The Right to Request Validation of Debt

There is often a great deal of confusion about Justice _scalewhat rights you have as a consumer when it
comes to requesting validation from a debt collector.  The
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
(“FDCPA”) explicitly
provides consumers with this right and defines in the statute the
duties collectors have prior to continuing their collection

As a general rule, a collector is allowed to rely on a
creditor’s representation when it comes to collecting debts. 
In other words, if a creditor says a debtor owes a debt, the
collector may go after the debtor without first ensuring its
validity.  The
, however, provides a method for consumers who would like
a collection agency to look into the collector’s information
concerning the debt with the creditor.  The FDCPA requires debt
, within five days of the initial communication, to
provide the consumer with a
explaining the consumer’s right to
request validation
from the collection agency.  So while
the collector may not have a duty to validate the debt prior to
attempting to collect, the FDCPA requires collectors to put you on
notice of your right to request it.  The FDCPA does put a time
limit on this request as it must be made within thirty days of
receipt of the initial collection letter.  Once a debtor
notifies the collector that he or she
requests validation
, the collector’s duty changes and it can no
longer rely on the creditor’s blanket representation.  The
collector must obtain
validation of the debt
and report back to the consumer with the
necessary information. 

Upon receipt of the request for validation, the collector must
consider the debt as “disputed” and must cease all collection
efforts until it provides the debtor with the requested
information.  The FDCPA specifically states that if a debt is
disputed, “the debt collector will obtain verification of the debt,
or a copy of a judgment against the consumer and a copy of such
verification of the debt or a copy of a judgment against the
consumer and a copy of such verification or judgment will be mailed
to the consumer by the debt collector.” 
15 U.S.C. §1692g(b)
.  The collector essentially comes to a
decision when in receipt of a timely request for validation. 
The collector
can either obtain that validation and provide it to the consumer
which would allow the collector to continue its collection. 
Or, the collector must discontinue its collection efforts. 
There is no time limit on the collector to provide this
validation.  The collector can take several months if it
needs, as long as it does not attempt collection in the
meantime.  The purpose of this section of the FDCPA is to
protect consumers from collectors who either mistakenly or
knowingly attempt to collect debts from the wrong consumer or that
are not actually owed.   

SmithMarco, P.C. has been protecting
consumer rights since 2005.  If you feel your rights have been
violated by a debt collector under the FDCPA please contact us for a free case review