There seems to be several misconceptions about verification and validation of debts when dealing with a FDCPA and FCRA.
When you ask for verification of a debt, a couple of statements and a quick look on a debt collectors computer screen will probably do. It is common to get a few account statements from a debt collector as proof or verification of an account.
The only way this verification is sufficient is if you agree that it is sufficient. Remember that your account has to be accurate to the cent. Does the last few months of a billing statement prove the balances are correct? No, only the complete accounting ledger for the account does. Do these statements prove the terms and conditions that you accepted the credit card under? Again, no.
In the years I have been fighting credit card companies, I have never been given proof (validation)of an account. Remember what Judge Deare said:
“I would say that roughly 90 percent of the credit card lawsuits are flawed and can’t prove the person owes the debt…”
The Debt collectors bank on you not standing up for your self and your ignorance of the law. If you do stand up for yourself and the Judge’s number is correct, the collector can only win 10% of the time. You no longer have an excuse for not standing up for yourself or being ignorant of the pertinent laws. There are many sources in addition to this blog that will help you with both.
What you should do is demand validation of an account. Notice I switched words. Validation is a much more stringent threshold for collectors to prove. It involves, at a minimum, the entire account history in accounting, the original credit card agreement, all changes in the credit card terms, and proof of what transactions were at what rates. You get the idea that this is almost impossible to validate a debt. That is your standard. Stick to it. It will likely be challenged by someone that is trying to separate you from your money.
See attached validation letter. Fight the Good Fight, Boiler
For review’s sake, when you get a collection letter (dunning letter), you must demand validation withing 30 days. Here is a sample to page letter that was used by Dave in Colorado today:
1865 Smith Street
Thornton, Co 80601
Professional Collection Company
5543 W. 12th Street
Greeley, CO 80634
Account Number: Unknown
Professional Collection Company,
Thank you for your recent presentment.
This is not a refusal to pay, but another notice that your claim is disputed.
This is a request for validation made pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Please complete and return the attached disclosure request form within 15 days of receipt of this letter.
Please be advised that I am not requesting a “verification” that you have my mailing address, I am requesting a “validation:” that is, competent evidence that I have some contractual obligation to pay you.
You should also be aware that sending unsubstantiated demands for payment through the United States Mail System might constitute mail fraud under federal and state law.
Your failure to satisfy this request within the requirements of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act will be construed as your absolute waiver of any and all claims against me, and your tacit agreement to compensate me for costs and attorneys fees.
CREDITOR DISCLOSURE STATEMENT
Name and Address of Collector (assignee):
Name and Address of Debtor:
What are the terms of assignment for this account? You may attach a facsimile of any records relating to such terms.
Have any insurance claims been made by any creditor been made by any creditor or assignee regarding this account? Yes /no
Has the purported balance of this account been used in any tax deduction claim? Yes / no
Please list the particular products or services sold by the collector to the debtor and the dollar amount of each:
Upon failure or refusal of collector to validate this collection action, collector agrees to waive all claims against the debtor named herein and pay debtor for all costs and attorney fees involved in defending this collection action.
Authorized signature for Collector Date
Please return this completed form and attach all assignment or other transfer agreements that would establish your right to collect this debt. Your claim cannot be considered if any portion of this form is not completed and returned with the required documents. This is a request for validation made pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. If you do not respond as required by this law, your claim will not be considered and you may be liable for damages for continued collection efforts.