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Letter Writing Strategies

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I have noticed a lot of questions posted lately about the ins and outs of disputing debts with collection agencies. Since letter writing is the cornerstone of the dispute process, I thought I might post a few pointers for writing effective dispute letters. I provide this information with a caveat: I do not claim to be the ultimate authority on this subject, but my own dispute letters have proven quite effective in my own credit repair journey. It is my hope that the following information may help others to understand some of the basic underlying principles of how, when and why dispute letters should be utilized to gain a strategic advantage or affect a desired end.

 

Preparing to Write Your Letter

 

You should be properly prepared before you begin writing your dispute letter. You should know what prompted you to write the letter, who your audience is, and what the likely reactions to your letter will be and how you will likely respond to those reactions. Let’s discuss these issues in greater detail:

 

1. Know what prompted you to write your letter; remain on task

 

Knowing why you are writing your letter will help you to remain on task. Your letter should be concise and relevant. In other words, don’t fall into the trap of taking your reader off in a half-dozen directions by discussing collateral issues that aren’t truly relevant to your purpose. You are writing your letter because you believe a CA is reporting incorrect information on your credit reports, and you want that information removed. Your letter should remain focused on that objective.

 

2. Know your audience; think to the future.

 

You’re writing your letter to a collection agency today. But your letter may have future audiences as well. If legal action should become necessary at some point in the future, keep in mind that your letter may be read by the CA’s attorney, your attorney, the BBB, an AG, the FTC, and/or a judge. Write your letter assuming that all of these audiences will eventual be reading it.

 

Knowing that these various audiences may eventually be reading your letters, you want to give the impression that you are a victimized consumer whose reasonable requests have been ignored. Chances are you’re your first letter is not going to resolve the problem. And you shouldn’t expect it to. The purpose of your letter is to establish that you have notified a CA that they are reporting inaccurate information, and that they have failed to comply with laws in their reporting and attempted collection of the debt. You should look at letter writing as a process, where several letters will need to be written before the desired end—deletion—is achieved, and with each letter increasing in intensity. Consequently, the tone of your letters should start off as a reasonable but concerned consumer, and that tone should become increasingly frustrated and concerned as the letters progress. This gives the readers the impression that you are a reasonable person who is becoming frustrated by CA’s failure to redress your concerns.

 

Also, avoid sounding like a want-to-be attorney. When addressing a CA’s apparent violations of law, speak in generalities rather than specifics; especially in early letters. In other words, it would be better to tell a CA that they are failing to meet their duty to report only accurate information than to cite the specific code infractions of the FCRA. If you start spouting off code violations in your letters, it may send up red flags at the CA. The CA may then be far more cautious in their dealings with you, which will make them less likely to commit blatant violations of law. It’s better to just sound like an average consumer. You don’t want to lay your cards out on the table in early communications. Don’t let them know that you know what they are required by law to do; give them enough rope to hang themselves.

 

Also, avoid form letters. They also may send up red flags. Form letters are fine to use as a template—a guide, so to speak—but your letter should be written by you, and relate to your specific circumstances.

 

3. Know the CA’s likely reactions to your dispute; accurate prediction of CA responses gives you an advantage

 

You are writing a dispute letter to elicit a response. If you are able to predict what the potential responses to your dispute letter may be, you are better prepared to take appropriate future actions. For example, how will you respond if the CA ignores your dispute letter? How will you respond if you are asked to submit an affidavit of fraud? How will you respond if they send you verification rather than validation? How will you respond if they send you partial validation? The time to think about these potential responses is before you write your first letter. Remember, you must look at the dispute process as a strategic series of actions that exist on a continuum, rather than as a series of unrelated interactions.

 

Now, let’s look at how this process might unfold through a series of letters:

 

Letter # 1: The Initial Dispute

 

February 22, 2007

 

Collection Agency

123 Main Street

Anywhere, USA 12345

 

Re: Collection Account of John Doe

Account # 1234567, in the amount of $500.00

 

Dear Collection Agency:

 

After being notified by a creditor that my application for credit was denied due to the appearance of a collection account on my credit report, I recently requested copies of my credit report from the three major consumer reporting agencies. Upon receipt of my credit reports, I noted the above referenced account was being reported by your company as a collection account.

