Sunday, August 1, 2010

Debt Validation After 30 Days

The FDCPA gives you a set period of time to dispute debts with collection agencies, but you can still request a debt validation after 30 days. If you're particularly nasty, you can even legally strong-arm the company into giving you what you want.

The basic premise of the whole debt validation shtick is this: You request proof and they have to provide it. Even the slightest bit of wandering around the internet and doing research, however, will show you that everybody and their brother says you can't use debt validation after 30 days. Mmmhmmm.  WRONG.

The FDCPA does not say that debt validation is only available for 30 days. Rather, it says that you only have a right to validation if you formally dispute the debt within 30 days after you discover its existence.

Are you feeling the loophole yet?  Oooo...just gives you chills, doesn't it?



Legal Loopholes are Delicious

If you're curious, here's an excerpt from the FDCPA describing the process: 

Within five days after the initial communication with a consumer in connection with the collection of any debt, a debt collector shall, unless the following information is contained in the initial communication or the consumer has paid the debt, send the consumer a written notice containing: 


  • the amount of the debt;
  • the name of the creditor to whom the debt is owed;
  • a statement that unless the consumer, within 30 days after receipt of the notice, disputes the validity of the debt . . . the debt will be assumed valid by the debt collector;
  • a statement that if the consumer notifies the debt collector in writing within the 30-day period that the debt . . . is disputed, the debt collector will obtain a verification of the debt . . . and a copy of such verification will be mailed to the consumer
 Check out Section 809 of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to see for yourself. In case you don't like plowing through legal jargon, however, I'm going to be nice enough to break it down for you.

In a nutshell, you can dispute a debt within 30 days after either of the following events occur:

 A. sends you written notice of the debt  


 B. You discover, in some roundabout way, that the collection agency is currently holding the debt, to send your debt validation letter. 



Debt Notification? But I Never Got Anything...

It's just kittens and rainbows and gummie bears from here. Why? Well, the USPS wouldn't make so much money from insurance if things didn't get lost in the mail. As a matter of fact, I was researching this a few weeks ago and was pleasantly surprised to discover that such a vast number of mailings get "misplaced" by the USPS that it refuses to release the numbers.

Do you see where I'm going with this? I'm highlighting the next bit, because its important.

A collection agency must, by law, send you formal notification of the debt within five days after its first contact with you. Unless the collection agency used certified or registered mail to send you its initial formal notification of the debt, no proof exists that you ever received it. Their records are notoriously bad, but even if a computer record demonstrates the letter was sent out – big deal. You didn't get it. Got it? 


Aw shucks, guess that notification of debt didn't make it...

A collection agency isn't going to send you your formal notification via certified or registered mail because that costs money. The goal is to collect money, not spend it. So guess what? You don't know what the heck they're talking about. You know nothing about this debt. You just pulled up your credit report and there it was. Since you've just "discovered" that you owe a debt to a collection agency, you're legally entitled to request a debt validation after 30 days.

 Here's the best part: When they don't send the validation and they continue calling you and sending you their annoying settlement letters, you file a formal lawsuit against them for violating the FDCPA by not validating your debt. If you're feeling really froggy, get a local attorney to draft your first letter, just to make yourself sound as serious as a tornado in a trailer park. Later, I'll post about that process in detail and tell you exactly what to do if you actually receive a debt validation out of all of this.

And that, boys and girls, is how you pursue a debt validation after 30 days.




144 comments:

  1. What is the best way to go after the colection company if they issue court summons but Never repsonded to your certified mail requesting verfication of debt?

    ReplyDelete
  2. That depends on whether you send the validation request before or after you received the summons. If you sent it before, you need to show up at court with proof that you send the request. If you sent it after, the company is under no obligation to validate the debt.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you. What if they issued court summons 10 days after I received the initial collection letter?
    I have proof of the stated mailed initial collection letter. the collection company then issued court summons 10 days after I received this intial collection lettter. Even the summons has the date written 10 days after first collection letter sent. Is there anyway to fight this in court?
    Yes request for validation was sent before the court summons

    ReplyDelete
  4. Ahiah, you have an excellent case. If I were you, I'd file an answer to the summons pronto. State that you have sent a validation letter within the 30 days after receiving the collection agency's initial communication per section 809 of the FDCPA and the collection agency did not respond. The company subsequently filed suit against you which constitutes collection activity without validation and is strictly prohibited by the FDCPA.

    You not only have grounds to have that lawsuit thrown out of court – you have grounds for a lawsuit of your own. I highly recommend that you pursue it. That violation of the FDCPA is worth $1000.

    Now, if the collection agency DID respond, you may have a problem. That all depends on how old the debt is. If you'd care to keep me posted, I am very interested in finding out how all this turns out for you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Lee,
      I am in this situation where i started to fix my credit and sent dispute letters and one of them didn't respond for 30 day validation, then another third party debt collector sent me a summons and complaint. I never even recieved a formal notification from them to dispute i owe them anything. I am answering to summons but can i sue them for not sending me formal letter in the beginning?

      Delete
    2. Here's the deal, federal law requires a collector to send you a formal dunning letter containing your right to dispute the debt within 5 days of its initial communication with you. If your state allows the practice, the right to validate notice may be contained in the complaint letter. Otherwise, the collector has five days to provide you with such a notice.
      If they sue you and do not comply with the FDCPA, then yes, you have the right to file a countersuit and, in my humble opinion, it would be to your benefit to do so.

      Delete
  5. Yes sir. That was what I did. To catch you up to speed. I did go to court and file an answer with my court and did counter sue.
    The collection Agency -- Did send me a letter stating that they would like to attempt to resolve this issue without going to court. And requested that I call them.
    So as of now I have not called them and if no communication is made we will go to a pre-trial conference.
    Not sure at this point if I low ball a negotiation settlement out of court or go to court?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Here's what's going on. When a collection agency files a lawsuit they aren't interested in going to court and proving a case. Roughly 90% of all lawsuits from collectors end in default judgments because the debtor doesn't respond. Then the collection agency cleans the debtor out with garnishments and levies.

    I don't know which collection agency you're dealing with (if you mind telling me I might have past experience with the place and know some of their habits) but the letter you received after filing an answer is basically a "We know we're going to lose so we're going to try to get you one last time."

    You see, Ahiah, you already tried to settle it out of court. You followed the letter of the law. The collection agency did not. Now they are going to have to pay and pay dearly for that mistake. Personally, I wouldn't low ball a settlement. They haven't proved you owe this debt, why on earth would you pay them?

    No, make them fight for it. My guess would be that they're planning to drop the case at the last minute if they don't hear from you. A lot of collection agencies do that when the debtor fights.

    Go to court. Bring a copy of the DV letter you sent them and a copy of the signature card proving that they received it. Demand that they prove you owe this debt.

    I am not an attorney, and this does not constitute legal advice, but I've seen a lot of these cases and I firmly believe you have the upper hand here. Remember, if the judge throws out the case or the CA drops it, you need to start pushing to have their negative trade line removed from your credit report pronto.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi Lee thanks.
    The Collection compaany is Machol & Johannes LLC
    Yes I have kept all records of the certified USPS request and even them calling me trying to collect after the letter of demand was sent to them.

    So in your opinion I should continue this to court and sue them? In my answer I already did request a counter suit of $1,000.
    I will keep you posted
    And I will start on those tradelines to have credit agencyies investigate and remove
    thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  8. To the best of my knowledge, M&J are a collection firm. They collect on behalf of a variety of companies. If I had to guess, I'd say the collection agency that owns your account is probably Harvest Credit. Does that sound right?

    Here's the skinny on M&J. They're sue-happy. The more work they do, the more they make. They have no incentive to stop the lawsuit before going to court. Whether the collection agency wins or loses is irrelevant provided the attorneys get their fees. If you want the lawsuit dismissed, you need to communicate with the collection agency directly rather than solely with its attorneys.

    If I were you, I'd sent a letter to the collection agency (not the law firm) certified mail return receipt requested. Inform the company that you requested a validation within the allotted time frame and did not receive one. Note that you have proof of your request and remind the company that pursuing a lawsuit without validating is against the law. Also note that you have already filed suit against the company. Include copies of documents proving you filed. If you really want to get scary, pay to have your letter drafted by an attorney or go have it notarized.

    Keep going with your countersuit. It's your ace in the hole right now.

    As far as the settlement goes, that is 100% up to you. My only concern with that is that the company may be offering to negotiate only to get you to pay a portion of the debt or agree to settle so that it can claim in court that you made a payment on the account and, by doing so, you admitted you owed the debt.

    If you do opt for a settlement, always make offers lower than you can afford. Make a written agreement with the CA noting that, although you are settling, you are not admitting that you actually owe the debt. Also ensure that the CA agrees not to continue trying to collect the balance and not to sell the account. Collectors sell settlement balances all the time and consumers without a written agreement do not have any legal recourse.

    Don't do anything with the credit bureaus just yet. You want that trade line removed through court (when you win, you can demand it). The credit bureau simply sends the CA a request to please note its data is accurate. The CA checks the trade line and responds to the bureau that it is, indeed, accurate. No real investigation takes place.

    So, your best bet is to leave the trade line be for now and focus on beating the CA and its attorneys in court.

    ReplyDelete
  9. They sent me a letter making an offer for $900. Original claimed debt is $1600.
    In the letter I would also sign away my rights for any future counter claim againt them.
    I guess I will see them in court. Any advise for court?

    ReplyDelete
  10. Make them prove it. If they do, you're no worse off than you were before. If they can't then they have to leave you alone. It's an acceptable risk. I sincerely hope this works out for you. Please let me know what happens at your hearing.

    ReplyDelete
  11. vI will do. I am currently working on returning their requests for admissions, motion for discover, and interrogatories

    ReplyDelete
  12. I received a summons to court by Frederick J. Hanna and Associates. This was the first time I heard of the law firm. If they even sent a letter before suing I either didn't get it or overlooked it but I believe I would have remembered it had it been sent. I don't know when they are saying they informed me so I don't know if the 30 days has expired. I tried to call the law firm and the lawyer indicated on the suit isn't even listed in their dial by name registry and I could never get anyone on the phone. The suit is in reference to credit card debt from no later than 2004. I paid a lot of credit cards off after being unemployed for a while but I don't know if I owe this debt or not. I have not yet responded to the suit. How should I proceed? Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  13. Your first step should be checking the SOL in your state. You don't mention which state that is, otherwise I could help you out there. Your debt is 7 years old. Odds are the SOL is expired and you can use this as a defense to have the case dropped.

    If you discover that the SOL has, in fact, expired, file a formal answer with both the court and the attorney's office noting that you will be using the expired SOL as your defense in court. That will usually get the lawsuit dropped.

    ReplyDelete
  14. You mentioned that you would do a future post about what to do if you actually get a debt validation letter back or some attempt of debt validation from the collection agency, but I couldn't find it on here.

