How To Beat Debt Collectors At Their Game



Last month I focused a lot on 3rd party debt collectors going after foreclosed homeowners and the deficiency they feel they are entitled to. This month, I’m going to go more into detail on how to beat these collection companies no matter what type of collection account they are on the warpath for money over.

If you receive a notice in the mail from a debt collector telling you that you now owe them for some debt, maybe its a medical collection or a charged off credit card, or even the difference left over after a car repo, it should tell you clearly that you have 30 days to dispute the debt.  If the first contact you have with a debt collection company is that they call you on the phone, you can confirm your name if you want, but do not confirm your birth date, your social security number, your phone number, your address, or anything else.  Do not acknowledge that alleged debt.  Tell them you do not communicate with companies like theirs over the phone and if they have something to say to you, they can put it in writing and mail it to you.

Once you have received that letter, its time to start the fight. You want to immediately fire off a letter disputing the alleged debt and demanding validation.  I go so far as to not even call their account number an account number. Its a reference number.  I do this because there is no way I’m going to acknowledge that my client has an account with them.  This is their own made up account number to try and make you think their claim is legitimate. So, this is where you start to fight back.

Your validation letter should tell them that you are responding to their letter and you do dispute their claims. In fact, you will need them to validate and prove to you that you owe them that alleged debt.  You see, there may be some alleged debt, but do you owe it?  That’s what they need to prove.  Don’t fall for the lame Chaudhry minimum standard of “verification” of the alleged debt. You don’t need verification and they can’t provide that anyhow since they are a 3rd party.

You are demanding validation, which is the proof, the documentation that supports their claim.  You are entitled to receive from them a copy of the contract showing you agreed to do business with them. That means that the contract names them as the creditor that actually lent something to you of value, and your name agreeing to compensate them or pay them back for what they claim they lent you.  Then it has to have your signature on it.  A contract between you and the alleged original creditor is not a contract between you and the 3rd party collector and it isn’t full validation.

You will also need to tell them to provide proof that they own the alleged debt or that they have been authorized to demand payment, which means its been assigned to them by the original creditor.  Sometimes they will send a bill of sale, and that doesn’t happen too often, and occasionally though rare, they’ll send you a copy of their assignment. But sending this, even with a copy of the original agreement, is not full validation.

You are also entitled to ask them to provide a full accounting.  This is not just 3 years(or however many they send) of billing statements but also means an accounting ledger. The accounting ledger should show every charge, every fee, interest added, credits, debits, payments, every single event that changed the amount on the alleged account. Billing statements that show what was charged that month is important too because you have the right to say, “Hey, I didn’t buy that or authorize that.” Leave that for the courtroom though.  We never want to admit anything to a 3rd party debt collector.

You will also want to tell them that since they furnished information to your credit reports, they are required to have your consent to do so in writing, so they need to provide a copy of that consent or authorization.  They won’t be able to provide this but this only helps remove them from the credit report. It is not part of validation and will not mean they have to stop trying to collect if they can’t produce it.

A couple other things to ask for is proof that the alleged debt is not outside the statute of limitations and if you’re in a state that requires licensing and/or bonding, you need to have copies of those documents as well. You also have the right to ask for a full chain of assignment, which means every collector that has ever had it in their possession, and proof that their collection fees are agreed to in the original contract. Heck you can actually even tell them that you have a right to know how much they paid for the alleged debt because that is closer to the phony baloney amount they should be trying to collect.

After you dispute with them and demand validation, you want to write to each of the credit bureaus and dispute each of the collections with them. You will do this about a week or two after you send the letters to the collectors.  This is very important because once you demand validation from a debt collector, they are required to stop all collection activity. Verifying with credit bureaus is considered collection activity and if they do it before they send you validation, they’ve just broken the law.  They actually need to remove the information they have furnished while its in dispute.  

Many times you will see comments on your credit report saying that “consumer disputes” or similar language.  If those comments are on a 3rd party collection account, that is a violation of law and proof that they are breaking it. Since communicating via the credit report is considered collection activity, putting a “dispute” comment on there doesn’t void the fact that they are still trying to collect when they are supposed to stop all collection activity.  Its just proof that they are ignorant of the law or they don’t give a rip about the law.  We’re going to jump back to bureau disputes in a bit.