 

I do not know who you are, or why you are reporting adverse information on my credit report. I do not recall ever having any business transactions with your company, I have never received any prior communication from your company regarding this alleged debt, and I do not recognize this alleged debt as being mine. I am therefore submitting this letter as my formal complaint that your company is reporting inaccurate information about me to the consumer reporting agencies, and I am requesting that your company immediately remove any and all reference to this alleged debt from my credit reports.

 

If you continue to maintain that I have some legal obligation to this alleged debt, I would request that your company properly validate the legitimacy of
its
claim by forwarding to me a copy of any application for credit and/or any contractual agreement bearing my signature that is associated with this account. Additionally, I would request that you forward to me the entire account history for this alleged debt, including all payments, credits and charge-offs associated with the account. If you are attempting to collect this debt on behalf of another company, please provide me with a copy of the contractual agreement that establishes your legal basis for the reporting and attempted collection of this alleged debt on behalf of another entity.

 

As your company’s reporting of this inaccurate information has already damaged my credit rating and caused me to be denied credit, I would appreciate your prompt response to this request
so
that further damages may be avoided. Additionally, all correspondence from your company should be committed to writing and sent via mail as phone calls are inconvenient for me.

 

Sincerely,

 

Joe Consumer

 

You’ve sent this letter by certified mail. After receiving delivery confirmation, you’ve followed up by disputing this debt with the CRAs. Thirty days have passed and the CA hasn’t responded to your DV, but they have reported the debt as being accurate to the CRAs. Now it’s time for your second letter—time to turn up the heat a bit.

 

Letter # 2: Follow-up Dispute

 

March 29, 2007

 

Collection Agency

123 Main Street

Anywhere, USA 12345

 

Re: Collection Account of John Doe

Account # 1234567, in the amount of $500.00

 

I previously sent you a letter disputing the legitimacy of the above referenced debt, and I requested that your company either remove
its
reporting of this alleged debt from my credit reports or provide me with legal evidence of
its
legitimacy. I have attached a copy of my previous letter to your company, dated February 22, 2007, for your convenience. To date, I have received no response to my request for validation of this alleged debt, and your company continues to inaccurately report this alleged debt to the consumer reporting agencies.

 

I am most disturbed by your company’s apparent disregard for the damages being inflicted upon my credit rating due to your inaccurate reporting of this alleged debt, as am I likewise concerned by your company’s willful disregard for federal consumer protection laws. As I’m sure you are aware, collection agencies are required by law to report only accurate information to consumer reporting agencies. Further, upon receipt of a consumer’s request for debt validation, your company is prohibited from continuing collection activities until such time as the consumer’s request for validation has been satisfied. Through your continued reporting of inaccurate information to the consumer reporting agencies, your company is engaging in a continued collection activity in violation of federal law.

 

I am even more concerned by your company’s intentional reporting of inaccurate information in an apparent effort to inflict maximum damage to my credit rating. Your company is reporting this alleged debt as both a collection account and an open account when, clearly, it cannot be both. Additionally, your company is reporting my agreement to repayment terms of one month and that I am more than 120 days late on payments, when no repayment agreements exist between me and your company. By reporting information to the consumer reporting agencies that you know to be inaccurate, you are clearly demonstrating willful non-compliance with federal consumer protection laws.

 

This letter serves as notice that you have 10 days from receipt of this letter to either provide the requested validation or delete your reporting of this alleged debt from the consumer reporting agencies. Your failure to comply with this request will necessitate my taking further legal actions to protect my consumer rights and credit rating, and my filing of complaints with the Better Business Bureau, Attorney General’s office, and Federal Trade Commission.

 

Sincerely,

 

Joe Consumer

 

Again, you’ve sent the letter by certified mail. Hopefully, the second letter will result in a deletion. However, they may again fail to respond. You must now decide whether you want to send a third letter and attach a copy of complaints you are prepared to file with the AG, BBB and FTC unless they delete their reporting to the CRAs within 10 days, whether you want to send notice of your intent to sue, or whether you should do both. The following letter is what I typically send for my third letter, and it has thus far proven 100% effective for me.