    Do you have advice on what to do?

    Mike

    ReplyDelete
  15. Mike,

    I'm really sorry about that. I don't believe I ever did follow up and make a post about it, so I went ahead and did so. Thanks for pointing that out!

    You can find the new post here:

    http://collectionagencydebt.blogspot.com/2011/12/what-to-do-when-collection-agency.html

    ReplyDelete
  16. I sent them a letter to dismiss their case with prejudice. If they don't respond, file motion to strike in court.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hey there. Firstly, thank you so much for providing this information.

    The collection agency coming after me is collection agency/law firm.

    My question is.. They sent the initial notification months ago. They call me regularly, and some of the times I've answered and discussed payment arrangements with them.

    I've never actually ADMITTED to owning the debt over the phone with them, but have I basically screwed myself out of being able to claim I never received their initial letter? I know they record their phone calls, and I'm curious as to whether this could be used against me? Or if I still claim I never "received it", despite discussing a payment plan with them in the past over the phone.

    I guess my question is -- Can I still request validation of the debt at this point? Or did I screw myself out of it by discussing payment arrangements with the, over the phone?

    Thank you

    ReplyDelete
  18. The collection agency I am dealing with threatened me to dispute. I was sent the letter but was on holiday and got it 2 weeks after it was sent. I immediately typed up a dispute letter and the day after they contacted me via phone stating me disputing was a "hostile approach" to dealing with this debt and discouraged me from sending it. When I finally realized what they were doing the 30 day mark passed (by 4 days). I sent the dispute letter and another letter stating what happened certified mail stating I was intimidated. I feel like I totally screwed myself up here as now I have two letters that went out, 1. disputing 2. stating I acknowledge that I sent the dispute letter after the 30 day mark. Do I have any rights at all here?

    ReplyDelete
  19. QUESTION, WHAT IF YOU HAVE RECEIVED A COLLECTION LETTER, IT HAS THE COMMON WRIITEN PART WHERE YOU HAVE 30 DAYS T0 RESPOND. YOU DID REPSOND BY CERTIFED MAIL, DISPUTED THE DEBT WITHIN THE WRITTEN 30 DAY TIME FRAME. YOU SEND THE LETTER, THEY DONT RESPOND AND HAVE YET TO RESPOND, ITS BEEN 5 MONTHS.I HAVE ANOTHER WHERE IT HAS BEEN A YEAR SINCE I DID THE VERY SAME THING. THE ONLY DIFF IN THE TWO ARE ONE IS LOCAL, THE OTHER IS OUT OF STATE. CAN THEY JUS KEEP IT UOP, I WOULD THINK IF THEY SEND YOUA COLLECTION LETTER, GIVE U THE 30 DAYS, YOU RESPOND BY CERT MAIL, AND THEY DONT. ANYBODY HAVE ANY EXPERICNCCE WITH THIS?

    ReplyDelete
  20. Do you know the habits of the following collection agencies. I Lost my job in Feb 2012 and not sure how to handle the letters and calls. When i answer some calls they say nothing and hang up. Asset Acceptance, Cavalry, MCM, Source Receivables Management, also Cavalry sold theirs to Onnes102.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Could you tell me more about the following collection agencies. I Lost my job in Feb 2012 and not sure how to handle the letters and calls. When i answer some calls they say nothing and hang up. Asset Acceptance, Cavalry, MCM, Source Receivables Management, also Cavalry sold theirs to Onnes102. Please reply soon!! thank you so much

    ReplyDelete
  22. Regarding that I just discovered that the collection agency is holding the debt (since it is after the 30 day validation period), how should that part best be phrased in the letter?

    ReplyDelete
  23. How should it be phrased in the letter? Or the best way.... "Upon pulling my credit report I discovered this item"?

    How about saying "Upon calling (original creditor) today, I discovered this debt"

    ReplyDelete
  24. I sent a collection agency a letter looking to validate the debt. About a month later I get a bunch of statements directly from the hospital which they never sent me to start with. My question is..this did not come from the collection agency but the original creditor so how can they collect the debt if they have no proof that it was assigned to them and I must pay them instead?

    ReplyDelete
  25. I have a debt with asset acceptance i sent a validation letter and recieved a letter that states the date debt was purchased my name and last 4 of soc number letter also states they uderstand I'm disputing the accuracy of their records then state they are unable to determine the nature of my dispute and consequently deny their records are inaccurate. Is this an acceptable validation letter if not what is my next step

    ReplyDelete
  26. I have a debt with asset acceptance. I sent a debt validation letter and recieved a letter back today stating the day the debt was purchased my name and last 4 soc numbers. Then said they understood i was disputing the accuracy of their records and after reviewing the information i provided and information of previous creditor we're unable to determine nature of my dispute and consequently deny our records are inaccurate. And that if i still believe the account info is inaccurate provide and explanation why. Is this acceptable and what should i do next thank u

    ReplyDelete
  27. Is it smart to wait until I am possibly served with a summons before I ask for validation? I have two charged off cc from chase. One seems to have been bought by portfolio recovery, the other by MCM. I now live in SC but will be moving to GA in the next few months.
    I have not answered any calls or letters from either in 3 years. Apparently an attorney is now sending letters to my mothers address in Michigan for the one from MCM. Should I try to contact them before they find me at my new address? I have no records,agreements, or statements to know if any of it is correct. I am afraid they will get a judgement against me without my having an opportunity to get to Wherever they may sue. And what is proper validation? The mass letters that have been sent have my name, s.s. and seems to be a proper old cc number .

    ReplyDelete
  28. Is it smart to wait until I am possibly served with a summons before I ask for validation? I have two charged off cc from chase. One seems to have been bought by portfolio recovery, the other by MCM. I now live in SC but will be moving to GA in the next few months.
    I have not answered any calls or letters from either in 3 years. Apparently an attorney is now sending letters to my mothers address in Michigan for the one from MCM. Should I try to contact them before they find me at my new address? I have no records,agreements, or statements to know if any of it is correct. I am afraid they will get a judgement against me without my having an opportunity to get to Wherever they may sue. And what is proper validation? The mass letters that have been sent have my name, s.s. and seems to be a proper old cc number .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The sucky thing for you is that, in SC, they can't garnish your wages. But when you move to GA, they can.

      You need to figure out if the SOL has expired on the debt. If they're putting this much effort toward finding you, that means the SOL is probably close to expiring. If you leave SC before that happens, the clock stops and they have more time to come after you. SC is, quite possibly, the safest state to live in if you are being hunted by collectors. Leaving is not a good idea – at least, not right now.

      Whether you contact them or not is your choice. I can't in good conscience advise you to contact them or not because either route could result in a lawsuit. If you contact them and they know where you are, you're in a much better position to fight the lawsuit, however, because you'll receive a summons.

      There is no federal regulation regarding what does and does not constitute validation. Technically, they can send you anything they want and call it validation, but many of these BS validations don't hold up in court. Best of luck.

      Delete
  29. I have a debt with Cache L.L.C I haven't received a summons yet but received a letter from a local attorney who states that a lawsuit was filed and offered to represent me. I havent contacted either of them but have looked at my credit report. should I contact cache and dispute that I ever received any notices and saw this on my report and request copies of notices and debt verification letter?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a good idea. You may also want to contact that attorney and find out just what he knows.

      Delete
  30. I sent a DV letter to a CA. The CA sent me couple statements from OC and a copy of an online application from it. Is that enough proof that CA owns the debt? do I make another letter asking if they own the debt, or is that enough proof for me to just settle. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anything they send you is technically "proof" even if it won't hold up in court. There is no federal standard for what constitutes validation.

      Delete
  31. I asked for Validation via FDCPA and they took longer than 30 days and sent a copy of a statement only nothing else, I'm sending a follow up letter not stating that the latest letter was sent and repeating the need for the signed contracts copies and proof they can collect in my state. they have only sent via regular mail so far. This letter states if they are not able to provide the proof as stated by law then the matter is closed in 30 days.

    ReplyDelete
  32. I have a student loan that was put in default. The collections agency has broken the FDCPA when it comes to constant communication (harassing phone calls). They have sent a few advisory letters (NOT certified) mentioning all of that jargin. The only thing they have listed is the claimant, original creditor, account number, and balance.

    I have spoken to them twice and told them that I cannot afford the payments asked for, and told them "I'll see what I can do."

    Is that admission that I owe the debt?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unfortunately, its very hard to fight a collection agency that's working for the federal government (I'm going to assume this loan is federal. A private loan would have a different answer). Admitting ownership of the debt isn't that much of an issue with a government-based debt because if the government says you owe it, you owe it. It's next to impossible to fight government-based debts. If you don't want to deal with the CA (and who does?) consider contacting the Department of Education and requesting a loan rehabilitation. Provided you haven't rehabbed the loan before, the DoE will generally work with you when it comes to payments you can afford.

      Delete
  33. After you send a VOD letter, how long can the CA take to reply to you? do they have a time limit?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is no time limit. Provided you send the request within 30 days, the CA can take all the time they like to validate – but they can't continue collection activity until they do. If you didn't send your validation via certified mail with a return receipt, there's a strong chance the CA will simply claim that it never received your request.

      Delete
  34. If I did not respond within 30 days and it has been about almost 60 days can I still respond back with a letter or is there anyway to get around this? I'm still trying to understand the whole thing, but I would like to settle with them if I could without going to court or should I get an attorney to help me out with this situation since I have not responded for almost 2 months? I also did call them to let them know that I could not pay, I'm not sure if that was a smart thing to do, but I wanted to find the best solution without going to court. Any type of help you can give me would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You have every right to send a validation request this late in the game. Unlike requests sent within 30 days, however, collection activity will continue while the CA reviews your request. And they may not respond. Regardless, there is nothing that stops you from requesting validation at any time.

      Most of the time, consumers get the benefit of the doubt. Unless the CA sent its notification via certified mail (and that's not cost effective for the company) it can't prove that you actually received the letter. You, however, called the company. They know you know. If it were me, I'd get that validation off as quick as possible now.

      Delete
  35. my son got a letter here from a collection company saying he owed over 800 for overdraft of an account he believed he closed in 2007 when he lived across country. Apparently after that a few small automatic charges came through, he had moved and they racked up OD fees...eventually closing the account. They offered to settle for 600. This is the first letter he has received about this. He became aware that the bank closed his account eventually (like 4-5 years ago) when he went to open another account and something derogatory showed up. But has never heard form the original bank. He has no other debt but $600 bucks is a lot for something he feels was their error (not closing the account as he originally requested but cannot prove).
    Should he respond? Should he ask for proof of this debt? Call the original bank? (seems it has already been sold to a recovery place).
    Whenever his credit has been pulled (like to rent a place) it basically shows he has none (good or bad) as he has never had a credit card or a loan. His only time payment was medical and all were made on time and it's done.(He's in his mid 20s).
    He doesn't live here and they don't have his phone number but not sure how to proceed. Any help appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. When you close a bank account, they give you paperwork demonstrating that the account has been closed and contains zero funds. If he held onto his paperwork, he's in the clear.

