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New Member
NewMrsB
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎09-12-2012
0

Requested debt validation and no response...what now?

I'm trying to help my husband clear his credit.  This is the LAST item I need to fix!  He has an apartment collection on his credit from years ago.  It's only $117, but he swears he does not owe it, because the owner did his walk-out with him and said the apartment was the cleanest he had ever seen and they would return his deposit.  He didn't know to get that in writing.

 

In any event, I disputed it LAST NOVEMBER and also sent a debt validation letter.  The collection agency (it's not the creditor collecting--they've signed it to collections) never responded.  The credit bureaus never did anything about the dispute, either.

 

I tried the trick in the EOS/CCA thread about writing to the BBB about this, stating that no debt validation means it must come off.  The agency responded to the BBB stating that they "can't respond" because the BBB is a public agency, but they will provide the debt validation letter to my husband directly.

 

I responded that it's too late----it's been a year and no debt validation was received at the time of the request.  

 

We really don't want to sue for $117, and I'm even willing to do a PFD or settle, just to get it off the report, but in reality it needs to come off without money out of pocket!

 

Any suggestions on my next step?  

Moderator Emeritus
llecs
Posts: 32,869
Registered: ‎08-04-2007
0

Re: Requested debt validation and no response...what now?

DV letters are allowed via the FDCPA. Under the FDCPA, you must send out a DV letter within 30 days of the initial collection, though, IMO, it's OK to send a DV out after 30days even though it's legally ineffective. If the DV was timely, a CA has forever to validate if they wanted to. I sent a DV out once and they replied over a year later.

 

I'm an impatient person. Even though their time to respond is unlimited, and if I had that, I'd start from scratch and resend a DV letter CMRRR to the address listed on the CR. I'd give them 30-45 days before taking the next step. If they didn't respond, then I'd send a 2nd. Both times I would customize the DV and would avoid the canned responses you find out there on the web. Some of these letters ask for stuff that the CA doesn't have to provide. If you customize the letter and cut out the fluff, but invoke the FDCPA, then you're more apt to get a response.

 

At the same time of the DV, I'd contact the OC to get more info. I'd drag them into this since they are the ones claiming the $117. You mentioned "owner" so this might be a small-time real estate owner and this might not work, but I'd definitely contact the BBB on him/her too. Maybe with the pressure on them, they'll put pressure on the CA and that might get it off. Before the BBB, I would kindly ask him/her to provide a breakdown of costs leading up to that balance.

 

If by the second DV the CA didn't respond, then I'd retry the BBB. I'd also contact your state and maybe use your state's AG. FTC sometimes works too.

 

IMO, the CA isn't doing anything wrong, or at least based on what you posted. The purpose of the above steps is to get them to communicate with you and that's what's lacking right now. Sometimes you just need to nudge them to say something. If they verify and you agree, then send a PFD. If you disagree, then you'll have to go back to the OC and get more info beyond what you org. asked for.

Valued Contributor
rckstrscott
Posts: 2,660
Registered: ‎04-25-2011
0

Re: Requested debt validation and no response...what now?


NewMrsB wrote:

I'm trying to help my husband clear his credit.  This is the LAST item I need to fix!  He has an apartment collection on his credit from years ago.  It's only $117, but he swears he does not owe it, because the owner did his walk-out with him and said the apartment was the cleanest he had ever seen and they would return his deposit.  He didn't know to get that in writing.

 

In any event, I disputed it LAST NOVEMBER and also sent a debt validation letter.  The collection agency (it's not the creditor collecting--they've signed it to collections) never responded.  The credit bureaus never did anything about the dispute, either.

 

I tried the trick in the EOS/CCA thread about writing to the BBB about this, stating that no debt validation means it must come off.  The agency responded to the BBB stating that they "can't respond" because the BBB is a public agency, but they will provide the debt validation letter to my husband directly.

 

I responded that it's too late----it's been a year and no debt validation was received at the time of the request.  

 

We really don't want to sue for $117, and I'm even willing to do a PFD or settle, just to get it off the report, but in reality it needs to come off without money out of pocket!

 

Any suggestions on my next step?  


I don't think you have any grounds for a lawsuit. 

 

DV's are tricky. As llecs said, if the DV is timely, all they have to do is cease collection until they decide to validate.

 

If the DV wasn't timely, they don't have to do anything at all in response to a DV. They can keep collecting, keep reporting, keep blowing you off..

 

Being combatitive with them at this point might be counter productive. I would start trying to reopen dialog for a PFD

 

Who is the CA?

 

-scott

Starting FICO Score: 10/10: TU 498 | EQ: 502 Current FICO Score(lender pull): 09/14: TU: 784 | EQ: 752 | EX: 784
Collections Removed: Hunter Warfield, CBE Group, Merchants Credit Guide, EOS-CCA, Enhanced Recovery, Portfolio Recovery, UCB, American Collection Company, Medical Business Bureau, Jefferson Capital, Credit Portfolio Associates, FCO, LVNV, Convergent, Armor Systems
Other Negative Entries Removed:Plains Commerce CO, HSBC CO, 2008 Judgment Santander Reposession


Positive Accounts:10/10: 0 | 07/12: 6 | Mortgage Closed 5/12, Macy's AMEX $13900, Citi/Home Depot $8500, Capital One Cash Rewards $3500, BOA $7500 Total Utilization: 3%. AAoA: 2yr, 9mth. INQS: 1 TU, 1 EQ, 3 EX
New Member
NewMrsB
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎09-12-2012
0

Re: Requested debt validation and no response...what now?

