(a) Notice of debt; contents
A debt collector shall, within five days of their initial communication with a consumer, provide a written notice containing the following information, unless the debt has already been paid or this information has already been provided in the initial communication:
(1) the amount of the debt;
(2) the name of the creditor to whom the debt is owed;
(3) a statement saying: that unless the consumer, within thirty days after receipt of the notice, disputes the validity of the debt, or any portion thereof, the debt will be assumed to be valid by the debt collector;
(4) a statement saying: that if the consumer notifies the debt collector in writing within the thirty-day period that the debt, or any portion thereof, 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 or judgment will be mailed to the consumer by the debt collector; and
(5) a statement saying: that, upon the consumer's written request within the thirty-day period, the debt collector will provide the consumer with the name and address of the original creditor, if different from the current creditor.
If you feel that you do not owe the debt, or need more information about the debt, creditor, or collection agency, you can request that the debt collector provide you with more information before you decide you owe the debt or will pay such debt, by disputing the debt. Below you will find information on the process of how disputing a debt should look like, according to the FDCPA.
(b) Disputed debts
If the consumer notifies the debt collector in writing within the 30-day period described above, that the debt or any portion of the debt, is disputed, or that the consumer requests the name and address of the original creditor, the debt collector must cease collection of the debt, or any disputed portion of the debt, until the debt collector obtains verification of the debt or a copy of a judgment, or the name and address of the original creditor, and a copy of such verification or judgment, or name and address of the original creditor, is mailed to the consumer by the debt collector.
Collection activities and communications that do not otherwise violate this subchapter may continue during 30-day period mentioned above, unless the consumer has notified the debt collector in writing that the debt, or any portion of the debt, is disputed or that the consumer requests the name and address of the original creditor. Any collection activities and communication during the 30-day period may not be inconsistent with the disclosure of the consumer's right to dispute the debt or request the name and address of the original creditor.
In summary, if you feel that a collection agency is attempting to collect a debt that you don't owe, or are unsure that you even owe it, you can request certain information from the debt collector before taking any additional steps in paying such debt. In furtherance of the above information, and in general, you should be aware of a few things before paying a debt collector: a) you are indeed the person the debt collector is asking to pay the debt, b) the debt collector has the authority to collect such debt, and 3) that you had any contractual obligation to pay the original creditor.
This information is being provided to you as general information, and should not be used as legal advice. If you are in this situation and need legal advice, please give me a call to discuss further. Thank you.