 

Letter # 3: Time for Action

 

April 15, 2007

 

Collection Agency

123 Main Street

Anywhere, USA 12345

 

Re: Collection Account of John Doe

Account # 1234567, in the amount of $500.00

 

NOTICE OF INTENT TO SUE

 

Dear Collection Agency:

 

I have sent you two previous letters regarding the above referenced account. To date, you have failed to respond to either of those letters and you continue to report inaccurate information about me to consumer reporting agencies. Your company’s inaccurate reporting of this alleged debt has caused me to be denied credit and has caused me actual financial damages. You have failed to validate this debt, and you have intentionally and knowingly provided false information to the consumer reporting agencies in an effort to inflict maximum damage upon my credit rating. Consequently, I now find it necessary to pursue further legal action to protect my consumer rights and credit rating.

 

This letter serves as notice of my intent to file suit against your company for
its
willful non-compliance with federal law. I have attached hereto a copy of the complaint that I intend to file in federal court and that will be served upon your registered agent. Also attached are copies of the complaints I intend to forward to the Better Business Bureau, Attorney General’s office, and the Federal Trade Commission.

 

You have 10 days from receipt of this letter to delete any and all reference to me and this alleged debt from any consumer reporting agency to which it was reported. If you should fail to comply with this demand, I will immediately commence litigation against your company and submit the attached complaints to the Better Business Bureau, Attorney General and Federal Trade Commission. I wish to make you further aware that your company’s sale, transfer, or assignment of this alleged debt to any other entity will likewise result in my taking immediate legal action against your company.

 

It is my utmost hope that your company will act upon this final demand
so
that further legal action will be unnecessary.

 

Sincerely,

 

Joe Consumer

You will notice that I have become increasingly demanding with each letter. If this goes before a judge, I want the judge to get the impression that I made reasonable requests and demands. Also, you will notice that I make general references to “federal laws,†rather than citing specific violations. Some people do cite specific violations. If that’s what works for them, great. I don’t do it because I don’t want to paint myself into a corner, and I don’t want to end up looking foolish in court, or perhaps hamstringing an attorney I might hire down the road.

 

Having said all this, I think it is important for me to say that this is what has worked well for me. Your letter writing strategy should be tailored to your specific situation. If you aren’t prepared to take legal action, don’t threaten it. Pursue remedies through other avenues first, such as filing BBB, AG, or FTC complaints. I use the method described above because I absolutely will file suit, although that is not my goal. My goal is to get them to delete. That should be your goal too. It’s one thing to say, “I’m going to sue this CA’s butt!†But the reality of litigation is that it’s expensive, time consuming, emotionally taxing, and risky. So avoid litigation if you can, and focus on restoring your good credit rating.

 

Hope this has been helpful. And remember, nothing in this post constitutes legal advice. :P

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wow that is wonderful! sticky worthy! I think it should go in the newbies section, I know when I first started an outline like this would have been really helpful for me instead of just firing off the first DV that I thought sounded good, not necessarily the one that fit my situation best

 

You obviously took a lot of time writing this! A+!

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Just playing devil's advocate here to get some ideas. Here's a reaction not accounted for:

 

"Dear consumer,

 

We sent you a letter about this debt more than 30 days ago and you failed to request validation. As I'm sure you're well aware, we are not required to validate if you do not request it within 30 days of the initial communication. We can also continue collection activities, which include reporting this account to the CRA's. Nice try. Have a great day."

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Just playing devil's advocate here to get some ideas. Here's a reaction not accounted for:

 

"Dear consumer,

 

We sent you a letter about this debt more than 30 days ago and you failed to request validation. As I'm sure you're well aware, we are not required to validate if you do not request it within 30 days of the initial communication. We can also continue collection activities, which include reporting this account to the CRA's. Nice try. Have a great day."

 

Actually, that's the very purpose of writing in the first letter "I've never received any prior communication from your company regarding this alleged debt...". Maybe they respond as you've stated, maybe they don't. If they fail to respond that way, it helps to document no prior communication. Even if they do respond that way, you can still say, "As I mentioned in my previous letter, I've never received any previous communication from your company regarding this debt. I have no idea what you may have previously sent or where you sent it, but I have certainly never received any prior communication from you regarding your claim that I have some legal obligation to this alleged debt."

