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: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.
- 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
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.