      He has a variety of options. One option is to call the original bank, speak to the bank manager, and explain the situation. I'd offer the bank the full 800 dollars in exchange for calling off the CA and forcing them to withdraw any negative information the CA added to his credit report.

      You don't mention which state you're in, but odds are that the SOL on this debt has expired and neither the bank nor the CA can sue him. And since its from 2007, its about a year and some odd months away from falling off his credit report anyway. If he makes a payment or agrees to a settlement, the SOL restarts from scratch (but not the reporting period, that remains the same)and the CA can sue him. Worst case scenario? He has to wait a year or so for the account to fall off his credit before he can make any big purchases.

      Delete
  36. I have a question when it comes to credit validation. I sent out a validation letter to a collection agencies. It has now been over thirty days and I did not receive any documentation from them. It still remains on my credit report. When I contacted the credit bureau regarding this issue I was told that even though the collection agencies did not respond to my letter and I have proof because I sent it certified mail. It does not require the credit bureau to remove it from my file. I would like to know is this true?

    ReplyDelete
  37. Partially.

    You see, the FDCPA states that if a collection agency cannot validate your debt, they MUST remove it from your credit report. There is, however, no set time frame for their response. In other words, you have 30 days to request a validation, but the collection agency can take all the time they like in responding to the validation. The catch here is that, until they respond, they cannot continue collection activity, such as calling you on the phone or sending demand letters. Unfortunately, case law supports the fact that continuing to report your debt to the credit bureaus does not constitute collection activity during the validation period.

    If you don't get a response soon, however, it may be time to send the collection agency another letter letting them know that you send a validation request CRRR (you want them to know that you know they received it) over 30 days ago, did not get a response, and now demand that the company remove its trade line from your credit report. Otherwise, you'll sue. If they have been conducting collection activity during this period as well, that's just one more thing to add to your case.

    Make sure you maintain a paper trail for your attorney. Oh, and keep in mind that the customer service reps for the credit bureaus often know nothing about the regulations they are supposed to uphold.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Hello Lee. I'm hoping u can help me out. I had a judgement against me in 2005. The judgement has fallen off my credit report, but now the collection agency/ law firm is trying to garnish my wages. I contacted them in October of 2012 and tried to make payment arrangements with them but they would not settle. I also sent them a certified letter asking them to provide me with verification of the account along with a $100 money order. I have not heard or received anything from them. Saturday I recieved paperwork from my employer notifying me of the wage garnishment. Is there anything I can do?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wish there were. You don't mention what state you're in, but judgments are generally enforceable for anywhere from 10 to 20 years. Worse still, creditors have the right to "renew" their judgments for a subsequent enforcement period if you don't pay.

      Judgment holders have no incentive to accept a settlement from you because they have the legal right to force you to pay the full amount through garnishments, bank levies, etc. In some cases, they can even seize your property.

      While collection agencies must provide you with validation of a debt, that no longer rings true after a court grants the creditor a judgment. The court decision alone validates the debt, and the creditor is no longer required to provide you with anything.

      You may be able to return to court and have the judgment set aside, but you'd need to show just cause as to why the court should vacate the judgment. What counts as "just cause" varies by state. In addition, most states have strict time limits for judgment appeals. If the judgment is already 8 years old, odds are you've exhausted those appeals.

      I have known many hard-up individuals to job hop when faced with a garnishment. Not that I'm recommending this by any means, but it often takes a judgment holder several months (and sometimes longer) to track down a debtor's new employer and file a garnishment request. This, of course, is only an option for those without established careers.

      Delete
  39. After pulling my credit report I noticed an unknown collection item on there, I sent the CA a dept validation letter in response to my letter, they replied saying, the account is well past the dept validation period, and if I had further questions i need to call them.

    Again, I only discovered this upon pulling my credit report and never received any collection notice or call. How should I word perhaps a 2nd validation notice. Or what step should take next?

    ReplyDelete
  40. The validation period begins when the collection agency initially notifies you of your debt – regardless of how old the debt is. So if you disputed within this period, the collection agency is violating federal law by refusing to respond.

    If your concern is getting the debt off your credit report, you can dispute the debt's accuracy directly with the collection agency. This is a loophole that helps you get around the 30-day law. If the collection is recent, it may even be worth hiring an attorney to give the CA a nice scare. Most would rather delete trade lines for small debts that put forth the time and resources necessary to lock horns with an attorney.

    ReplyDelete
  41. I recently received a collections letter from CU Recovery stating I owe Universal Assurers Agency 133,000. I have no deal who Universal Assurors agency is. In the letter they offered me several options to make payment, but never offered me opportunity to rebuke the claim. Is this important?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. $133,000 is a lot of money. Universal Assurers Agency is a loan guarantor, so I'm guessing this debt is a mortgage deficiency left over after a foreclosure or short sale. That's just a guess though.

      If the letter was the collector's initial contact with you, the FDCPA gives it five days to send you notification of your right to dispute the debt within 30 days. However, if CU Recovery is actually a branch of Universal Assurers, they aren't a third-party collection agency. The FDCPA only applies to third-party collection agencies.

      Here's a link to the full text of the FDCPA. See section 809 for more information regarding notification of your right to dispute. Also check out 813 to review your options when a collector violates your rights under the FDCPA.

      http://www.ftc.gov/os/statutes/fdcpa/fdcpact.shtm

      Delete
  42. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Help: Three credit posting on the same debt!
    I need help trying to get Equifax to delete a two collection account postings on an old car loan chargeoff in 2006 that was by Citifinancial. I tried to get them to take the car back, but neither party wants it. Meanwhile, I have 3 postings of the same chargeoff with different amounts, and I noticed Equifax & Experian reposted the debt again this YEAR, after I initiated my dispute. I am about to hire an agency or attorney who can delete these positings. What are my recourses in California? Thanks. Tracey

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. First of all, Equifax and Experian aren't to blame. None of the credit bureaus are. It's the creditor that is reporting the debt to the credit bureaus that controls what shows up on your credit report. The account should disappear from all three sometime this year anyway, since that's when the reporting period for the debt expires.

      It's normal for creditors to update a debt. Doing so ensures that the debt stays recent – causing it to damage your credit a lot more than an old debt that was simply left to age. Just because they updated the debt this year, that doesn't change the fact that the negative entry should still disappear from all three of your credit reports before the year is out.

      Delete
  44. Please help - After receiving a notice that I owe $7,500 for a past credit card debt from Midland Credit Management, I sent a DV letter to them within the 30 day period. They have now sent me a response letter, requesting that I provide them with any supporting documentation for my "dispute" in order to reach a quick resolution.

    I was going to send a response letter to them stating that I do not possess any documentation regarding the alleged debt, and to provide me with the debt validation as I have initially requested. Should I do this, or just wait? Thanks for your help!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, send your response. You are not required to provide documentation of any kind, nor do you possess any. That response from Midland means that they don't HAVE any documentation of your debt. Make sure you keep records and copies of everything in the event Midland decides they want to continue pursuing the debt illegally after not validating. I've gone to bat with Midland before. Don't send any extra info. You don't have to give them your SSN or even basic info like your middle name.

      Delete
  45. HI LEE, Collection agent sent a notice of due that I am not aware of to my old address(not sure if he really did, he claims to). I changed my address in usps. Even my credit reports show the change of address clearly. They didn’t contact me and reported as negative collection to all the credit bureaus. It was in February 2 2012 when they are claiming a notice is sent to my old address and they reported negative to credit bureaus on march 10. How can I fight back to bring my credit score back with no black marks. I paid the due the next business day I came to know that there is a due.

    ReplyDelete
  46. I just discovered there is a hold on my bank account. There is a judgment against me that I was never notified of from LVNV Funding. The address on the judgment is my place of residence 3 years ago. The hold on my account expires on May 14, 2013. I was never served papers from the court regarding this issue. Am I well past any recourse at this point?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That depends on when the judgment occurred and which state you're in. You didn't include that information so the best I can tell you is maybe. Maybe you're too late, maybe you're not. I'm sorry.

      Delete
  47. I recently was served was being sued bY a credit card company FOR A DEBT THAT IS ABOUT A YEAR OLD. I ANSWERED THE SUMMONS ASKING FOR VALIDATION OF DEBT. AN ATTORNEY CREDIT CARD COMPANY HERE IN OKLA. HAS THE ACCOUNT. IN THE ANSWER TO THE SUMMONS I ASKED FOR SIGNED CONTRACT,RECEIPTS,INTEREST,FEES AND HOW THEY ARRIVED AT THIS BALANCE OF 6500.00.
    WITHIN A FEW DAYS LATER I RECEIVED A LETTER FROM THE ATTORNEY GIVIN LAST FOUR DIGITS OF MY SS# AND LAST FOUR DIGITS OF THE ACCOUNT # AND WHO I OWED AND THAT THEY WERE SUING FOR CREDIT CARD COMPANY. SINCE I WAS WORKING WITH A COMPANY TO SETTLE MY DEBT, I GUESS THEY SENT A CEASE AND DESIST LETTER SO I NEVER FOR SOME REASON EVER GET ANY LETTERS FROM ANY COLLECTION AGENCYS TO EVER GET VALIDATION OF THE ACCOUNT?? i AM NOT SURE WHY I
    NEVER GOT ANY LETTERS BUT I DID GET SERVED WITH NO COURT DATE YET. COURT HOUSE SAID THEY WILL HAVE TO SERVE ME AGAIN OF THE COURT DATE IF THEY PURSUE. WHAT DO YOU SUGGEST i DO AT THIS POINT.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am not an attorney. Because of that, I can't give you legal advice to help you through your lawsuit. What I can do is to recommend that you hire an attorney asap. You don't mention which state you live in, but many states have legal aid groups that provide free or low-cost legal services for people in situations like your own.

      Even if you have to pay for the attorney, you may have grounds to countersue the collector for your legal fees if you can prove that the collector or its attorney violated federal law while attempting to collect from you.

      Something smells fishy here, however. I have never seen anyone receive a court summons that didn't contain a court date. It's possible that this document you believe was a court summons was, in fact, just another threat from the collection agency. The FDCPA prohibits collectors from sending fake documents to frighten debtors into paying, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't still happen. Some collection attorneys see debtors as garbage and believe that they are above the law because debtors aren't really human beings. Take a closer look at that supposed "summons" because something seems very off here to me.