 

Again, it also goes back to writing a letter for your specific circumstances. These letters are supposed to serve as a general example, not as the standard. :)

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Just playing devil's advocate here to get some ideas. Here's a reaction not accounted for:

 

"Dear consumer,

 

We sent you a letter about this debt more than 30 days ago and you failed to request validation. As I'm sure you're well aware, we are not required to validate if you do not request it within 30 days of the initial communication. We can also continue collection activities, which include reporting this account to the CRA's. Nice try. Have a great day."

 

 

Sorry, but that would not cut it. You need to do a little more homework here. The onus is on them to prove everything. Also, do some more reading about requesting (timeframe) validation.

 

I know there's a lot of information to absorb here, but maybe take it a little slower until it all sinks in.

 

OP: EXCELLENT WORK!!!!!!!!!!! :)

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Just playing devil's advocate here to get some ideas. Here's a reaction not accounted for:

 

"Dear consumer,

 

We sent you a letter about this debt more than 30 days ago and you failed to request validation. As I'm sure you're well aware, we are not required to validate if you do not request it within 30 days of the initial communication. We can also continue collection activities, which include reporting this account to the CRA's. Nice try. Have a great day."

 

 

Sorry, but that would not cut it. You need to do a little more homework here. The onus is on them to prove everything. Also, do some more reading about requesting (timeframe) validation.

 

I know there's a lot of information to absorb here, but maybe take it a little slower until it all sinks in.

 

OP: EXCELLENT WORK!!!!!!!!!!! :P

 

Perhaps you can help with my homework. What, in this case (this case meaning a DV sent outside the 30 day window), does the CA have to prove? That they sent an initial letter? I imagine that's done pretty easily.

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Just playing devil's advocate here to get some ideas. Here's a reaction not accounted for:

 

"Dear consumer,

 

We sent you a letter about this debt more than 30 days ago and you failed to request validation. As I'm sure you're well aware, we are not required to validate if you do not request it within 30 days of the initial communication. We can also continue collection activities, which include reporting this account to the CRA's. Nice try. Have a great day."

 

 

Sorry, but that would not cut it. You need to do a little more homework here. The onus is on them to prove everything. Also, do some more reading about requesting (timeframe) validation.

 

I know there's a lot of information to absorb here, but maybe take it a little slower until it all sinks in.

 

OP: EXCELLENT WORK!!!!!!!!!!! :P

 

Perhaps you can help with my homework. What, in this case (this case meaning a DV sent outside the 30 day window), does the CA have to prove? That they sent an initial letter? I imagine that's done pretty easily.

 

They say they sent you a letter previously, but they have no PROOF.

 

You say they never sent it, and you have no PROOF.

 

In a court of law, they are the party that bears the burden of PROOF, because they are required by law to provide such notice. The consumer has no burden of proof that they never received it. How does one proove they never received something?

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Just playing devil's advocate here to get some ideas. Here's a reaction not accounted for:

 

"Dear consumer,

 

We sent you a letter about this debt more than 30 days ago and you failed to request validation. As I'm sure you're well aware, we are not required to validate if you do not request it within 30 days of the initial communication. We can also continue collection activities, which include reporting this account to the CRA's. Nice try. Have a great day."

 

 

Sorry, but that would not cut it. You need to do a little more homework here. The onus is on them to prove everything. Also, do some more reading about requesting (timeframe) validation.

 

I know there's a lot of information to absorb here, but maybe take it a little slower until it all sinks in.

 

OP: EXCELLENT WORK!!!!!!!!!!! :P

 

Perhaps you can help with my homework. What, in this case (this case meaning a DV sent outside the 30 day window), does the CA have to prove? That they sent an initial letter? I imagine that's done pretty easily.

 

They say they sent you a letter previously, but they have no PROOF.

 

You say they never sent it, and you have no PROOF.

 

In a court of law, they are the party that bears the burden of PROOF, because they are required by law to provide such notice. The consumer has no burden of proof that they never received it. How does one proove they never received something?

