Can a debt buyer be sued if they don't respond to your debt validation letter?

Asked over 1 year ago - Stanford, CA

I mailed a debt validation letter to a debt buyer about a notice they sent me. I don't recall having that account and needed proof. My DV letter was mailed to the exact address on their notice the day after I got it. Certified mail with a return receipt. They did receive it because I got the green postcard back in the mail with a signature. They have not responded. It has been well over 30 days. What is my recourse? Should I send another letter? Is this breaking any laws?

Attorney answers (5)

  1. Robert Harlan Stempler

    Contributor Level 19


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Yes. Lack of validation and other potential violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) (assuming that this was a consumer debt) will not prevent a debt collection lawsuit from being filed. However, any violations of the FDCPA can be brought either in a separate action or in a cross complaint against the debt collectors who violated it. If you have had your consumer rights violated, I'd recommend that you consult and consider retaining a consumer attorney with experience in FDCPA cases, as you can recover your actual damages, court costs, and attorney's fees. If you are sued on a debt, I'd suggest you review my "next steps count" blog, linked below, and consult with an experienced debt collection DEFENSE attorney, such as me.

    I doubt sending another letter will change anything. What is it that you seek to accomplish? If you are the victim of identity theft, then be sure to read my legal guide on identity theft, which is the second link, below. If that is your situation, then clearly suing you on this false debt will violate that act, so be sure to assert that this is a case of identity theft, if you did not authorize this debt and obtain a police report and follow the other steps in my legal guide.

    Robert Stempler (please see DISCLAIMER below)
    Twitter: @RStempler

    NOTICE: The above statements are provided for general information purposes only and are not intended as legal... more
  2. Matthew Scott Berkus

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . They only break the law, (if you can call it that) if they continue to try to collect. If a debtor sends a validation request, and the collection agency never responds, but at the same time stops trying to collect, then there has been no violation.

    Note, to extent they broke the law is measured by YOUR willingness to actually sue. We can talk all day about FDCPA violations, whether a violation occured, etc., but unless a debtor is willing to pull the trigger and file the lawsuit, the discussion is merely academic.

  3. Keren E. Gesund


    Contributor Level 8


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I agree with Matthew. Under the FDCPA, a debt collector has 2 options when they receive a dispute letter: either send validation or stop collections. They're only liable if they resume collections without sending validation.

  4. Paul Francis Easlick

    Contributor Level 13


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . It is irrelevant who claims that you owe them money. They have to provide evidence of the debt. You are well within your rights to demand an accounting. I recommend that you give the creditor-assignee a call. If that fails, then there is nothing you can do but wait. Also, do check your credit report. If this debt shows up, dispute it with the major credit reporting agencies.

  5. Tregg Robert Lunn


    Contributor Level 13

    Answered . You should certainly confer with a consumer attorney in your area. The failure to respond could be a violation of the FDCPA, and as my colleague says, it largely depends of if you are willing to file suit.

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