Let’s say you take your watch in for repair and when you stop by two days later, the jeweler says you owe $200 for the repair work. Do you simply hand over $200, or do you ask to see the bill? Chances are good you want to know how the jeweler reached the $200 amount for the repair work done on your watch.
You need to apply the same diligent approach to a debt collection agency that claims you are on financial hook for an outstanding credit card or personal loan account.
According the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), a third party debt collector is legally obligated to send you a debt validation letter. The FDCPA is also the most effective consumer protection law because it prohibits a long list of previously valid debt collection tactics.
An overly aggressive bill collector cannot threaten to seize your property, nor can it impersonate a law enforcement agency in an attempt to intimidate you. There are not any prisons dedicated to punishing Americans that fall behind on their bills.
What Should Be in a Debt Validation Letter?
A debt collection agency cannot send a letter and claim it is a debt validation letter. The FDCPA specifically states a debt collection letter must include the total amount due on an alleged debt. With the total amount added to a debt validation letter, you can check your records to determine whether the amount requested is accurate.
Remember that you can expect to see interest and late fee charges that increase the amount of the original amount due. Creditors add fine print to terms of service agreements that discuss additional account charges.
You also need to know the name and contact information for the original creditor. A third party debt collector cannot come up with an arbitrary dollar amount that you are not responsible to pay.
Some unethical bill collectors do not include the name of the original creditor in any written correspondence, nor do they mention the name of the original creditor during phone conversations they have with consumers. The reason for omitting the name of the original creditor is that there never was an original creditor. Make sure you took out a loan or received a credit card, before agreeing to anything a debt collection agency requests.
Seeking Monetary Damages for FDCPA Violations
A third party debt collector that refuses to send you a debt validation letter might trick you into paying off a balance that you are not obligated to pay off. The shame and embarrassment caused by being deceived into taking care of a delinquent credit card or personal loan balance can trigger a number of emotional issues.
The FDCPA allows consumers to file claims against unethical bill collectors that trigger emotional distress symptoms. For example, you might start experiencing wild mood swings that have a negative impact on both personal and professional relationships.
Speak with a Licensed FDCPA Attorney
Proving the presence of emotional duress symptoms is much harder than trying to prove the existence of physical duress symptoms. However, an experienced consumer protection lawyer who has litigated FDCPA cases involving emotional distress symptoms can help argue your case. Most FDCPA attorneys schedule free initial consultations with new clients to determine the best course of legal action.
*Disclaimer: The content of this article serves only to provide information and should not be construed as legal advice. If you file a claim against Dynamic Recovery Solutions, or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to compensation.