      Delete
  48. Hello Lee, I hope you can help me. I received a notice from Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson, LLP (Attorneys at Law) stating that I owe $11,300 to their client Los Angeles County. I used to work for LA County and quit in 2008. They overpaid me for a couple of months and I personally let them know so that they could stop. I wanted to return all the extra money they'd paid me but they wanted all the gross amount. I disputed but my dispute went nowhere. Now I'm in collections with Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson, LLP . I sent a Letter requesting Debt Verification within 30 days. It has been 90 days and they haven't replied. Should I send them another DV letter? I'm scared, I read that these lawyers are tough to beat because they work collecting debt for the government, so they don't care about going to court. I'm not working but I've been told that if they win in court they can garnish my husband wages. I live in California. I read that the SOL for public employees is 3 years, do you know if this is true? It's been more than 3 years since I quit working for the LA county(I was a public employee) Also, this is an overpayment debt, is the law different with this type of debt?
    Please help.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your situation is complex. I turned your question and its answer into a blog post because I didn't want to put such a long response into the comments section. You can read it here:

      http://collectionagencydebt.blogspot.com/2013/04/salary-overpaid-sued-for-overpayment-by.html

      Delete
  49. Hi Lee - First let me thank those asking questions and you for your very practical feedback/replies. All great information and helps me navigate my own scenario. I know you are not a lawyer but seeking some perspective... Here is my timeline and next steps... what are your thoughts?

    Background – I have two separate debts both with MCM, Midland Funding LLC etc... (I know they are a JDB) each debt is with a different law office.

    1. I received a dunning letter well over a year ago, for both debts, did not send a debt validation letter and continued to receive the calls... just basically ignored them.
    2. This past November I was served. In reading online I had no intention of rolling over dead, I responded to the summons, drafted my answer, and appeared in court.
    3. As expected the attorneys for MCM did not show and the case was dismissed w/o prejudice... great! so we continue… Ugh I just want this to be over.
    4. I’m so over all this, it’s been three years since I went through a very rough patch, and just want to get on with life... I know SOL is another year away (I live in PA) but I just want to get on with things and need a quality credit score to do so. I reviewed my credit and found MCM reporting both accounts on my credit as collection/factoring company (I know the debt has been sold to them as the OC shows C/O and $0 balance).

    So now wanting to move on... my most recent steps...

    5. Last week I sent DV Letter CRRR to MCM and am now waiting. Plan to wait 30-45 days, if I hear nothing I plan to send another documenting I have the CRRR and demand they validate or intend to sue for failure to validate. Also may ask at that time that they delete from my credit file… can’t hurt to ask. Right?
    6. From this point thinking this could go two ways, first they request me to provide some documentation to them (I’m not that dumb) or second they don’t reply at all. Either way I will then head to the court house and file my paperwork and wait, best case, a: they contact me and agree to delete if I drop the case or b: they don’t show and the case is dismissed w/ prejudice in my favor... I then have what I need to get the record deleted from my credit report, right?
    7. Assuming they actually do show up I still have my affirmative defense complete from when I was sued last November. Standard defense, prove I owe it, show me the contract, statements etc. which must be notarized or present your witness... none of which I'm thinking MCM (or the attorney) will be able to do... hence why they didn’t show in the first place.

    Based on what is here do you think I am on-track? Suggestions?

    Thanks again to everyone, these forums are a powerful weapon against the bullying tactics of the JDB and bottom feeder attorneys!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I admire your perseverance. Most people let collection agencies walk all over them before they decide to get up off the ground and help themselves, by which time its usually too late.

      Unfortunately, I don't think you have grounds to sue for failure to validate. Don't get me wrong, you can request a validation at any time, but the collector is only legally obligated to validate for 30 days beyond the day you initially found out about the debt. In most cases, you could claim that you'd just recently discovered that you owe the debt. You, however, have already been to court about this debt, so there's a clear-cut record proving that you have had more than 30 days to validate. The last thing you want is to file suit against the company only to have your suit tossed out.

      If it were me, I'd wait to chase this bull until the SOL expired. If you're intent on doing it however, you may have better luck suing for the debt appearing on your credit report. The whole "I don't recognize this, why is it here?" question *could* give you the grounds you need for a lawsuit. If you know you owe it, however, this could result in you having to perjure yourself in court which is a huge no-no.

      If all you want is to get the collection accounts off your credit report, consider trying Kristy Welch's "Method of Verification" technique. Copy and paste the web address below into your browser to read more about it.

      http://www.creditinfocenter.com/repair/MethodOfVerification.shtml

      Delete
  50. Hi, thank you for all your replies to the other comments which have been very helpful. Hope you can recommend or help me. I was served with a summonsin January 2013 that I owe $30,000. I requested a DV. The CA told me that I forfeited my right to a DV because in their initial letter they had given a a 5 day grace to request it or else. I had never received such letter so I told them I totally ignore it and still requested a DV. Instead of sending a DV they sent me interragotories and ultimately went to court with them. They did say they were in the process of obtaining the DV from the original creditor but would take a while. Now,right after the court, they sent a final request for the interrogatories--I sent the same letter requesting DV but not certified this time. They waited for 40-45 days then sent me a cc where they are asking the court to file a judgment of default for failure to respond in 40-45 days after their final request of the interrogartories. Prior to going to court with them, I had sent that same request 3 times but certified with return receipt. What should I do at this point? I went ahead and resent them that same request certified this time but really don't know what to do. I do have a couurt date pending for next month. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Get an attorney. NOW.

      They claim they sent you a letter. You never received it. As soon as you found out about the debt and requested a DV, they were bound by the FDCPA to provide you with one. They know they are breaking the law. You see, some of these collection attorneys have grown so cocky that they flagrantly ignore the law. Don't worry too much about the cost of the attorney, since you'll be suing the creditor and/or collection lawyer for your legal fees.

      Seriously. Get legal counsel immediately and tell him what you just told me. Do it before you go to court. After reading this, I am literally kicking myself for not checking these comments while on vacation. I sincerely hope I'm not too late with this. Get a lawyer. Once you request a DV they cannot legally pursue a lawsuit. They've done that anyway. They owe you damages and legal fees. Please keep us posted on what happens.

      Delete
  51. Hey Lee, can I request debt validation after an account has already been settled? I settled an account completely unaware this would continue to hurt my credit score. I would have paid in full had I known I wasn't really fixing anything. I simply want to pay the remaining balance to have the mark removed but since I've settled I'm having trouble getting the collection agency to talk to me (I guess the remaining balance is not worth the time). I need a way to force communication with agency again. Is verification the way to go?

    great article btw

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Here's the problem: paying the account in full doesn't remove the collection from your credit report either. The collection will only be removed after the reporting period elapses (reporting period is 7 years and 180 days from the day you stopped paying the original creditor) or the collection agency agrees to remove the notation in exchange for payment. Paying them the difference on this settlement doesn't help your credit at all. Not one iota. There is absolutely no sense in throwing more money down the drain.

      You can technically request a debt validation after you pay a debt. Payment is not an admission of guilt. Because you paid, however, that means that you were aware of the debt and the 30-day validation period has elapsed. In other words, you can request it but there is a very strong chance they'll ignore your request. Even if you were within the 30-day period, the only restriction they face by ignoring your DV request is no further collection activity, which they don't need to do because you already paid the debt.

      You can always try disputing it with the credit bureaus to get it removed. Since its already been paid, there's always a chance that the collection agency won't verify and the credit bureaus will have to delete it.

      Delete
  52. hi lee:.....i was contacted by a debt collector about a them buying a debt from its original creditor ( u s bank).....which was charged*off in 2007 and it says so on my credit report....when the debt collector called she was fast talking and asked me did i understand what she said....i said yeah....but she was talking so fast i thought she said she was calling from recovery group (hospital debt collector)...then she said your balancevis $9,000.... do i want to make a payment and i said i can but not right now......then she started yelling......YOU STOLE MONEY FROM THE BANK..WHY DID YOU STEAL THE MONEY...NOW YOU DONT WANT TO PAY IT BACK......and i was just like YOU ARE NOT ABOUT TO GET ON MY NERVES......AND I HUNG UP......since 2007 i have moved several times....so if they send a validation letter....i probly wont get it...and im in cleveland ohio.....is this debt pass the SOL, as far as getting sued..or garnishment....????......was her yelling...and choice of words...a violation of the FDCPA.........When i called the number back on saturday is was closed...but the answering service said WRS.........im scared and DO NOT want to go to work..and get garnishment papers.......PLEASE TELL ME IF ITS PASS THE SOL....AND HOW CAN THEY CLAIM I OWE THEM....WHEN THE ORIGINAL DEBTOR...CHARGED IT OFF.................THANKS IN ADVANCE

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ok, for starters a charge-off is just an accounting term that allows creditors to remove bad debt from their books. A charge-off doesn't absolve your responsibility to pay. You still owe the debt, its just no longer on the original creditor's business ledger.

      You don't mention what type of debt this is. The general SOL in Ohio is 6 years (which would explain why the collector is getting so aggressive now). If you've moved several times however, any number of SOLs may apply. For example, if the SOL has already run in the state that you lived in when the debt was incurred and you moved after the SOL expired, it doesn't start fresh in your new state.

      As far as validation goes, if this is the first you've heard of the debt, you have every right to send a validation letter to the collector. You send it to them, not the other way around. They then have to prove you owe the debt before they can conduct further collection activity.

      You could argue that the FDCPA prohibits debt collectors from screaming at you, sure. I'd say that definitely constitutes threatening behavior which is against the law. It will be hard to prove, however. Your best bet is to calculate the exact SOL based on the debt's original default date and where you lived at the time. Once you're certain the SOL has expired, feel free to send the collector a cease and desist letter. They cannot contact you after that.

      Delete
  53. does anyone know how i can get FREE advice on knowing how to approach debt collector...after first contact......how to find out the SOL for my situation and charge off accounts.....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Elaborate and I'll do my best.

      Delete
  54. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  55. Ok, so I received a call a few weeks ago from a very nasty man at A&S collection. They said that I owe them 1200 for an old car. I do remember having the car, but I don't believe I still owe on it. the rep kept saying that I spoke with them several times since 2005. I do remember speaking with someone shortly after the car was taken back, And I told her I was having some personal issues and unable to make payments at that time. So that was when I was about 19. Now I'm 27 and it dawns on me that I should have never said I would make payments if I don't think I owe the money. The lady i spoke with said she's been sending Debt Validation letters to me since 2008. Not at all. I haven't received one at all. And I find it ridiculously funny that all the sudden I request a letter and It shows up a few days later. The letter came, but it was just some generic letter saying that I owed 1173.00 for an old buy here pay here. It doesn't explain how that amount was arrived upon. So they called me again today. I explained that they didn't send me what I asked for, she got upset and said that they don't have to send me anything, and the only way this will get resolved is by paying the debt over the phone. She said the amount due was for fees associated with not keeping the vehicle and that i signed paperwork that said they could charge me these fee's. I don't remember so i wanted to see the paperwork with my signature. She got upset and said that she wasn't sending it. She then proceeded to say that this is not my first repossession and that I need to use one of the many credit cards that i have on my credit report to pay for it. I don't have any repossessions or Credit cards. Never have had either. I told her I definitely wouldn't do that without having at least a copy of the original contract showing that the money she says i owe is due. What should I do??? I'm not necessarily saying that I don't owe "something" but the fact that she's shouting out incorrect info makes me question the validity of the company and the debt. What should I do!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unless you live in Rhode Island, the statute of limitations on that debt has already expired. Plus, its too old to even be on your credit report! Check your credit reports to make sure they aren't illegally reporting the debt and then send them a full cease and desist letter instructing them to never, ever contact you again! There is nothing, I repeat NOTHING these people can do now. If you pay them anything you'll restart the SOL and be in a world of hurt.

