You may get contacted by a debt collector for a debt you do not recognize, or for an amount you feel is in error. If so, you have a right under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) to obtain validation of the debt from the debt collector.
A debt collector must disclose in writing the following information: a) The amount of the debt; b) The name of the creditor; c) A statement that the consumer has 30 days after receipt of the notice to dispute the validity of the debt or the debt will be assumed valid; d) A statement that the debt collector, upon receipt of the consumer’s dispute, will obtain verification of the debt; and e) A statement that, upon the consumer’s written request within the 30 day period, the debt collector will provide the consumer with the name and address of the original creditor.
You have 30 days to dispute the debt.
If you don’t agree with the debt’s existence, origin, or amount, you have 30 days to notify the collector in writing that you dispute the debt. In response, the collector, who is usually not your original creditor, will have to go back to them and obtain verification of the debt. Once they receive the documentation, they are required to provide you with a copy of the documents showing proof that you owe the debt, how much you owe, and to whom you now owe it (which might be a debt buyer). While this validation is being obtained, the debt collector cannot take any collection action against you.
The debt collector may behave badly.
When you request validation of the debt, the collector might fail to provide adequate validation documentation, continue to engage in collection activities against you in the interim, or send communications intended to confuse you about your right to obtain validation. Any concurrent collection activity during the statutory validation period is a violation of the FDCPA.
The law is on your side.
If you have exercised your right to obtain validation and the debt collector gets up to any of the shenanigans mentioned above, you may be able to win a lawsuit against them. Keep good records of all your interactions and contact an experienced debt collector abuse attorney.
It’s free to chat with me about your options – you can call or text me at 215.551.7109 or drop me a line.