The debt was submitted to the collection agency before the charity adjustment was made by the medical provider. Would a cease and desist with proof of the zero balance work in this situation?
I am also past the 30 day period of initial contact and believe that a validation letter may not be successful at this point.
Landlord / Tenant Lawyer
You could start with a letter to the collection agency and include a copy of the letter from the creditor indicating the zero balance. Ask them to verify that the debt is valid.
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Send them a debt dispute/validation letter and enclose the written documentation showing the charity adjustment and zero balance.
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You should send a letter stating this to both the collection agency and the creditor. Send it certified mail return receipt requested, so that you have proof they received your letter.
Criminal Defense Attorney
As the previous answers suggested, you can send a letter showing the zero balance. If, however, the collections company still contacts you demanding payment of the debt or negatively effects your credit reports, then you may have recourse against the debt collector. In Florida, § 559.72, Florida Statutes, provides remedies for violations of fair debt. Believe it or not, the Florida Consumer Collections Practices Act is more protective than the Federal version 15 USC 1692. It does have similar sanctions though. For instance, if the debt collector continues to try and collect the debt not due, then they can be liable for a $1,000.00 penalty and attorney's fees and costs.
If they continue to make attempts on that debt you should contact an attorney to further assist you. Sometimes a letter from an attorney detailing the requirements of 559.72, et. seq., is enough to stop all creditor harassment.