I sent an email DV to Professional Placement Services for an account that was added to my credit report in 06/2011. (I ran my most recent CR in 11/11, before that was 04/11.) Of course, I never received a letter from this company. The charge was for CheckSmart (payday loan store); a company I haven't used since initial financial difficulties in 2005-06. The new account with a 2011 date concerned me; I didn't think I had anything outstanding with CheckSmart. I used the DV letter template, modified to remove some of the legalize, so it looked like I wrote it.
His response was:
I am in receipt of your e-mail request.
I have requested the validation documentation from Check$mart.
The full PPS account number is 27xxx08.
Our initial letter, which was mailed to [my old address from 6 years ago]. in Phoenix was returned as a mail return by the Postal System.
Certainly there is the possibility that the credit reporting agencies may have listed this entry on the incorrect person’s credit bureau report.
The Heather [Last Name] listed has a middle initial of E. and the last four digits of the social security number are -xxxx.
References listed are mother and father, whose names are [Mom] and [Dad].
If this information allows you to understand that this entry is in fact in error, my interest is the same as yours, which would be to request the entry be deleted from your credit bureau report.
Please let me know.
While email is not the preferred method of DV, his fast response should legally start the clock on that 30-day window...
The address, last 4 of social, parent's names, and middle initial are mine. But that doesn't have anything to do with the account in question. Should I respond to him that the personal information is consistent with the personal info on my credit file, but I do not recognize CheckSmart as a company I have done business with? The information I really want is the date of the original account and a copy of the signed contract (and other documentation, signed check?) that proves the account as mine. (As a side note, I have no clue how he knew my parent's first names. I NEVER, EVER, EVER put them down as references on payday loans way back when I was a cyclical payday loan borrower. I was too embarrased that they would find out I was taking out those kind of loans. I would NEVER want them to know about that. That alone makes me think something is fishy.)
At this point, I think it's either a phony debt collection scam pulled together with information from my credit report, or that the account was mine, but it would be nearly 7 years since I dealt with CheckSmart. SOL is long gone. Shall I just sit tight and see if he's able to get documentation from CheckSmart? I feel like I need to make some sort of acknowledgement of his response.
Unless you live in Texas, there is no 30-day window on the part of the CA. You have 30-days to mail a DV from their initial collection notice which would have been in June, I'm guessing, though by their admission it was returned due to a bad address. At this point, the CA has an unlimited time to validate.
IMO, they validated already with this response, though I'd wait for them to respond again before doing anything. In the meantime, I would google that lender and look up their locations to see if anything rings a bell. I'd consider calling them too. Maybe they bought an old company.
The 2011 date refers to when this CA acquired the debt as opposed to when you did (or did not) take out the loan.
The parents' names could have been acquired from skip tracing whereby they paired up your old address on your report with your folks' address.
Avoid e-mail. Mail everything CMRRR.
Thank you, Ilecs. That 30-day clause has always confused me, because all the DV template letters always end with something like, 'if your company fails to respond to this request within 30 days, the information must be removed from my credit file.'
As for the initial loan date, if it is from 2005 or 2006, it's mine, in which case, I was planning to offer PFD (via snail mail) as a next step. If the original loan date is from a more recent year, I am 100% certain it is not mine. I don't get why CheckSmart would wait 6 years to sell an account to a CA... That huge delay made me question whether it was really my account.
The FDCPA places the requirements on CAs to say that you have 30 days, that this notice is from a debt collector, and so forth.
In terms of the delay, it's likely that CA or CAs couldn't locate you due to moving or didn't want to take the time or expense to track the new address (assuming it's valid). The debt probably was sold over and over until a CA got lucky and used the new address.