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Hi - I have a debt that I have been paying to a Hospital, every month for 6 months.Suddenly, I received a letter from an Attorney trying to collect for them with the wording I had 30 days to dispute. I immediately responded ( certified, return receipt) that I dispute the debt. The attorney signed for my letter on 11/4, although they signed, didn't date it, trying to be sneaky, I think. However, I have the print out from the USPS showing time and date delivered. Then 20 days later, I receive a post card from a debt solutions place saying "you have been sued", thankfully they included a case number which I immediately looked up on the county website. Sure enough, there it is, the Attorney filed 3 days after signing for my dispute letter. They did not send any verification of the debt in those 3 days (or 26 days later, as of today)Is this a violation of The Fair Debt Collections Act? If so, can you please point me in the direction of " what next?" Thank you for any clarification you can give!

Answer
First, the 30 day Dispute notification is language that is required by Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).

Some creditors, especially attorneys, look at a dispute as a "sue me" and they do. Is filing a suit a FDCPA violation? FDCPA requires debt collectors to stop collection efforts when a timely Validation of Debt request is given. Timely means within 30 days of Initial Communication. Did the attorney violate FDCPA by filing suit? Yes.

That s the least of the problem - by filing suit you have to file an Answer or the attorney will get a Default Judgment. With your Answer you will file a Counterclaim for the FDCPA violation.

I suggest you visit a web site I established some years ago that shows people how to do this. The site is www.debtorboards.com and it is totally free. I cannot give you specific "how to" on the filing of the Answer because that would depend on your local Court Rules. Debtorboards has links to the various Court Rules.

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Steve Katz

Expertise

Debt Collection, Credit Reporting, FCRA, FDCPA, TCPA issues

Experience

Founder of Debtorboards, co-author of Debtsmanship, former Collector, Credit Counselor

Education/Credentials
MBA

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