Now, when debt collectors respond to your dispute and demand for validation, many times they will send you the name, amount and a few tidbits of information about the alleged original account and then tell you that they have verified.  They haven’t, that’s hearsay. If they send you any documentation, it might look like they’ve proved the alleged debt, but its not validation. Its not proof you owe them.

Your response is a very important part of beating them.  You don’t want to attack their response until you get the results from your bureau disputes though.  This is because not all of the collectors will usually reply to your demand to validation but they will respond to the bureau dispute by claiming they verified it.  That’s a big NO-NO.  You are also going to want to check those bureau disputes and see which collectors were stupid enough to comment that the alleged account is disputed.  You will be using these things against them and this is very effective to make them hit the road.

Now that you’ve received your bureau dispute results back and the debt collectors that have bothered to respond to your demand to validation are pretty much all back to you, its time to contact the collection companies again.  For those that told you they are closing the file and notifying the bureaus, you don’t need to send anything to them.  Just make sure they actually deleted. If they didn’t you will dispute that again with the bureaus.  For those that claimed they verified, you need to get real tough with them.

Your response to those who claimed they validated or verified in response to your demand for validation, you need to tell them something like this:  “I’ve received your letter claiming you have validated (or verified) the above reference number. But the problem is, you didn’t provide the documentation that proves I owe you anything.  Where is the contract between your company and me? Where is the full accounting because I can’t just take your word for it that I owe some company I’ve never contracted with, some made up number?  Where is your license and bond?  In fact, from what you sent, I can see that you are trying to collect for something that is outside the statute of limitations for my state (if that is the case).  

You also haven’t proved you have any right to be on my credit report because I know for a fact I’ve never contracted with you nor consented to you being able to make any communication on my credit reports.  You’re violating the FDCPA by continuing collection activity and you’re violating the FCRA by furnishing information and verifying unvalidated information, disputed information, erroneous information, when no access to my credit reports has ever been granted to you.

So, get your crap off my credit reports until you can provide some proof that I actually owe YOU! You haven’t done that yet and by law, you are to cease collection activity immediately.  I reject your hearsay as being validation or verification. I reject the bills you sent as being validation because they are not. I reject any of your claims of validation or verification because you haven’t proved anything.”

That’s pretty much how a follow up letter is written.  Now, for those that verified with the bureaus but didn’t bother to even respond to your demand for validation, you should send them a letter similar to what I just gave you but blast them for verifying without even responding to your demand for validation.  You can even tell them that you intend to sue them for their FCRA and FDCPA violations if they don’t remove this reference number and information they furnished to the bureaus from your reports.

Now, your follow up letters to the bureaus will be to dispute each one as having demanded validation from each one and they have not validated and therefore are still Unverified so please delete ASAP.  By the next time you get your responses back from the bureaus, you should see some great results.   Sometimes though, they just don’t have any respect for the law and they keep leaving their bs on your report. You may need to keep attacking them month after month to remove these stubborn ones.

I hope that those of you who are working to improve your credit will take this information and use it.  It does work.  Its a basic attack and it’s based on laws written to protect you from scum like debt collectors.  Remember, you don’t owe these punks so fight to keep your hard earned money in your own pockets, not theirs.  Its your right to spend your money as you want, not give it over to these extortionists who will continue to harass you in an attempt to steal it from you if you don’t knock them down and out of your lives.

Now, for those of you that want help with removing collections, we are extending our Christmas special into the New Year!  We use advanced techniques and put laws, case law, statutes, Supreme Court rulings and more in the debt collectors’ faces. We go well beyond the attack shown above to get you the fastest results possible, all while staying ethical, honest, and within the law. Our special is valid through January 31, 2015.

Our special will save you anywhere from $100 – $300 depending upon the number of collections on your report, as well as other derogatory items.  To qualify for the special, you need to have at least FOUR 3rd party collectors furnishing information on your report.  You will need copies of your credit reports for all 3 major bureaus so get them together and contact us so we can help you have a new, pretty credit report in this exciting New Year!  My email address and phone number are up on the top right hand side of this blog.  I look forward to hearing from you and helping you fight the debt collectors and win!

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