[ Edited ]

He "technically" DOES have grounds for a lawsuit because they are messing up his credit with an amount that is not his, and he just had to pay a higher interest rate on a loan because of it.  I'm an attorney and have had experience with these lawsuits being filed (and won) in our County (although I was not the attorney handling the case, I assisted in the defense of a few; futile, because our clients just removed without fighting because it wasn't worth the trouble).  In Florida, you don't need "grounds" to file; all you need is a reasonable belief that you have been damaged and then you prove it.  Judges in my County don't like creditors messing with the "little guy" and are very pro-plaintiff.

 

I should note that they have NEVER tried to collect it---they've simply placed it on his credit report and let it sit there.  We sent the DV as a preemptive strike and disputed it on the credit report, which got no response.

 

The apartment complex didn't respond to his requests last year, either.  He he says "owner" but I believe it's the manager he's talking about (English is not his first language); however, my research shows that she is no longer there anyway.  All new people there = no one will have any knowledge and just assume it's money owed.

 

CA is "Southern Management".

 

While I know they can take forever....and since I'm not representing him as an attorney, we are trying to force them to move forward or drop it.  I've had success doing this strategy with several other creditors (that's why this is the last one), but everyone else responded and worked with us to remove and/or settle.

 

Thanks for the responses.  I suppose he will go ahead and do the BBB letter anyway for the apartment complex.  Who knows---when the CA responds "directly", it may just give him an offer :smileyhappy:

Valued Contributor
rckstrscott
Posts: 2,660
Registered: ‎04-25-2011
0

Re: Requested debt validation and no response...what now?

[ Edited ]

NewMrsB wrote:

He "technically" DOES have grounds for a lawsuit because they are messing up his credit with an amount that is not his, and he just had to pay a higher interest rate on a loan because of it.  I'm an attorney and have had experience with these lawsuits being filed (and won) in our County (although I was not the attorney handling the case, I assisted in the defense of a few; futile, because our clients just removed without fighting because it wasn't worth the trouble).  In Florida, you don't need "grounds" to file; all you need is a reasonable belief that you have been damaged and then you prove it.  Judges in my County don't like creditors messing with the "little guy" and are very pro-plaintiff.

 

I should note that they have NEVER tried to collect it---they've simply placed it on his credit report and let it sit there.  We sent the DV as a preemptive strike and disputed it on the credit report, which got no response.

 

The apartment complex didn't respond to his requests last year, either.  He he says "owner" but I believe it's the manager he's talking about (English is not his first language); however, my research shows that she is no longer there anyway.  All new people there = no one will have any knowledge and just assume it's money owed.

 

CA is "Southern Management".

 

While I know they can take forever....and since I'm not representing him as an attorney, we are trying to force them to move forward or drop it.  I've had success doing this strategy with several other creditors (that's why this is the last one), but everyone else responded and worked with us to remove and/or settle.

 

Thanks for the responses.  I suppose he will go ahead and do the BBB letter anyway for the apartment complex.  Who knows---when the CA responds "directly", it may just give him an offer :smileyhappy:


Well, in order to prove the amount is not his, you would have to file a suit just to get discovery on the information the OC is claiming he owes.. correct? Apartment complexes are notorious for adding fees after the fact.

 

What happens if he does owe it, based on the terms of the lease? Do you still have the original lease?

 

Placing a entry on a credit report IS collection activity, so they have tried to collect. Courts have stated that merely placing on a credit report constitutes collection activity.

 

As an attorney you know how iffy leases can be in regards to what the renter puts themselves into, and ignorance of a debt is not an excuse to not pay it. Trust me, I just had my own battle over an improper eviction and some ridiculous added fees myself haha..

 

I hope the BBB pans out, because if it doesn't I think your only recourse would be to file a lawsuit, if only for proper discovery of the monies owed.

 

-scott

 

Edited to add: I don't have much legal experiece, just my own credit battles, so clearly I could be wrong :smileywink:

Starting FICO Score: 10/10: TU 498 | EQ: 502 Current FICO Score(lender pull): 09/14: TU: 784 | EQ: 752 | EX: 784
Collections Removed: Hunter Warfield, CBE Group, Merchants Credit Guide, EOS-CCA, Enhanced Recovery, Portfolio Recovery, UCB, American Collection Company, Medical Business Bureau, Jefferson Capital, Credit Portfolio Associates, FCO, LVNV, Convergent, Armor Systems
Other Negative Entries Removed:Plains Commerce CO, HSBC CO, 2008 Judgment Santander Reposession


Positive Accounts:10/10: 0 | 07/12: 6 | Mortgage Closed 5/12, Macy's AMEX $13900, Citi/Home Depot $8500, Capital One Cash Rewards $3500, BOA $7500 Total Utilization: 3%. AAoA: 2yr, 9mth. INQS: 1 TU, 1 EQ, 3 EX
Mega Contributor
RobertEG
Posts: 18,528
Registered: ‎03-19-2007
0

Re: Requested debt validation and no response...what now?