      Delete
  56. Hi Lee! I bought a used car some years ago. Ran into some financial issues and missed a payment or two towards the end. Talked to the finance company rep and they told me what the remaining balance was. I couldn't figure out why it was so high so I requested that they send me payment history and information as to why there was so much money owed. In the midst of that, I looked into refinancing with a credit union and they said they would do it, but saw that we had only one payment remaining on our original terms. So I went back to my finance company to see why I owed so much money with one payment left. They weren't interested in payment arrangements, settlement, or giving me the information so I stopped paying (i know, dumb). Well moving forward, they started repossession. They have been unable to obtain the vehicle. I recently received a collection letter from a lawyer representing the finance company stating to pay the money and that I will incur some fees and some interest everyday until I do. I sent them a validation letter. They responded with a verification statement. I responded saying no deal, I need validation. Within my letters I stated to cease repossession and collection activities until validation is given. It is now 30 days later, and I haven't received anything. I did receive a card in the mail (in an envelope) to contact a person urgently. just a name and phone number, no company information. Looked online and it is a repossession company. I don't know where to go from this point. I want to keep the car, pay my last payment, and stop looking over my shoulder for repo people. What should my next steps be? Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unfortunately, there is no standard for what actually constitutes validation. There is an idea circulating around the internet that verification of the debt's amount does not constitute validation. I would agree with that on a moral and common sense standpoint. But because there is no validation standard, a verification letter DOES meet the technical requirements for validation. In your case, this means the collection lawyer DID validate your debt.

      If you want to keep your car, you can either bite the bullet and pay the full balance the loan company is demanding or try to settle for less (but probably more than they wanted originally) provided the lender lets you keep the car. The last thing you want right now is for your lender to take you to court and get a court order requiring you to turn over the car and pay the full balance owed plus court costs.

      Delete
  57. hi Lee,

    I checked my credit a few weeks ago and saw a 450 dollar ca charge. turns out when I moved last year the company I was renting from charged me for repairs. I never got a letter from the rental company or the collection agency. I spoke with the rental company and they said the ca owns the debt (ncc is the name of the agency). My score dropped by 50 points. my question is what should my next step be to get this off of my cr. thank you in advance for your advice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unfortunately, you HAVE to go through the rental company. Sure, the CA owns the debt, but they still have the authority to recall it due to errors. Otherwise, there is absolutely no way the CA is going to delete that debt from your credit report. The only way to achieve that is to have the debt recalled by the original creditor. Speak to the owner if possible, point out that you would gladly have paid had you known about it, but the route they took by sending the debt to a CA rather than notifying you was just bad business. Best of luck and remember, online reviews count for a lot these days. If the rental company won't help you, I think its time to warn other customers of these abusive business practices, don't you?

      Delete
  58. Hi Lee,

    Thanks a lot for the wonderful post.Here is my situation.

    I was living in an aptment community and when I moved out, the clerk gave me the final settlement number (4 days rent and lease breakage charge of $800). I paid it off and moved on to other state. After a month, I got an email saying she made a clerical error and I had to pay for 26 days or so as I did not give 30 days notice and some utility charges. I called and asked that I can not even claim with my employer for the lease breakage and asked for more details. Then I did not hear anything and had a family emergency and left US and came back again after 3 months. Now when I am moving back to GA, I saw my credit report and I see there is a collection reported on my credit file for 850$. I called the aptment and asked about why I was not told. She said she had emailed but I dont have any. She gave me the number of collection aggency and when I called they are eager to take the money. I explained it was not my fault and it was clerical error. CA says they can only mention as Paid in full. I dont have plans for mortgage or any but I am not comfortable to have the collection on my credit history. Please suggest me what I can do.

    Thanks,
    Sekar

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sekar,
      I want to help you but I am a bit confused. You say you paid the $800 but then the company demanded another $850 on top of that? Was the clerical error that they made a demand at all and your account was legitimately paid in full or was it not charging you enough in the first place, causing you to owe the extra $850? Did you talk to the same person when you called? You said they emailed but you didn't have one, yet they emailed you the first time and you received the email. Did you lose your email account during that time period? If so, they probably sent the notice to a dead email address.

      I'm sorry for my confusion, but its very important to me to provide the best and most accurate information possible and in order to do that I sometimes have to clear up some of the details first. Thanks.

      Delete
  59. Lee,

    I discovered my debt thru my Credit Report. I sent CA a validation letter. They replied by saying could not locate my account. They asked me to provide my SSN. Should I continue to send them 2nd letter of validation and demand to remove collection item from my credit report? The SOL of this debt is both expired in GA and CO( where Im living now)

    Thanks,

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't give them your SSN. If it were me, I'd make a copy of my original DV letter and their response. Highlight the "unable to locate" section of their letter. I'd mail it back to them along with a new letter stating that if they were unable to locate this account that they must remove the debt from my credit report and cease all collection activity PROMPTLY. Don't you dare give them your SSN and help them validate your debt. Best of luck.

      Delete
    2. Lee,

      I sent them 2nd DV letter but I had not heard anything from CA without my SSN. Should you suggest me the next step? I also discovered that the CA are not registed to collect at my state?
      Thanks,

      Delete
    3. Being registered to collect in your state doesn't mean anything if your state doesn't require collectors to be licensed and many don't. Your next step is to pull your credit report and see if the CA removed the debt after getting your letter.

      Delete
    4. Lee,

      The CA sent me the bill from original creditor with my information in it. I already contact with original creditor. They had no information of my account. Should I settle with an aggreement to delete my negative item? Or I should wait because my SOL for this debt will be expired next month.
      Thanks,

      Delete
    5. If it were me and the collection agency agreed to delete its tradeline, I'd be more than willing to pay them whatever they asked. If they are offering a settlement AND a pay-for-delete, that's a pretty sweet deal. Sure, the SOL is expiring, but that doesn't make the collection agencies stop trying to collect. In my opinion, the pay for delete is a much better offer.

      Keep in mind that once you make the first payment on that settlement, you restart the SOL from scratch. So if you choose to accept the settlement deal, do your very best to pay in one lump sum.

      Delete
  60. Hi Lee, I have one question.
    I had a car repo'd in feb. 09 one year later the Bank (Fireside Bank) took me to court. After hiring an attorney they dropped the lawsuit. About one year later, they are no longer in business and suddenly I began to receive a few letters from a CA (Cavalry Portfolio) I asked for a lettr of validation and they sent me an invoice. So I sent them another letter saying I needed proof of validation along with a copy of the original contract with my signature. After 30 days they didn't send me anything. I attached copies of the receipts of registered mail along with a copy of the invoice they sent me and i sent that to the 3 credit bureaus. However, they all sent me letters saying that they had already validated this debt and therefore it would continue to remain on my credit report.
    What else can I do at this point. The CA does Not have proof that I owe this debt -I contacted them by phone and they offered a settlememt for much less because they don't have proof of validation ...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Copy and paste the link below into your web browser. It's the Method of Verification technique. Collection agencies often verify debts to the credit bureaus merely by stating "Yep, he owes it." The method of verification technique forces the credit bureaus to admit that they didn't follow proper protocol and, with luck, helps get rid of the entry. Technically, the CA DID validate your debt to you with the invoice. Sure, it doesn't prove anything, but the law only says they have to send you something. Sadly, it doesn't specify what.

      http://www.creditinfocenter.com/repair/MethodOfVerification.shtml

      Delete
  61. Hello,

    I had 3 Collection agencies show up on my Credit Report showing collection accounts. I sent certified mail to them asking them to validate the debt & never heard back from them in the 30 days. On day 31 I sent another certified letter, with copies of my original letter as well as my return receipt from my original letter demanding they remove the trade lines in accordance with the FDCPA. I also sent copies of everything to all 3 credit bureaus explaining these companies did not respond in 30 days, provided the letters, certified receipts, etc, telling them it was their duty to remove these trade lines as the 3 companies didn't comply with the FDCPA.
    Is that all correct? I gave the collection agencies until 8/06/13 to remove the trade lines or I'd take legal action.
    Does this all sound like I've taken the correct steps? Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your question required a more in-depth answer so I made it into a post. You can find the post by copying and pasting this web address into your browser:

      http://collectionagencydebt.blogspot.com/2013/08/ask-lee-debt-validation-time-limit-for.html

      Delete
  62. Hi I have several debts that are in collections ranging from 2008-2010. I would like to send a validation letter because I never received a letter or a phone call or anything from them saying they are trying to collect a debt. Can you give me a response on what I should do?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If it were me I would send the validation letter and let them know that they violated the FCRA by not contacting you and giving you the opportunity to validate. That lets them know that you know your rights and are still within your 30-day time limit because you were never notified of the debt.

      Delete
  63. I was wondering if you have had in dealings with Autovest, L.L.C.? Here is “my” dilemma:

    I got divorced and was raising 4 kids at the time without child support. I worked full time and was in school full time as well. I got behind on my car payments ……I tried to work out a payment plan with Wells Fargo on many different occasions. I talked with an Amy (who could probably recognize me by my voice) However they would not work with me…..
    *My car was repossessed on July 6, 2009 in Texas
    *Charged Off as of August 2009

    *Served Papers on June 22, 2013 stating it was filed on June 5, 2013
    They served me (actually my son who lives at my old address and who is not mentioned in the summons) with papers that I was being sued by Autovest, L.L.C. assignee of Wells Fargo bank, N.A. and that I could retain a lawyer if wanted and that I had 20 days to file a written answer or a default judgment may be taken against me.