 

Actually there was a discussion yesterday (can't find it) that pointed out case law that if they mailed it to an address it is assumed you received it...... which didn't seem fair... let me look...

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Just playing devil's advocate here to get some ideas. Here's a reaction not accounted for:

 

"Dear consumer,

 

We sent you a letter about this debt more than 30 days ago and you failed to request validation. As I'm sure you're well aware, we are not required to validate if you do not request it within 30 days of the initial communication. We can also continue collection activities, which include reporting this account to the CRA's. Nice try. Have a great day."

 

 

Sorry, but that would not cut it. You need to do a little more homework here. The onus is on them to prove everything. Also, do some more reading about requesting (timeframe) validation.

 

I know there's a lot of information to absorb here, but maybe take it a little slower until it all sinks in.

 

OP: EXCELLENT WORK!!!!!!!!!!! :P

 

Perhaps you can help with my homework. What, in this case (this case meaning a DV sent outside the 30 day window), does the CA have to prove? That they sent an initial letter? I imagine that's done pretty easily.

 

They say they sent you a letter previously, but they have no PROOF.

 

You say they never sent it, and you have no PROOF.

 

In a court of law, they are the party that bears the burden of PROOF, because they are required by law to provide such notice. The consumer has no burden of proof that they never received it. How does one proove they never received something?

 

Actually there was a discussion yesterday (can't find it) that pointed out case law that if they mailed it to an address it is assumed you received it...... which didn't seem fair... let me look...

 

Yeah, I've seen it. Sure, they are going to submit something that SAYS they sent it to you, but it won't be certified. So it then becomes a matter of credibility. In my own experiences dealing with CAs, they will give the court plenty of reasons to question their credibility. My argument to the judge would be, "Your Honor, if this CA is willing to provide fictitious information to the consumer reporting agencies, claiming a collection account is an open account, claiming I have agreed to repayment terms that don't exist, and making other false claims, there is no reason to believe that they would not likewise present fictitious information to the Court."

 

Edited to add: A judge is going to be looking at the totality of a CAs actions to determine their INTENT. If a CA is claiming it sent prior notice, and a judge is going to attempt to make a determination regarding the credibility of the CA's claim, he's going to look at other issues too: Were the CA's actions reasonalbe? Did the CA act responsibly in investigating your claim that the debt was not yours? How does the CA's claim that they acted in accordance with law weigh against their duty to provide only accurate information? Did they ever provide validation? Did they ever correct inaccurate reporting? How and when did they respond to the CRA dispute notification?

 

There's a lot that goes into it. A CA doesn't get a free pass just because they "claim" to have sent proper notice.

Edited by BMac

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Just playing devil's advocate here to get some ideas. Here's a reaction not accounted for:

 

"Dear consumer,

 

We sent you a letter about this debt more than 30 days ago and you failed to request validation. As I'm sure you're well aware, we are not required to validate if you do not request it within 30 days of the initial communication. We can also continue collection activities, which include reporting this account to the CRA's. Nice try. Have a great day."

 

 

Sorry, but that would not cut it. You need to do a little more homework here. The onus is on them to prove everything. Also, do some more reading about requesting (timeframe) validation.

 

I know there's a lot of information to absorb here, but maybe take it a little slower until it all sinks in.

 

OP: EXCELLENT WORK!!!!!!!!!!! :clapping:

 

Perhaps you can help with my homework. What, in this case (this case meaning a DV sent outside the 30 day window), does the CA have to prove? That they sent an initial letter? I imagine that's done pretty easily.

 

They say they sent you a letter previously, but they have no PROOF.

 

You say they never sent it, and you have no PROOF.

 

In a court of law, they are the party that bears the burden of PROOF, because they are required by law to provide such notice. The consumer has no burden of proof that they never received it. How does one proove they never received something?

 

Actually there was a discussion yesterday (can't find it) that pointed out case law that if they mailed it to an address it is assumed you received it...... which didn't seem fair... let me look...

 

 

It was me who asked the question and got that answer.....that's precisely why I'm playing devil's advocate today. Part of the reason that these boards are hard to digest is that there is so much conflicting information being passed around.

 

A fun and informative thread would be for two experts to get together and play CA Vs. Consumer, where they write letters to each other.