There is, in my opinion, no cause of action based on a debt collector not having provided debt verification.  That is not how FDCPA 809(b) works.  The DV process is a debt collection practices statute that requires a debt collector to cease collection on the debt until they provide verification.  It is not a compulsory process that has any time requirement, and is not a legal fact-finding process that resolves disagreements. 

Violation of section 809(b) would occur based on resumption of collection activities without having provided the requested verification, not based on failure to have as yet verified. 

 

It is not a fact, based on a disagreement, that the alleged debt is not his.  It is an assertion that must be proven. Unless it can be shown that they reported with knowledge if its inaccuracy, they have not violated either the FCRA or FDCPA.  Thus, there are no proven "damages," let alone a showing that their reporting was done with knowledge of its inaccuracy.

 

If the deb is contested, the DV process is not the way to resolve disagreement, as the statute has no requirement to provide documentation in support of their reasonable determination that the debt is accurate.  There is no "judge" in a DV process to hear disagreement and make a legal determination of facts.  That is the purpose of the courts and their legal discovery processes.

 

 

 

Established Contributor
hoping2rebuild
Posts: 905
Registered: ‎07-25-2008
0

Re: Requested debt validation and no response...what now?


rckstrscott wrote:

NewMrsB wrote:

He "technically" DOES have grounds for a lawsuit because they are messing up his credit with an amount that is not his, and he just had to pay a higher interest rate on a loan because of it.  I'm an attorney and have had experience with these lawsuits being filed (and won) in our County (although I was not the attorney handling the case, I assisted in the defense of a few; futile, because our clients just removed without fighting because it wasn't worth the trouble).  In Florida, you don't need "grounds" to file; all you need is a reasonable belief that you have been damaged and then you prove it.  Judges in my County don't like creditors messing with the "little guy" and are very pro-plaintiff.

 

I should note that they have NEVER tried to collect it---they've simply placed it on his credit report and let it sit there.  We sent the DV as a preemptive strike and disputed it on the credit report, which got no response.

 

The apartment complex didn't respond to his requests last year, either.  He he says "owner" but I believe it's the manager he's talking about (English is not his first language); however, my research shows that she is no longer there anyway.  All new people there = no one will have any knowledge and just assume it's money owed.

 

CA is "Southern Management".

 

While I know they can take forever....and since I'm not representing him as an attorney, we are trying to force them to move forward or drop it.  I've had success doing this strategy with several other creditors (that's why this is the last one), but everyone else responded and worked with us to remove and/or settle.

 

Thanks for the responses.  I suppose he will go ahead and do the BBB letter anyway for the apartment complex.  Who knows---when the CA responds "directly", it may just give him an offer :smileyhappy:


Well, in order to prove the amount is not his, you would have to file a suit just to get discovery on the information the OC is claiming he owes.. correct? Apartment complexes are notorious for adding fees after the fact.

 

What happens if he does owe it, based on the terms of the lease? Do you still have the original lease?

 

Placing a entry on a credit report IS collection activity, so they have tried to collect. Courts have stated that merely placing on a credit report constitutes collection activity.  Can you please give me some more info on this?

 

As an attorney you know how iffy leases can be in regards to what the renter puts themselves into, and ignorance of a debt is not an excuse to not pay it. Trust me, I just had my own battle over an improper eviction and some ridiculous added fees myself haha.. Having a few rounds of the same thing with FCO they are such a pain!!!

 

I hope the BBB pans out, because if it doesn't I think your only recourse would be to file a lawsuit, if only for proper discovery of the monies owed.

 

-scott

 

Edited to add: I don't have much legal experiece, just my own credit battles, so clearly I could be wrong :smileywink:


 

 


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Moderator
Shogun
Posts: 12,952
Registered: ‎04-15-2011
0

Re: Requested debt validation and no response...what now?

Sorry, I'm not a lawyer, don't play one on tv and didn't stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, but I'd like to throw my thoughts at this.   First off, if there's a right to sue, or counter sue, it should not have anything to do with the DV process.  This has to do with a debt from the original creditor and should be worked out between the two. It is a small amount, you state you would do a PFD but not with money out of your pocket, I'm not sure how that would work.  Maybe you could compromise, offer half and a delete.  Would be much cheaper than going to court and would be a win/win on both parties maybe.  Just a thought.  Good Luck.


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Member
ManOfTheLaw
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎11-20-2012
0

Re: Requested debt validation and no response...what now?

[ Edited ]

Have you sent a demand letter out to both the CA and the OC?  If you're an attorney, certainly you can find someone to draft one without paying for it. Hell, draft it yourself and have someone else send it out on their letterhead and over their signature block. 


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