    *Received a letter from their lawyer stating that I had recently been served and to contact him to discuss a possible settlement on June 29, 2013 (with June 25, 2013 on the letter head)

    *I sent my answer letter, general denial, on July 12, 2013 (within the 20 day allotted time frame)

    *Received the letter of the set court date for Status Conference on July 23, 2013

    *Appeared for court August 28, 2013
    The guy that showed up to represent the CA and or their lawyer did not have any knowledge about this case. In fact he stated to the Judge that he thought he was there to close the case because an answer had not been sent. I stated “No sir, a letter had been sent and I have documentation of that” the Judge also said no we have a copy of the letter as well. The Judge said that we could use a side room to talk about the case and see if we could come to some agreement. While talking to this gentlemen I realized very quickly he had no knowledge of anything pertaining to this case. He didn’t even know where the Lawyer that represented the CA was located. It was a useless waist of time. He did ask if I wanted to make some kind of payment arrangement. I told him no that I don’t believe I owe this money and that my account had been charged off by the original creditor. I stated if this CA could show me proof that I owe this debt I would be more than glad to talk. He stated that if I didn’t come to some agreement we would have to come back for a trial. I said ok I will see you then. He said if you do loose you wont go to debtors prison but your wages could be garnished. I kind of chuckled and stated….In Texas except for child support or taxes your wages can not be garnished. He just sat there then asked if I had been talking to a lawyer about how to handle this. I stated no but I do talk to a lot of people and if I need to retain a lawyer I can. He said ok then I guess we should go talk to the Judge again……

    *At that time the case was given 45 days (October 8, 2013) so that I could retain a lawyer and/or we settle out of court

    What should be my next step? Letter of validation is probably out of time compliance but should I get a lawyer?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. *Update....Well, I didn’t get a lawyer. I showed up for court and had a letter of validation ready. However, the prosecuting side didn’t have any representation show up. The Judge dismissed the case. I know if the JDB wishes to try to sue me again they can, but, I will be more prepared. It is well past the SOL now.

      Delete
  64. Dear Lee, I am hoping you can shed light on what I can do our should do now. I have been going through the runner for a debt that is not mine. There was a credit card opened in my name in 2001 at an address I never lived at. I was not made aware of the debt until it showed up on my credit report. I was contacted by the company and they informed me of the debt at that point in 2005 I believed it to had been a debt from overt drafting at a bank u was a member of so I asked why the amount was so high and asked different questions come to find out it was not the debt that I initially thought it was after that I began looking into the debt because the began to garnish my wages. I requested debt validation and also contacted the court to get all the info that I could add fat as dates and addresses. Turns out they sent notice to an address I had never heard of and were starting that I never contacted them in 30 days therefore the debt is valid now. I have sent them W-2's, my lease, and different letters from college and the state on the dates that they supposedly sent all these letters to show and prove that I never lived at the address that they have this acct opened at. They said the would review with their client the information and go from there. When I contacted them again in order to find out what was taking so long they told me that according to the courts the service was satisfied because I called back in 2005 questioning the debt and that judgement was served and it satisfied the court according to the court. I told them how could anything be satisfied if this is not my debt so they informed me that I have to call the court now and deal with them because they have right to pursue because everything was done right on their end, but the thing I'm not understanding is I just gave mite than enough evidence of this not being my debt and they still won't leave me alone and have me going to the court house to file a notice of objection to debt or something like that. I don't know whatto do I am at my wits end with these people please any advice or steps to take would be greatly appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
  65. I received a summons to appear in court on a debt. I filed a defense with the court and the lawyer denying everything in the suit. The day before I was to appear in court, I recieved a request for admissions in the mail. Clearly there wasn't enough time to respond buy mail so I filled out the request and took it to the court house on my court date. The attorney ended up filing a continuance. Now the lawyers claim I never filed a denial with their request of admissions and have requested a summary judgement. Does my initial defense and denial, not serve as the same thing the request would have done or am I screwed because I never answered the law offices request for admissions.

    ReplyDelete
  66. In Ohio.-- I received a letter for a debt I do not recall owing. In fact, I just wrote a check to them for something else (garnishment notice) I guess I owed and didn't know what it was for. They never say what the debt is for, but they are a legit collection agency. The collection agency states the following points scattered within the letter.
    --Balance: 824.32
    --Pursuant to Federal Law (PL. 95-109 Subsection 803 (2) United States Code 169A (2), this letter represents our final demand for a voluntary payment.
    --We have kept records of all our contact with you in the efforts to collect this debt.
    --If this debt is not taken care of, your creditor may pursue legal action, as permitted by law.

    WHAT CAN I DO AND WHAT IF IT IS LEGIT? debt validation? they say they have been communicating but it showed up out of nowhere. I did receive a call last week but they did not say anything but their personal name. no mention of the agency.

    ReplyDelete
  67. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  68. hello Lee,

    I've been trying to improve my credit score for the past year and a half with no luck. I have gone with two different credit repair agencies who have done nothing but dispute what I have in collections. I quit going to them and want to try myself but is it to late? have I already proved to the collection agencies that I acknowledge the debt therefore it is to late to request Debt Validation since these were disputed febuary 2013. I don't know where to start, I have convergent outsourcing Inc reporting twice on one bureau (not sure if this is legal in my state of texas) the same account# and balance of $914 and enhanced recovery is also reporting the same balance of $914 but with a different account number, I don't know if its the same account as convergent, another is Pinnacle Financial Group with a balance of $339, and the last is LVNV Funding with an outstanding balance of $2128 but then it says original balance $1058, completely confused, which is the correct amount owed? I was considering starting from step one of Debt Validation but I think its to late and im also considering contacting all collection agencies and try to settle for deletion (last resort) since I was successful in doing that with RJM Acquisitions LLC and they did as promised since they sent it in writing. I was seeing that all collections except the convergent outsourcing say account information disputed by consumer. what should I do????I stopped receiving collection letters since August that's when I stopped going to the credit repair company. Did I do a big mistake by going with a credit repair agency?

    thanks,
    Carlos@TEXAS

    ReplyDelete
  69. Hi Lee
    I was just reading over your blog and have a question, I have been disputing an item on my credit report with the collection agency for a few months now. I have sent several validation letters and also proof of my address at the time they are claiming the debt occurred, each time the collection agency sends me bills from the service address. I sent a validation letter to the original creditor and the never responded so I attempted to contact them by phone and they told me they don't accept any mail from consumers and if I wanted validation of the debt I would need to fax the letter over to them which I did and again no response. A couple of days ago I received a letter from the collection agency stating they wanted to settle the debt for 80% of the balance. What should I do at this point?

    ReplyDelete
  70. Hi Lee,
    I am hoping you can help me out. I just received a letter from CA ( called RAB, you know anything about them?) which stated that I owe their client for over $12K. My husband's car was repo'd half year ago and i was a co-signer. He's in the process of filing BK and I hope it wont come to that in my case. I wasn't aware that by voluntarily surrendering the car i could be hit with a huge debt. I now realize it was a big mistake. Back to the issue, now i am assuming this CA is after the def. balance. Nevertheless, I am drafting a letter requesting the DV to the CA so I can be clear what the debt is for. How long should I expect them to reply to the DV? I read some say within 30 days and some say indefinite. And is it better to send an aggressive DV letter with detailed bullet-points or keep it simple and straightforward? as I've seen different samples and opinions about it.
    If the CA responds to the DV with valid proofs, I intend to settle with lesser amount that I can afford. I was considering to hire a lawyer but then I read in an article that if the disputed amount is not over $25K it is better trying to solve the issue personally rather than spending money for lawyer since the legal fee wont be cheap either. What is your opinion? Do you know of this CA or have heard of them? I am considering my options on how to settle this. I am afraid that by handling this myself, I might make it worse. Please help. I appreciate any advice you can give me and thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  71. Hi Lee,
    I was wondering if there was any way to dispute a debt that you've already been making payments on..
    I recently got married and my wife, not knowing her rights has been making payments on a debt for over 2 years now.. I believe the initial amount was around $8000 and she made a few payments in the beginning but has been steadily paying them $25 a month for aprox 18 months. these payments are paid automatically out of what is now our checking account. She became annoyed at them for not providing her with a statement of how much she has paid so.. she stopped paying them.. now of course the phone calls from them begin. they have called her ex-husband and threatened to garnish his wages ( I know they can't but without a recorded phone call I can’t prove it ) so he is pressuring her to continue paying. the thing is now they are saying that her debt is over $10,000. She doesn't have the origional contract so we aren't sure it had the stipulation on it about interest or collection fees. ( it was a car that was repo"d) Can we do anything about this? can we dispute it now and make them provide all the pertinent details and if they can't can we get them to drop it? Are we screwed because she has "acknowledged" the debt by making payments? she never received any certified letters from them initially.. and if they do decide to sue (they are in Oregon we are in Washington state) do they have to do it here in WA and would they then have to prove that it’s a valid debt?
    The Agency is fidelity collection agency if that helps any..
    any help would be greatly appreciated as we don't want to pay $25 in perpetuity

    ReplyDelete
  72. Hi, I was wondering if anyone could give me some advice on how to handle this:

    I received a debt collection letter about 15 days ago and immediately prepared and sent a debt verification letter via certified mail to the debt collector. a fed days ago i got a reply back saying that I did not request the debt validation within the allotted 30 day period. It has not even been 30 days yet since i received the original debt collection letter. What I need to know is what is my next move? any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance! ~ JC~

    ReplyDelete
  73. the information on this site is just incredible it keeps me coming back time and time again ,personally i met my wife using this site so i couldnt love it any more i have done my best to promote this site as i feel that others need to see this thang ,thankyou for all the time spent in making this fabulous site ! ok,nice one Billy

    ReplyDelete
  74. HI LEE,

    I HAVE A FEW QUESTION I RECEIVED A NOTICE OF CLAIM PLAINTIFF IS MIDLAND FUNDING LLC AS SUCCESSOR IN INTEREST OT DELL FINANCIAL SERV LLC AS ASSIGNEE OF WEBBANK. THEY HAVE A CLAIM AGAINST TO COLLECT A OLD DEBT. I CALLED THE COURT TO SEE IF I NEED TO MAIL ANYTHING BACK TO DISPUTE IT OR COUNTER CLAIM FOR HARRASSMENT AND THEY SAID I WOULD JUST SHOW UP TO COURT AND DISPUTE IT IN FRONT OF THE JUDGE. I KEEP READING ABOUT PEOPLE SENDING LETTERS TO DISPUTE. WHAT SHOULD I DO

    ReplyDelete
  75. I HAVE ALSO BEEN PAYING ANOTHER AGENCY FOR A OLD DEBT BECAUSE I DIDNT KNOW I COULD FIGHT IT AND I DIDNT RELIZE THAT I DIDNT ACTUAL OWE THEM BECAUSE THEY SAID THEY WERE COLLECTION FOR THE COMPANY. CAN I FILE A CLAIM IN COURT TO HAVE THIS STOPPED?

