Fighting Collection Agencies. Use The FCRA to validate your debt and protect your credit rating
If you receive a letter from a collection agency or even an attorney regarding a credit card debt, medical debt, personal loan debt, or debt of any kind don't pay it until you know for sure that it is valid. Thousands of people across the United States mistakenly believe that if they receive a collections letter they are required to pay, even if the letter has been sent in error. Many people choose to send a payment because they fear their credit will be damaged if they don't. The reality of the situation is you are not required to pay anything until you know for sure that you acquired the debt and it is legally yours.
Collection agencies make their money by purchasing packages of debts from credit agencies for pennies on the dollar then bullying unwary consumers into paying the entire amount due either in a lump sum payment or via monthly payment. Some agencies will offer to settle the debt with you for an amount that is less than full value, but don't be fooled they are still making a hefty profit. If you find yourself in this situation don't despair, there is help available to you but you must be PROACTIVE. Don't ignore collection letters because they simply won't go away. Exercise your rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act and make the collection agencies validate the debt!!
The Fair Credit Reporting Act
The Fair Credit Reporting Act is designed to protect consumers against unscrupulous credit agencies by requiring them to validate a debt at the consumers request. The credit agencies are charged with providing information regarding the original creditor, proof that they are actually entitled to collect the debt, the amount of the debt and any fees that have been added, proof that they are registered in your home state as being able to collect the debt, and much, much more.
The Act also provides you with a 30 day period to request the information from the collection agency before they can begin official collection procedures. It is your job during your thirty day period to send a validation letter to the collection agency. Don't know what to put in your letter? Don't worry, I have a copy of one that you can use. Simply put in all of your relevant information and send it to the collection agency.
Debt Validation Letter
Collection Agency Name
Re: Acct Ref.
To Whom It May Concern:
This letter is being sent in response to your recent letter dated ( ) where you are attempting to collect a debt for ( ). As is my right under federal law I am disputing this debt and demanding that you validate it by providing the following information to me:
· The names and address of the original creditor and each subsequent creditor for this account as well as copy of any original loan agreement or credit application that I signed which establishes any debt with the original creditor
· A detailed explanation as to what you say the money I owe is for.
· A complete payment history starting with the original creditor as wells as the amount of debt the creditor has assigned to your company.
· A complete accounting of all fees and interest that have been added to this debt and how you determined such amounts per the requirement established in Fields v. Wilber Law Firm, - 383 F.3d 562.
· Verification of any applicable judgment.
· Proof that the statute of limitations has not expired on this account.
· Proof that you are licensed to collect a debt in the state of .
· Proof that your company owns or has been assigned this debt.
· A copy of your license number and registering agent.
At this time be informed that if you or your office has reported any information regarding this account that has not been properly validated to any of the 3 major credit bureaus your actions constitute fraud under both federal and state laws and I will not hesitate to bring suit against you for violation of The Fair Credit Reporting Act, violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and defamation of character.
I require a minimum of 30 days from my receipt of your reply to examine, investigate, and research any information that you provide to me. During that 30 day period all collection activities regarding this account must cease and desist.
If your office fails to respond to this letter in 30 days this account will be considered invalidated and all references to this account must be deleted from my credit reports and a copy of the deletions must be sent to me in writing.
Your company is not to contact me via telephone or internet at my home or my place of employment for any matter including referencing this account. Refusal to follow this requirement will result in a fine of no less than $100 per violation. This includes all second party and computer generated calls.
All correspondence by your company must be done in written form via the United States Postal Service.
Be advised that your records on this account must be in order, and you must follow all applicable debt collection and validation guidelines regarding this matter because I will not hesitate to exercise any and of all my legal rights under all relevant Federal and State laws.
If you need more information I have included some helpful links below. Good luck and remember BE PROACTIVE!!