So in early March I sent out two Texas code debt verification letters CMRRR to collection agencies using the letter in this post as a template, so there's nowhere to hide regarding "oh we treated it as a FCRA request or a dispute so we didn't respond in time etc." (For those who don't know, Texas finance code's debt verification often requires more information to verify than under FCRA, and the collector MUST give a response within 30 days, even if it's to say they're not going to conduct an investigation. If they say that, they must modify/delete the item as requested.)
One of the agencies got back to me promptly with enough information for me to agree to pay it. The other, which was almost certainly charging interest and fees against state law, sent no response at all. My question is, where do I go from here?
I know I report it to the Texas Attorney General's office, which may entitle me to reparation, but how do I get it off my credit report?? Presumably, if they conduct no investigation and don't comply with the law in sending a response, they'd be bound to modify/delete the item just as they would as if they had complied with the law, right? So do I dispute it with the credit bureaus as well? And do I just dispute on the grounds of "well I sent this request under this law, and this CA didn't comply with the law, therefore delete this item"? Do I say something about reporting it to the attourney general? Can I screw myself over disputing it this way with the agencies?
I really would like to get this off my credit report as soon as possible, I'm applying for a car loan soon. Thank you for any help!
Technically, an assertion that you provide to the CRA that the collection requires deletion based on the debt collector's lack of response to the Texas Finance Code requirement is not a fact confirmed by an process, and thus will likely not result in the CRA reaching a legal determination of violation of the TX Fianance Code.
In my opinion, you must first file a complaint with the Tx Office of the AG and receive a legal finding of violation before using that as basis for requiring deletion. Even though the facts may appear clear, they are still entitled to due process.
Thanks for the reply! That sounds like the reallyreasonable conclusion to the issue and I bet that's the standard.
A couple developments:
Before receiving this reply, I initated a phone dispute with Experian and uploaded my letter, POD, and my complaint with the state AG as proof. I got notice that the dispute had been resolved and the collection had been removed within two hours of initiation!! I've never even had simple disputes go that quickly!
I also received today in the mail a letter from the collection agency as follows:
----Notice of Additional Time Needed to Provide Verification of Debt----
This notice shall inform you that we have received your request for Verification of Debt regarding the above-referenced account. Our investigation is ongoing. However, [Collection Agency Incorporated] is in need of additonal time to obtain the required documentation.
As soon as we have the documentation on hand, we will promptly forward to your attention. Please be advised that we have suspended collection activity on the above-referenced account until we can properly validate the debt.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office at [blah blah blah]."
It feels worth noting that this letter did not come from the same office I mailed the original request to, but one in an entirely different part of the country.
This letter to me is almost funny, because it's vague on whether they're treating this as a Texas or federal verification request, when I was very clear in my letter that I was requesting under state law. FCRA of course doesn't have a time limit on collectors for verification, and Texas state law has no provision for a collector having additional time to verify the debt. §392.202 (d) gives explicit provisions for what an agency must do if they do not have time to complete an investigation: immediately change the item as requested by the consumer (in my case, delete).
So now not only are they in violation of state law, this letter itself in response to a request explicitly under §392.202 seems to me to be deliberately misleading enough regarding the requirements and allowances of the law to warrant not just adding it to my TX AG complaint which I'm definitely going to do, but potentially filing an FTC complaint as well. Am I completely off base with my thinking here?
Legal justice aside, this collection is still sitting on my TU report and given that I got word my vehicle will be ready next week, I need to get this off ASAP. I’ve intiated a dispute with Transunion and faxed them my documents, but it didn’t seem like it would move very quickly to get it off there.
Should I sent a reply to (and possibly call also) the CA to try and move things along? I’m thinking of basically saying “I received this notice in response to my letter sent XX, requesting verification under Texas statute 392.202 (copy enclosed probably). The 30 days allotted by this statute to investigate this alleged debt have passed. Your demand for additional time to investigate is not permitted per section 392.202 (d). If you do not wish to be in violation of this statute, you MUST IMMEDIATELY delete this item from all credit files and update all entities who received a copy of the inaccurate report.”
But I’m not sure if that’s good wording, or not strong or specific enough, or if I should call/fax as well? Any help with wording would be appreciated!