    ReplyDelete
  76. Hi Lee,
    I had a question, as most of the people here i received a letter in 2011 from a company called MCM claiming i owed a debt of $410.02 for an account with Verizon.I had never had a Verizon account so I called the number and said i had received a letter and thought there records where wrong,the representative asked for my info so i gave it to him he said i wasn't on file and he couldn't help me because there was no account with my name or social security number. i let it go confident the matter had been resolved since it wasn't me. I heard nothing from them for a while until on June 25,2013 got a letter from a different company (debt collector ) stating the same thing from 2011 this company was Diversified consultants. I called the number gave them my info and magically my social security number and name where on file so i wrote a dispute letter with in 3 days explaining i wanted validation since Ive never had an account with Verizon before, they asked me if i was a victim of identify thief and i said no. after I actually called Verizon and asked about an old account with my name on it Verizon had no record of me ever being a customer. ( until this day) the representative even informed me that if i had an account with them in collection at the time of trying to establish my current account they would have explained to me since I most likely had to pay a fee for having a bad past with the company.I logged in to pull up my credit report and on my credit report Midland credit management comes up (MCM) not diversified consultants (this was the first creditor i spoke to who told me they could not find me in there system), under the report it says "account in dispute under fair credit billing Act. we are in 2014 and I'm still getting letters from MCM wanting to collect for an account i never had and today 2/13/14 i looked up my report again and it shows up as and open account placed on collection 10/07/11 and updated 1/16/2014 i have not received a phone call from them other then the letters they have sent (but who is to say Ive even received those since its just posted threw regular mail and not certified mail), i have already requested an investigation with my credit report agency disputing this is the first i hear of this debt and request validation i received an email saying they will look into it, im a little scared now and worried because all this time it was on my credit report and i was thinking "well its not me there's nothing they can do about it" should i be worried? can i relax? I don't want to piss the collection agency off but there trying to make me pay for an account i never had for an address Ive never lived in.can i continue to pretend i have no idea what there talking about and until today had not hear anything from MCM since originally the dispute letter was sent to diversify consultants or should i address the matter? which the matter i believe was already addressed since on the credit report it shows up im disputing it?? so confused what to do?? can i get sued or taken to court for this?
    thank you for yr time and responce

    ReplyDelete
  77. Hello Lee,
    Thank you so much for all your great responses. I have a couple of questions - I have been trying to repair my credit and recently got my credit report - I live in California. A couple of accounts show that I owe money but they are not my accounts. So I called the CA and asked them to validate the collection and they told me they are not a billing company and that I should go to file a police report for fraud - this man was very nasty - so should I send out a validation letter - certified?
    Thanks again for your responses- also do you have a good letter to send out to validate to the CA?

    ReplyDelete
  78. Hi Lee,
    How do you actually prove an SOL? Does an attorney have to go through your cheque register and verify that you never made another payment since the last cheque to the CC company?

    ReplyDelete
  79. Hello Lee,
    There is a "choice of law"clause in some CCs contracts whereby the SOL is only 3 years in Delaware (for Chase Bank e.g.) but you might be living in California where the SOL is 4 years. How successful have law suits been where this defense has been used? Is it worth me trying this?
    LAHs

    ReplyDelete
  80. Hi Lee,It is wonderful that you are providing people with awesome information in these rough times! Can I send debt validation letter if I talked on the phone with DC...and I THINK I admitted to debt. Its been a while now and I haven't signed for any letters so I know they didn't verify. THANKS LEE!!

    ReplyDelete
  81. Hello I am in desperate need of help I have a few debts and emails from debters as I am currently between houses/homeless. I have emailed them and asked for proof of any contract or any debt if they can prove the debt I will happily pay so much a month to sort these issues out so far a few of them have failed to email me back 3 months after last email I got was January I emailed and no reply I have emailed them again its may now no reply.
    I live in England ...
    Could use help - taylor.stewart@hotmail.co.uk is my main email please email me as well as post here as I don't always get on these sites. and don't want to miss the reply.

    ReplyDelete
  82. Here is My question .... I received a collection letter from Midland Credit Management LLC on May 22nd 2014 the letter was dated April 30, 2014. I checked the address on the letter they sent and it is correctly addressed to me. They stated I had 30 days to dispute this debt with them.

    So May 23rd with letter in hand I went to the Post Office and sent the letter priority mail tracking so I know what date they receive the letter.

    Midland Credit is known for suing in the state of Virginia. What recourse do I have if they state they never received the letter other than I have printed proof that it was delivered, a copy of the letter and their letter showing April 30th with a delivery of May 22.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you have your CRRR, you'll get your signed returned card. That's your proof. Also, check the postage date on the front of the envelope. That should give you the proof that the letter was written about a month before it was mailed. I'd also go get myself a nice little notarized statement to that effect.

      Delete
  83. We bought our home "For Sale by Owner" . The couple who holds the mortgage is my neighbor. We went through a real estate attorney so both of our names are on the loan and with the appraisal district. We've been here for 4 years. I usually put the mortgage check under their door mat. I was not able to make the May payment and I wrote her a note asking her to use escrow money to pay the note and I'd make payment later in the month (she holds the escrow and pays the taxes and insurance). She mailed me a letter saying that if I didn't pay by the 25th she'd refer me to a lawyer. I put the May payment under her mat and on the 29th I got a certified letter from a lawyer saying I owe April's payment, May's payment and June's is due on the 5th, plus his $200 fee.
    I plan on sending him a copy of the cashed April check and let him know that they have my May check. Do I still have to pay the lawyer his $200 fee?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What you are and are not responsible for should be spelled out in the original mortgage contract. Go back and look at your mortgage contract to determine what your neighbor has the right to do in the event you miss a payment.

      Delete
  84. Does a collection agency require HIPPA release form to validate a medical debt? I recently pulled my credit report and found that I had 6 western dental accounts in collections (2 different collection agencies ). I sent a certified letter requiring signatures and return receipt to the agencies asking to validate the accounts. One of the collection agencies sent me a form to sign my name, date of birth and social.
    The form states that once they receive the signed form they can validate the debt, allowing them access to my medical records. The letter was sent by Regular mail.
    The form also states that the medical provider to whom this authorization is furnished may not condition it's treatment of me on whether or not I signed the authorization.
    Western dental said that I am in collections with 2 accounts. But my credit report shows 6 different accounts that I had no idea about.
    I called the medical office and they connected me to corporate. Corporate then transfers my call, then I'm put on hold until I finally hang up.
    Please leave any advice if you're familiar with this type of situation.
    The agency that sent the letter is HP sears in CA. The other company has not yet responded and their name is not listed on my credit report. But I believe it's western dental's corporate office. 530 S main st orange CA.
    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do I have your permission to make this comment a Q&A post? I'd rather do that than put a lengthy answer in the comments section and that gives me more leeway to properly answer your question.

      Delete
    2. Sure, thanks for your help!

      Delete
    3. i have old debt that i paid and then many years later some collection agency pops up trying to collect huge amount of money I already paid and no one has records. I demanded that they validate the accounting records and they sold the debt to some other collection agency. Unfortunately, I have been on vacation and did not get to my mail until after the 30 days from new collection agency expired but I just discovered it yesterday.

      1. If there is a SOL did being past new 30 days since debt changed hands restart SOL
      2. Can they refuse to validate if past 30 days even though I just discovered it back from vacation?

      thanks

      Delete
    4. If you demand validation, the collection agency cannot conduct any collection activity (other than credit reporting) without first providing you with said validation. Selling your debt to another collection agency counts as collection activity. Thus, the first collector violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act by selling your debt. So if they're still showing up on your credit report, you may want to consider filing a lawsuit for the violation. It's likely that the collection agency would rather drop its tradeline from your credit report rather than duke it out in court over a very clear FDCPA violation.

      Now,....on to your questions:

      1. No. Selling a debt does not restart the SOL. Nothing restarts an SOL except making a payment or agreeing in writing to make a payment, depending on your state's laws.

      2. That 30-day period begins with the initial contact. The initial contact occurs by phone or by mail. The collection agency must notify you of the debt and notify you that you have 30 days to dispute the debt. If you never received this contact then you're well within your rights to request validation.

      If it were me, I think I'd be digging through cancelled checks and bank records for proof of my payment to the original creditor. This is an excellent argument for why everyone should demand zero balance statements when paying off any debt.

      Delete
  85. I reviewed my credit report several days ago after being denied credit for a personal loan. I was surprise to see two judgement, one from MCM and the other NCO, for 2010 and filed one month apart. I had no idea that I had collection account let alone judgements. It has been 4 years now since the judgement and I am just finding out about it. I have lived outside the U.S.A. since 2006, however, I have a reliable forwarding address that has been listed on my account since 2009 per the credit report. However, nothing was ever sent to that address. I questioned this fact with the two agencies and am waiting a reply and I also included the standard dispute questions and a request for validations (original debt, judgement, service, etc.) However, I see your reply in a separate response that the judgement is a game changer. I am exploring trying to get the judgement vacated or to challenge it at renew but that is not until 2017 (if attempted). I was sued in California. I have never domiciled in California, I was stationed there in the military and my exwife lived there after we separated pending divorce. However, I was never in the state other than for military duties. I also notice that I have tax liens most satisfied, one not going back to 2006. Under the law I am not allowed to be entered into the tax system as I was there temporarily for military assignment and not at all after from the near the end of 2006 onward till now. I had a similar issue with the IRS which had billed me from 2006 and started debits. I proved that I did not owe them but they owed me and that was fixed. Could this be why they think I lived in California due to my exwife presence and the state some how finding a way to tax me despite the law. I sent these facts in my dispute and asked for the (original debt validation, copy of judgement and terms, copy of service, etc.). Is there anything else. I know some of this may be outside your area but I wanted to provide a near complete picture.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It sounds to me like your main problem may be the fact that California is a community property state. If your ex-wife was living in California during the time that you were married (or shared accounts) that makes you liable for any debt that she incurs and subsequently does not pay. So, even though you aren't required to pay taxes, if she is required to pay and does not, you could end up with her tax lien on your credit report. The same is true for judgments.

      Debt validation is going to do you no good at this point. A collection agency can easily validate your debt simply by sending you evidence of the judgment. When a court rules your debt valid, your only method of disputing that validity is by going back through the courts.

