I received a letter that's on a generic letter with their letterhead with that says "Verification of Debt" with the original creditor, open and closed date and a very high balance. Is that proper validation? Why is the balance so high? They already put it on my CR. Can I send them another letter back? If so what should it say? How do I know the debt is really owned by them? Do I call the original creditor to see who they sold it to? It's been passed to 2-3 collection agencies. Or should I dispute the balance to the CRB?
"Validation" and "verification" are different things. in your case, it appears that the account has been transferred or sold to the present collection agency. If so, good luck getting any information from the original creditor. Because the account appears to be old (you do not state how long it has been in collection), the Statute of Limitations may have run out. Therefore, do not pay anything and do not communicate anything that implies that you acknowledge that you o owe the debt. If you do, you may re-start the Statute of Limitations. The SOL may be 3 years of 4 years, depending upon the terms of the cardmember agreement. The SOL starts from the date of your last payment, your the date of your default, whichever is later. If the SOL has run out, and they sue you, you have a complete defense to their claim. Also, if they sue you, you can demand the original account documents, not just the information contained in their computerized list of accounts. A consultation with a lawyer will be very beneficial.
Unfortunately this sounds like it meets the minimum requirements for verification. Very little is required as far as verification.
The balance could be an error or it could be including a lot of interest, penalties, and potentially collection fees. These last fees maybe should not be in the balance (depending on your contract with creditor), and that will be an issue if you are sued. However, when consumers have sued on the issue of not knowing what the total balance includes, consumers often lose. The courts usually seem to think just throwing a number at you is OK.
As for what you should do next, it really depends on your goal. Do you want to pay off or negotiate the debt? If the collector is sending verification, they probably did buy the debt. Can they prove it in court? Very likely NOT but you calling the original creditor will nto get you information. If you settle the debt with this creditor and get the settlement in writing, you will have settled this particular debt. That is true whether or not the collection agency owns the debt or has been hired to collect. You can settle with a hired collector and that is not a scam -- it is OK for creditors or debt buyers to hire collectors.
I would not recommend disputing with a credit reporting agency unless you know the balance is incorrect.
The above statements are provided for general information purposes only and are not intended as legal advice or advice of any sort for a specific case or legal matter. If you do not have a signed attorney-client fee agreement with the Hill Country Consumer Law ("the Firm"), then until such written fee agreement is provided and signed by both a prospective client and attorney for a particular case, neither Ms. Kleinpeter nor the Firm will represent you nor will they be your attorney in any matter and you remain responsible for retaining your own attorney and for compliance with any and all deadlines and for any statutes of limitations that may pertain to potential claims.
Under the FDCPA, all the collections agency needs to do is state the name and address of the creditor and that the creditor verified the amount owed with the original creditor. Very low standard to meet.
Disclaimer of California Attorney
Although the above response is believed to be accurate, it should not be relied upon as any type of legal advice because the information provided is incomplete. It is intended to educate the reader and a more definite answer should be based on a consultation with a lawyer. No attorney client relation is formed with me without a written contract.
Disclaimer of California Attorney Although the above response is believed to be accurate, it should not be relied upon as any type of legal advice because the information provided is incomplete. It is intended to educate the reader and a more definite answer should be based on a consultation with a lawyer. No attorney client relation is formed with me without a written contract. Jerald Friedman [email protected] www.stopcollections.net
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