Consumer Protection Law
Consumer Protection Law Questions? Ask a Lawyer Now.
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Only one company can actually own the debt, but it's possible that the owner of the debt (even if it's a collection agency) can hire another agency to pursue that debt. Typically the owner of the account (such as a credit card company, etc...) owns that debt and hires a collection agency to pursue it. Sometimes the original owner will write off that debt (which is not a forgiveness of the debt, but rather an accounting procedure to balance the books) and sells the debt for pennies on the dollar. The purchaser can be a debt collector, and can "subcontract" the collection to another company.
Now that being said, I would certainly ask for verification from the second debt collector, as well as the first, as to whom actually owns the debt and on whose authority they're collecting the debt.
Send a demand letter demanding verification of the ownership and the collector's authority to act within 30 days, otherwise you will cease communication and consider pursuing legal action against them pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA, which in reality doesn't apply to business debts, but they might not know that and might be frightened into giving you this verification. Send this letter certified, return receipt requested, as well as a copy sent regular mail. Keep a copy for yourself, as well as the return receipt number so that you can show the court that you made a demand for this information should it come up.
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