      Now, there are time limits for vacating California judgments. If you wait until renewal, you won't be able to do anything because the amount of time you have to defend yourself will have expired. Please copy and paste the URL below into your browser to get more information about the time limits you are subject true. Even though you did not and do not live in California, the judgment is a California judgment and these parameters will apply.

      http://www.courts.ca.gov/12726.htm

      Delete
    2. I wanted to update. I always hated when people didn't update. I proceeded as I said and sent them via their website dispute sections and registered mail. I also checked my court file and found numerous entries for property deeds, conveyance, assignments of rents, etc. clearly I have been mistakenly identified or a victim of identity theft since 2003. How could I have not known? None of this is on my credit report expect some state liens 3 paid and one not from 2008 onward and these two judgements as well as my revolving line of credit at the bank and a paid auto loan from 2009 both in good standing. I pay my bills Mr Anonymous. Anyway, since I challenged the two judgements they have since been removed from my court file online. Why would this be? A record search comes up no records found. I am not an expert but I have study California law extensively lately and do believe my finances are separate from my ex wife for several reasons: one we were separated and filed separate taxes returns- federal and state she California and me my state- by law California couldn't tax my income, I left the state and all ties with the state to never return- residency stopped by law at that point, I was in the military part of the time and domiciled in my home state and therefore not subject to California taxes (Federal Law Military Civil Relief Act or something like that) and it is also spelled out on the first pages of California Tax Booklet and lastly service for someone who is not in California is spelled out as well they can use registered mail. I know they knew my current mailing address as they and skip tracers pulled my credit report. I have to find all my facts, I believe a judgement can be challenged at renewal as well as requesting relief is not the same as a motion to vacate. Relief can be done after the other SOL have expired if I remember correctly the law. I have a number of links here that I would share and similar case of court deciding in case just like mine where there was a plaintiff who was separated from his wife with no contact the court decided that service of anyone at his former address was improper service. I can post a number of links for others can decide if they are useful if allowed. You guys can evaluate them and tell me if I am FOS or not. Thanks for the help.

      Delete
    3. Lee,
      I have that link already thanks here is a little tidbit for California judgement renewals that I was talking about.

      683.160. (a) The judgment creditor shall serve a notice of renewal
      of the judgment on the judgment debtor. Service shall be made
      personally or by first-class mail and proof of service shall be filed
      with the court clerk. The notice shall be in a form prescribed by
      the Judicial Council and shall inform the judgment debtor that the
      judgment debtor has 30 days within which to make a motion to vacate or modify the renewal.
      (b) Until proof of service is filed pursuant to subdivision (a),
      no writ may be issued, nor may any enforcement proceedings be
      commenced to enforce the judgment, except to the extent that the judgment would be enforceable had it not been renewed

      Delete
    4. Lee,
      Sorry my last reply unless someone cares for more of what my research found. This is from California court website (in fact the same one you gave me a link for)

      Deadline to ask the court to vacate the default judgment

      You must file a motion (petition) NO LATER THAN 30 DAYS from the date the court clerk mailed you the Notice of Entry of Judgment (Form SC-130 or Form SC-200).

      If you were NOT PROPERLY SERVED with the Plaintiff's Claim (Form SC-100), you have 180 DAYS from the date you DISCOVERED there was a judgment against you to file a motion to vacate.

      Notice the operative word DISCOVERD not filed or judged but discovered.

      Delete
    5. I somehow missed this comment originally. This strict time limit is why I posted the above URL for you to look into. Even if you qualify for the 180-day judgement reversal period, that's still a heck of a lot shorter than the renewal period. It's good that you're doing what needs to be done before your ability to do so disappears. Most people sit on it until garnishment begins and only then decide to take action. Of course, by then its usually too late.

      I strongly suspect that some collection agencies opt not to file any motions to forcibly collect the debt until the judgment reversal period has passed. I have no proof of this, however. It's just a suspicion...

      Delete
  86. Pay your bills. its easier

    ReplyDelete
  87. Update: Said before judgement are off court records (online). However, the ABST Judgement for NCO/creditor from 2011 remains. There is no longer a correspondence judgement in the file so it is invalid now? However, I want to get it removed because I feel like it is a ticking time-bomb in my records. Is this a correct assumption? Can it eventually appear on my credit report? Second, one state tax lien verified as been scheduled for removal, one active lien left to disprove. Two liens settled previously but not mine falls under same proof as the one removed however, they continually ignore my requests for a new status or update despite the fact that I have proven that the liens were erroneous filed and collected.

    ReplyDelete
  88. I'm a bit confused, so humor me. Is the ABST judgment one that you got removed but is still appearing on your credit report yet does not appear in your county's public records database?

    Keep in mind that although you can keep your finances as separate as you wish from your spouse, that doesn't change the fact that, in California, you are still legally liable for any debts she incurs during the marriage. That's just the law.

    If the remaining debts/judgments did not stem from her and were a result of identity theft, you would probably get more mileage out of filing an identity theft report and having the negative entries removed that way. Thank you for updating since so few people do.

    ReplyDelete
  89. Hi Lee!

    I just got a DC notice.
    It says The law limits how long you can be sued for a debt. Because of the age of the debt we will not sue you, and CACH, LLC will not report it to any credit agency. Then unless you notify by 30 days we assume its valid. And that I can request Validation and so on and so forth.

    Now I was away on a job for a couple months and the date was June 14. I just noticed it today. Should I respond to this or ignore it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If it were me, I'd just send them a cease and desist order. After all, there is nothing they can legally due to you but send you annoying letters and call you on the phone. They've stated themselves that they no longer have the right to sue you or report the debt on your credit report. I'd shut them up for good with a C&D and then forget they ever existed. You can send a validation request if you wish, but there's really no point in validating since they can't touch you or your credit.

      Delete
  90. Hi lee, I was checking my credit score and noticed a collection months ago, knowing its been passed the collection time. About 8 years or so with windstream/ which att bought out. Its with LVNV funding.I did unfortunally not respond to the collection letter telling me about the bebt, but disputed online, but its been several months ago. They came back and said it its still collectible and would have fallen off by now. Another colletion agency had the same bebtBut asset acceptance was trying to collect and I got a letter and and disputed and said were sorry we will take this off your credit and stop collections. I am really wanting to get this off my credit, I just ignore the calls they make and letters. can I still do a request for validation being I know its uncollectible and do you think I will get anything for the request. Living in Florida and trying to rebuild my credit, but when collections are there and they change the date making it appear current its hard. Any help you can give me is appreciated. not sure what I should do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Federal law prohibits collection agencies from reporting collection accounts on your credit report for longer than 7 years. If you send the collection agency a letter asking for the name of the original creditor, they have to give it to you. Don't couch this in a debt validation because they are no longer obligated to respond or acknowledge any validation requests from you.

      Once you have the creditor's name, Send another letter to the collector via certified mail, return receipt requested, and notify them that the account they are reporting to the credit bureaus has exceeded the legal credit reporting period and must be immediately removed. If it were me, I'd inform them that if they do not comply with the credit reporting guidelines set by the FCRA, I'd take legal action against them.

      Oh, and once that's done, send them a Cease and Desist letter demanding that they cease all communication with you. If they fail to comply, they're violating federal laws under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and you can sue them again, if you so choose.

      The most important thing I can tell you here is that you HAVE to take action. They have already demonstrated their intention to leave that collection on your credit report indefinitely. If you ignore most collections, they do eventually fall off your credit report and go away. That's not going to happen here.

      Delete
  91. I got a question Lee. I got a summon letter from CA from RODENBURG LAW FIRM that came from Bismarck, North Dakota, but the plaintiff is PORTFOLIO RECOVERY ASSOCIATES , LLC.saying that i am being sue but they have not yet file in court yet or have a case number. I have received this letter by a person early moring of july 2014, but i have not yet respond an answer back to them yet. And it been about a little over a month now. Whats should i do. Can i still send them a certified letter for my validation or what is the best way for me to do this law suit

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Usually when you receive a summons, its too late to send a debt validation letter unless you had no previous knowledge of the debt. This is the time when you need to be reviewing your debt and coming up with a defense. The best defense, if you can use it, is that the statute of limitations has expired.

      Whatever you decide to do, you must respond to the summons with an intent to appear in court and defend yourself. The vast majority of consumers ignore a pending lawsuit. This allows the collector to win by default. If the collector knows that it doesn't have the information necessary to prove its case if you actually show up to contest it, it will drop the lawsuit.

      If the response period for your summons has already passed, you may want to seek out a consumer law attorney in your area that can help you.

      Delete
  92. Hello Lee, I live in Pennsylvania. I recently discovered 3 derogatory marks on my credit that I do not believe belong there. I sent my Debt Validation letters certified mail to the CA and have received the signed receipts. It hasn't been 30 days yet and I'm wondering what my next step would be if they do not respond. The debt isn't for very much, less than $500 and it was last reported back in 2012. Should I contact a lawyer if they do not respond to my validation letter? I never received an initial communication from this CA, the only reason I know about it is from my credit report. Do I have a case? Is it worth my time to pursue? Also if they end up responding and validating the debt, do you believe a Pay-For-Delete letter will be a good idea?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you never received any communication from the debt collector at all then your 30 days never timed out. This means that the collector has no grounds under which to not respond to your validation letters.

      If the collection agency opts not to respond, it cannot continue any collection activity whatsoever (except credit reporting, unfortunately). Now, here's where you may get them on a violation. Technically, the 30-day validation period has not passed because you were never notified of the debt. Your 30 days started when you spotted the debt on your credit report.

      I do not think that a pay-for-delete would work with a debt that small, but I've said that before and been dead wrong. It's always worth a shot.

      I tell most people to do their homework before choosing an attorney. You'd be shocked at the number of attorneys who simply aren't familiar enough with debt collection law to adequately defend you. You, however, are in luck. You live in Pennsylvania. If you're anywhere even remotely close to Greg Artim, CALL HIM. He's one of the good ones and he knows his stuff.

      http://www.gregartim.com/

      Delete
  93. Hi Lee

    First off, thank you for keeping this site updated and answering so many questions. I live in California and received a "Substitution of Attorney - Civil" notice in February. I sent a letter to the attorney via certified mail within 30 days of receiving that notice (and I kept my proof that I sent it and they received it). Within that letter I asked them for information on the debt (amount owed, date of original debt, original creditor) along with verification that I am the correct debtor. I have yet to hear back. I did pull up my credit report and noticed a debt from 2008 (last payment made Feb 2008 - charged off several months later). This was for a non-revolving debt. I think this may be the reason I received the letter. So my question is, does it even matter that they haven't responded at this point? Isn't the debt set to come off my credit report early next year? What are some steps you recommend I take next?

    Thank you!
    CaliforniaNative

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. CaliforniaNative,

      You're absolutely right about the debt being set to come off next year. Remember, the credit reporting period doesn't start for 180 days, so the latest the debt will fall off is August 2014. The statute of limitations in California is four years for all debt types (unless this debt was created using a verbal agreement), so unless you've made a payment, the debt is now time-barred and the creditor cannot sue.

      It doesn't really matter that they haven't responded since they no longer have the ability to force you to pay the debt anyway. Unless, of course, you want to try and have the item removed from your credit report early. Failure to respond often indicates that a collector lacks the information the consumer requests. If they can't validate the debt to you, they may also fail to validate the debt to the credit bureaus--and if they don't do so within 30 days, the credit bureaus have no choice but to remove the item from your credit report.

      Best of Luck,
      Lee

      Delete