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Is a collection agency required to provide proof of an alleged unpaid debt if I responded to their letter asking for validation?

Dallas, TX |

I recently received a letter from a collection agency notifying me of an alleged unpaid debt from an apartment complex back in 2008.This was the first letter that I received regarding this debt, however the debt has been reported to the 3 credit bureaus. Since this was the first time I have been contacted about this debt, I responded with a debt validation letter asking that they provide me with proof showing that the debt is indeed mine. I also asked them to show me how they calculated the amount they say I owe, which is almost $6,000! They responded with a letter that simply shows an itemized list of charges they say I owe, that add up to the sum of the amount they say I owe. They did not provide any sort of documentation that proves that the debt is mine. Not sure what my options are.

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Attorney answers 2


It sounds like validation to me if they sent you a copy of the statement from the apartment complex showing the charges. Often, they will also send a copy of the lease. If they did not send a copy of the lease and you think these are not your charges, you may want to send them another letter telling them that this is not your apartment debt and asking for a copy of the lease. If this is your debt, you are not going to get out of the credit reporting or the debt by dispute letter tactics. That said, the debt may well be uncollectible for a couple of reasons. The complex may not have properly notified you after move out, or the debt may be beyond the statute of limitations for a lawsuit, assuming that the complex did not sue at the time of the move-out.

I am licensed only in Texas. Offering information of a general nature in response to a question is not intended to be legal advice in your state.


I agree with Gary's response. In addition, you can try these options:
If you have other debts in addition to this one, you should consider a bankruptcy consultation. Many attorneys, including myself, offer a free bankruptcy consultation. Bankruptcy may allow you to eliminate most or all of your debt and allow you to keep most or all of your property.
In addition to bankruptcy, you can try submitting an online dispute to the credit reporting agencies. They have 30 days to respond. If they don't respond, the credit bureau is supposed to take it off.



If a credit reporting agency sends an initial response a few days after receipt of my dispute, saying something like "we're currently investigating your dispute", does that count as them having complied by responding with such a letter, even if I don't receive their response letter indicating the result of their investigation within that 30 day period?

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