Why You Should Require Verification of DebtsIn my opinion consumers don't require debt collectors to verify debts often enough. Although the burden on the collectors is not large, it often, all by itself, persuades them to leave you alone and look elsewhere for their victims.
What is "Verification?"
Under the FDCPA, the first written communication from a debt collector must inform the consumer of several facts, including the right to require verification of the debt (if the request is made within 30days). verification requires the collection company to go back to its source, the original creditor, andmake sure that the consumer being contacted is the correct person and the debt is valid. Until the debt isvalidated, the collector may not take any further action on collecting the debt, and at least all the casesI've seen have included within that restriction any reporting of the debt to the credit reporting agencies.If the debt collector proceeds with collection efforts without verifying the debt first, you have a right tosue it.
Here Are A Few Facts You Should Know
If you are planning to require collectors to verify the debts they are trying to collect from you, here areeight few things you should know.
1. Collector must Cease Collection Efforts
Section 809(b) requires that, if the consumer disputes the debt or requests identification of the originalcreditor in writing, the collector must cease collection efforts until he verifies the debt and mails aresponse.
2. What if the Collector Provides "Proof" with the First Notice?
A debt collector must still verify a disputed debt even if he has included proof of the debt with the firstcommunication. That is because the section is intended to assist the consumer when a debt collector inadvertently contacts the wrong consumer at the start of his collection efforts. [53 Fed. Reg. 50109]
3. A debt collector need not cease normal collection activities
within the consumer's 30-day period togive notice of a dispute
until he receives a notice from the consumer.4. A debt collector may report a debt
to a credit bureau within the 30-day notice period,
before hereceives a request for verification
or a dispute notice from the consumer.
consumer's failure to dispute
the validity of a debt under this section may not be interpreted by acourt as an admission of liability. Section 809(c). Legal Action
6. An attorney debt collector may take legal action
within 30 days of sending the notice, regardlessof whether the consumer disputes the debt.
7. If the consumer disputes the debt, the attorney may still
take legal action but must ceasecollection efforts until verification is obtained and mailed to the consumer.Other Collection activities by attorneys.8.
An attorney who regularly attempts to collect debts
by means other than litigation, such aswriting the consumer demand letters (dunning notices) or calling the consumer on the phoneabout the obligation (except in response to a consumer's call to him after suit has beencommenced),
must provide the required notice
, even if a previous debt collector (or creditor)has given such a notice.