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Just playing devil's advocate here to get some ideas. Here's a reaction not accounted for:

 

"Dear consumer,

 

We sent you a letter about this debt more than 30 days ago and you failed to request validation. As I'm sure you're well aware, we are not required to validate if you do not request it within 30 days of the initial communication. We can also continue collection activities, which include reporting this account to the CRA's. Nice try. Have a great day."

 

 

Sorry, but that would not cut it. You need to do a little more homework here. The onus is on them to prove everything. Also, do some more reading about requesting (timeframe) validation.

 

I know there's a lot of information to absorb here, but maybe take it a little slower until it all sinks in.

 

OP: EXCELLENT WORK!!!!!!!!!!! :blush2:

 

Perhaps you can help with my homework. What, in this case (this case meaning a DV sent outside the 30 day window), does the CA have to prove? That they sent an initial letter? I imagine that's done pretty easily.

 

They say they sent you a letter previously, but they have no PROOF.

 

You say they never sent it, and you have no PROOF.

 

In a court of law, they are the party that bears the burden of PROOF, because they are required by law to provide such notice. The consumer has no burden of proof that they never received it. How does one proove they never received something?

 

Actually there was a discussion yesterday (can't find it) that pointed out case law that if they mailed it to an address it is assumed you received it...... which didn't seem fair... let me look...

 

Yeah, I've seen it. Sure, they are going to submit something that SAYS they sent it to you, but it won't be certified. So it then becomes a matter of credibility. In my own experiences dealing with CAs, they will give the court plenty of reasons to question their credibility. My argument to the judge would be, "Your Honor, if this CA is willing to provide fictitious information to the consumer reporting agencies, claiming a collection account is an open account, claiming I have agreed to repayment terms that don't exist, and making other false claims, there is no reason to believe that they would not likewise present fictitious information to the Court."

 

Edited to add: A judge is going to be looking at the totality of a CAs actions to determine their INTENT. If a CA is claiming it sent prior notice, and a judge is going to attempt to make a determination regarding the credibility of the CA's claim, he's going to look at other issues too: Were the CA's actions reasonalbe? Did the CA act responsibly in investigating your claim that the debt was not yours? How does the CA's claim that they acted in accordance with law weigh against their duty to provide only accurate information? Did they ever provide validation? Did they ever correct inaccurate reporting? How and when did they respond to the CRA dispute notification?

 

There's a lot that goes into it. A CA doesn't get a free pass just because they "claim" to have sent proper notice.

 

Here you go: http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getc...th/9717298.html

 

Basically it says that the CA can reasonably assume that you received their communication, provided they mailed it to the correct address. Unfortunately, I guess they could also use this and lie if they never sent any.

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You'll notice that the Court's decision stated:

 

"The evidence established,
without a genuine dispute of any material fact
, that the Credit Bureau sent

the required Notice to the Mahons."

 

And that is the point of saying, in your initial communication with a CA, that you never received any prior information from them. Maybe they sent it, maybe they didn't. But it can only help a consumer if they maintain from the very beginning that they've never received any proper notice from the CA. If the CA can validate, they probably will. If they don't validate, it's probably because they can't. And if they can't validate, they can't win a judgment. So I'm of the opinion that you should maintain that you've never received any validation or any prior communication from the CA. If they won't validate, escalate it. A CA that has no proof of a debt owed by a consumer, and risks losing their butt in court because of violations, is likely going to want to delete and move on to easier prey.

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You'll notice that the Court's decision stated:

 

"The evidence established,
without a genuine dispute of any material fact
, that the Credit Bureau sent

the required Notice to the Mahons."

 

And that is the point of saying, in your initial communication with a CA, that you never received any prior information from them. Maybe they sent it, maybe they didn't. But it can only help a consumer if they maintain from the very beginning that they've never received any proper notice from the CA. If the CA can validate, they probably will. If they don't validate, it's probably because they can't. And if they can't validate, they can't win a judgment. So I'm of the opinion that you should maintain that you've never received any validation or any prior communication from the CA. If they won't validate, escalate it. A CA that has no proof of a debt owed by a consumer, and risks losing their butt in court because of violations, is likely going to want to delete and move on to easier prey.

