Thank you for using JustAnswer. I am researching your issue and will respond shortly.
Under the Federal Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) , you are allowed to challenge the validity of a debt that a collection agency states you owe to them. Use this letter and the following form to make the agency verify that the debt is actually yours and owed by you. Keep a copy for your files and send the letter registered mail. Here's the letter that you can send:
Your Name Your Address City, State Zip
Collection Agency Collection Agency Address City, State Zip
Re: Acct # XXXXX
To Whom It May Concern:
I am sending this letter to you in response to a notice I received from you on (date of letter). 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 XXXXX XXXXX your office provide me with competent evidence that I have any legal obligation to pay you.
Please provide me with the following:
If your offices have reported invalidated information to any of the three major Credit Bureau's (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 by your company or the company that you represent I will not hesitate in bringing legal action against you for the following:
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 no telephone contact be made by your offices 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.
Your Signature Your Name
After that, if they provide the verification, you can work with them to accept a lower amount.
Again, send this via certified mail. And it should reference the "Fair Debt Collection Practices Act" (which this one does).
Hope that clears things up a bit. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate this answer either a 3, 4, or 5 (good or better). Please note that I do not get any credit for this answer unless and until you rate it that way. Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX good luck to you!
Sir, are you still there? I've already done what you said. They sent back a photocopy of the old promissory note. But that is it. There was no accounting of how they arrived at the amount. Or documentation that the debt is legally theirs. So is just a photocopy of the note going to win in court or will it not?
Yes, I am still here. A photocopy alone would not be enough, but rather that along with an affidavit that it was not paid (or testimony as to that), ownership of the note, etc... would need to be presented in court.
The letter above would allow you to demand that they present this additional information to you before proceeding to attempt to collect from you (although they could just file a lawsuit against you without providing this information). But they do have to prove standing, breach, the amount of the breach, damages, etc... in court if challenged.
Ok. So should I send them another letter saying that they have not provided all the documentation I asked for? Or just do nothing?
I absolutely would do that, and specifically highlight the verification that you're seeking. Let them know that a copy of a note does not give you any of the information other than provide you with a copy of the note.
Ok. So if they bought the debt from the old lender, or it was assigned to them, either way there should be some kind of documentation or receipt that authorized them to collect, am I correct?
Thank you. You've been very helpful.
My pleasure.If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. Please note that I don't get any credit for my answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better). Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX good luck to you!
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).