initial letter in the mail from a lawyers office that they were referred by a junk debt collector for credit card debt that was written off and they are now acting on for collections, what is the best course of initial action?  Now mind you no lawsuit has been filed yet.

 

It seems to me this type of letter appears to be more of an intimidation, phishing or prodding attempt to get someone to respond to the lawyers office/Collection Agency that the debt is somehow valid and you are the one on the hook for the debt.

 

 
 
"The Washington Court of Appeals, in Donohue v. Nielson, 161 Wn.App. 606, 255 P. 3d 760 (2011), held that once a collection agency gives the validation notice required by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), an attorney hired by the collection agency to sue on the debt is not required to give a second validation notice." 
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