 

I Gotcha, and I am basing my validation letters on never receiving prior communication. I was looking at the ultimate end-game, based on the CA proceeding exactly as requird by law. How funny is that?

 

It would be interesting to see the outcome of an argument where it is alleged that the CA never sent communicaion in the first place. I apologize for hijacking an otherwise fantastic thread on letter-writing stragety.

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You'll notice that the Court's decision stated:

 

"The evidence established,
without a genuine dispute of any material fact
, that the Credit Bureau sent

the required Notice to the Mahons."

 

And that is the point of saying, in your initial communication with a CA, that you never received any prior information from them. Maybe they sent it, maybe they didn't. But it can only help a consumer if they maintain from the very beginning that they've never received any proper notice from the CA. If the CA can validate, they probably will. If they don't validate, it's probably because they can't. And if they can't validate, they can't win a judgment. So I'm of the opinion that you should maintain that you've never received any validation or any prior communication from the CA. If they won't validate, escalate it. A CA that has no proof of a debt owed by a consumer, and risks losing their butt in court because of violations, is likely going to want to delete and move on to easier prey.

 

I Gotcha, and I am basing my validation letters on never receiving prior communication. I was looking at the ultimate end-game, based on the CA proceeding exactly as requird by law. How funny is that?

 

It would be interesting to see the outcome of an argument where it is alleged that the CA never sent communicaion in the first place. I apologize for hijacking an otherwise fantastic thread on letter-writing stragety.

 

No worries. You actually raise a very good point--a point that illustrates the importance of thinking about your strategy before you ever begin your letter writing campaign. These letters are being written to provide an evidence trail. It's important to establish in your first letter to a CA that you never received any prior notice from them of this debt. You don't want to be in a situation down the road where a judge is thinking, "If the consumer maintains that they never received notice of this debt, why didn't they say so in their first communication to the CA?" It would be far more preferable for the judge to be thinking, "If the consumer told the CA in their first communication that they didn't have any prior notice of this debt and were requesting validation, why did the CA continue attempting to collect this debt without providing the requested validation?"

 

It's also very important to get the CA to show their hand early in the game, so you can adjust your strategy. They will generally provide validation if they are able. That tells you that you need to adjust your game plan. If they send you weak validation, you can argue that what they sent you does not constitute proper validation. If they do have good validation, it's still likely that they have committed violations in their reporting and attempted collection of the debt. So you can then attempt to settle with them--they agree to delete and you agree not to sue. And if that doesn't work, then you can attempt to negotiate a PFD. Of course, you can't do any of these things if you don't know what cards the CA is holding--so put them in a position where they have to lay their cards on the table early on in the game.

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Good work BMAC!

I liked your letters. I am going to use them myself. I like that your left out specific law statutes as I plan to go after FCRA violations as well. I’m no expert., but it looks to me like all bases are covered. :clapping:

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...that illustrates the importance of thinking about your strategy before you ever begin your letter writing campaign. These letters are being written to provide an evidence trail. It's important to establish in your first letter to a CA that you never received any prior notice from them of this debt. You don't want to be in a situation down the road where a judge is thinking, "If the consumer maintains that they never received notice of this debt, why didn't they say so in their first communication to the CA?" It would be far more preferable for the judge to be thinking, "If the consumer told the CA in their first communication that they didn't have any prior notice of this debt and were requesting validation, why did the CA continue attempting to collect this debt without providing the requested validation?"

 

People should print this out and put it above their computer! It's like a chess game and you've got to be thinking a couple of moves ahead.

 

The idea isn't to poke through the forums, find an impressive sounding letter and fire it off, it's to consider how many steps its going to take and what each step involves and could involve, where each step is going to go and where it could go, etc.

 

I bet the CAs have a box with letters they think are funny--ones that sound pompous, ridiculous, and miss the point.

 

Your advice about setting the right tone for third parties, such as judges, who might eventually read those letters--who could ultimately have to make decisions based on them--is excellent. It just makes it less likely that it will ever get to that point.

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Playing devil's advocate:

 

What about the theory of < = > ? Those letters seem a tad long winded. Why not keep it short, sweet & simple?

Edited by jomak_nyc

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