The collection agency (Merchants credit association) received my certified debt validate/verify letter on March 29th. What is the next step if they don't respond in 30 days?
You wait until they decide to respond.
There is no period for, or even a requirement to, respond to a DV request under the FDCPA.
Congressional intent was to provide consumers with a reprieve from collection activities until they received adequate validation of the asserted debt, and thus had sufficient information to make their decision on next steps. The process does not compel validation.
See FDCPA 809(b).
A timely DV imposes a cease collection bar, which remains in effect until such time as validation is provided.
A debt collector can choose to refrain from active collection without ever responding.
Violation of the FDCPA occurs only if they resume collection activities prior to validating.
Thanks. Basically I have no options to get this derogatory mark deleted off my credit report. My medical debt was verified with the bureaus, the debt collector rejected a pay for deletion letter, and they're not obligated to respond to a debt validation letter as well.
Wanted to add as well---some courts in some states have ruled that reporting on your credit reports is continued collection activity. So, depending on the timing of your DV request, there might be a violation of FDCPA on this. In order for that to happen, you would have had to receive notice from them, and send your DV request within 30 days of that initial notice from them. If that happened, then they cannot continue any collection effort---including credit reporting, if your state's courts say it's collection activity---until they validate. Please note, however, that the standard to "validate" is so low they would have to intentionally try not to meet it in order to miss that mark.
I have the debt collector on a recorded line saying they didnt buy/own my medical debt and are merely collecting on behalf of the original creditor. Since they're reporting on a debt they don't own, are they in violation of FDCPA?
First thing's first, what state are you in? It's not legal to record them in every state without telling them first. Some are one-party states....others require that all parties on the call give consent to be recorded. You don't want to break any laws in the process.
Second, no, it's not illegal for them to report when collecting for the creditor.
In WA state, consent of all parties is required to record a call. There are also criminal as well as civil penalties available. I would get rid of that and not record any more calls without getting the consent of all parties. You could not even use that recording in any way to help you without bringing trouble on yourself in the process.
There was consent before any negotiations started. Maybe its only legal on their end to record a call. I'll have to consult a lawyer for clarification. My situation seems bleak from the standpoint of getting this derogatory deleted off my credit report. The last resort "paid in full" option will stay as negative info for 7 years and 6 months.
When I mentioned consent, I was not talking about how they tell you that "this call may be recorded or monitored for quality purposes". If you did not expressly inform THEM that the call may be recorded, and if THEY did not give YOU consent for you to record them, then you did not gain consent for recording. I know, it's stupid, but there have been cases where the CA recorded the call, but was never told that the consumer was also recording, and the CA pitched a fit, saying they were never informed that the call was being recorded and never gave consent for the other party to record them. Generally speaking, if you tell them that you intend to record the call, they will end the call. Debt collectors today don't want to be recorded.
I've also known someone who tried to make the argument that their disclosure that the call "may be recorded" signaled their consent for a recording of the call to take place. Still waiting to see if the court will buy into that or not, but I can see his point. They cannot have it both ways---if they agree that the call may be recorded, then I cannot see why the call cannot be recorded. But that's just me.