A few weeks back I noted that we’d been called by collection agency, and that we later learned that we’d been sent to collections for a bill that wasn’t actually overdue. We subsequently sent a request (via certified mail) for validation of the debt, as per the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
A few days later we received confirmation that our request had been delivered to the collection agency (we also sent a letter to the original creditor). It’s critical that you dispute the debt within 30 days, or it will be assumed to be valid. It’s been a couple of weeks, and we still haven’t heard anything back from them. No more calls, and no validation of our debt (yet).
And guess what? If they can’t validate the debt, they’re not allowed to:
(1) attempt to collect it,
(2) contact us about it, or
(3) report it to the credit bureaus
I haven’t re-checked our credit reports to see if this supposed debt has shown up there, but that’s on my list of things to do. Unfortunately, I used up our free credit reports when I first caught wind of this. Assuming that it’s been reported, I will (of course) dispute it. Moreover, depending on how far I want to push this, I’ll be able to sue them for $1, 000 for a violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (though I don’t know if it’s worth the trouble in this case — I just want a clean credit record).
Right now, here’s my plan of action… Give them a full 30 days to respond to my request. At that point, if I still haven’t heard from them, I will send them a copy of the original letter, my certified mail receipt, and proof of delivery, and a letter stating that they have not complied with the FDCPA, and are now in violation of the act if they make further attempts to collect from us and/or report us to the credit bureaus (or fail to remove the listing if they’ve already reported us).
After that? I still haven’t decided. We’ll just take this one step at a time.