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Samples letters are not your friend when it comes to Validation


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http://creditboards.com/forums/index.php?a...mp;showentry=44

 

I'm stealing Centex's quote from today:

Use tailored letters to address your specific problems...generic is not your friend.

Sample letters are a wonderful template to get you started. I have horrible writing skills. I'll be the first to admit. My grammar sucks, I don't have the eloquence many others here do, and frankly I hate to write (despite my love for reading).

 

I'll also admit when I first started sending out letters, I had no idea in Hades what I was doing, so I simply did the copy and paste thing. It came back to bite me a few times and I worked through it, but if I could go back and do it again, I would have read more before I started. I was just so excited to find CB and get going!

 

So, today, I want to talk about DVs to the CAs. Every person is different and every situation requires a different strategy. However none of them will be as effective without validation. It should be one of the first two steps in your plan.

 

I want to emphasize, ALWAYS validate. Even if you've already talked to the CA, even if you're SURE it's yours, even if you're making payments to them, even if it's been on your reports for 2 years and you can't done a darn thing with it: VALIDATE! VALIDATE! VALIDATE!

 

So, what can you do to write a better DV letter? Make it personal, while keeping the core items of your DV intact.

1. take a piece of paper and write down the issues. For example, "NCO inserted TL on my CR, no other communication" or "NCO called me 15 times today in less than 10 min" or "Zombie Debt from 10 years ago, past SOL." You might have one issue with this or 15. Write them down. This is different from violations.

 

 

 

2. In another column, write down any violations that have occurred. Not ones that MIGHT have, but ones you are sure about. If you're not sure, review the FDCPA and section 623 of the FCRA.

 

 

 

3. A basic DV usually (but not always) contains the following:

  • The word dispute. Be clear in what you're doing.
  • if this is first contact, then say so. If this is timely (within 30 days), then say so.
  • a limited C&D if you desire

I realize that list is small, but a DV is actually quite simple. I've sent 1 paragraph DVs, and I recently sent a 4 page DV (they had a lot of state and federal violations). A DV can be as simple as this:

Date

 

Re: Account # 123456787

 

Dear CA,

 

I dispute your claims in their entirety and request validation pursuant to the FDCPA.

 

Sincerely,

 

Joe Consumer

I don't recommend that DV, but it still serves the purpose of asking for validation.

 

 

 

4. Don't demand a bunch of stuff that isn't required. If you read the FDCPA, you'll see that they purposely left it vague as to what the CA is required to give you. This is where state laws come in handy. There are many states that have added consumer protection. Always start there. Since the FDCPA is not specific, I have a phrase I use that I do not know if its effective (or even proper to use), but I feel conveys what I'm looking for:

This is not a refusal to pay, but a notice that your claim is disputed in full. Please send full validation as intended by the spirit of the FDCPA. If proof of this debt can not be obtained and forwarded, I will assume there is no proof and will consider this matter with your company closed and expect immediate removal of all notations of this account to any and all credit reporting agencies to which you are currently reporting.

Are they required to remove it? No. Am I specifically asking for the contract with the OC for example? No. But I feel from my experience that the spirit of the FDCPA is for a CA to provide you with enough proof that the debt is indeed yours. Would I want to argue "the spirit of the FDCPA" in court? Probably not :o But this is what I've used to make my letters my own. Find your method.

 

 

 

5. If they are reporting, include a FCRA dispute as well. Be specific, just like the FCRA requires you to be. Find errors in their reporting. Look at your list of issues and violations from above, is it just FDCPA issues, or reporting issues as well? The FDCPA does not govern how they report to the CRAs, but the FCRA does put burdens on them as a data furnisher (DF). Use this section to your full advantage. If you dispute their reporting under the FCRA, they HAVE to respond to you within 30 days, the FDCPA has no such requirement. Read it. Think about it.

 

I also will suggest that if you are past your initial 30 days AND they are reporting, do a dispute the the CRAs first. If you are within your first 30 days, DO NOT hesitate to get the letter out. DO IT TODAY.

 

 

 

 

Overall, a DV is a simple process.... you are just disputing the debt. The real question is, do you want to do a circle jerk with them for a year or more on DVs that don't get responded to? Or do you want to hit them hard from the beginning and get it over with as soon as possible?

 

 

 

I have three warnings here.

 

1. Don't threaten to sue if you have no intentions of it. It makes you look frivolous.

2. You need to weigh the risks of being sued if it is within SOL for your state. See whychats thread on Why You May Not Want to "Clean" Your Report

3. Do NOT send a letter you do not understand. If you don't understand the FCRA for example, then you might be better off using the simple DV posted above until you do and holding off on the 623 dispute until a later time.

 

 

 

I've written much more in the past about the validation process and why I think the "kitchen sink" DV is a bad idea. I've tried to make a quick summary here, please let me know if I left anything out.

 

Enjoy.

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Agree completely with the concept of keeping it real and not generic. I do a couple things that vary from what many people do, however...

 

1) I will never threaten to sue, even if I do intend to sue. Regardless of legitimate intent or not, I believe it makes an individual person look less serious. No, if I'm going to sue, I'll give them every required and reasonable chance to do the right thing, then just sue if it comes to that. I've never actually gotten that far, though.

 

2) I do not cite chapter & verse of credit law. Again, unless I'm an attorney, I feel it makes the letter writer look like they're just copying a generic letter and blowing hot air. I may whip in some verbiage like "...according to applicable law", but that's it. Just enough to let them know that I know I have rights on my side, too. Besides, they already know the law, even if they do choose to ignore it.

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2) I do not cite chapter & verse of credit law. Again, unless I'm an attorney, I feel it makes the letter writer look like they're just copying a generic letter and blowing hot air. I may whip in some verbiage like "...according to applicable law", but that's it. Just enough to let them know that I know I have rights on my side, too. Besides, they already know the law, even if they do choose to ignore it.

 

this is where you and I differ (among many others B)). What's ok about that though, is both approaches work.

 

It really is finding an approach that works for you and sticking with it.

 

 

I like your point in #1....

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This was a great post! It's so easy to want to use a template even though you shouldn't.

 

I'd just like to add one thing, though. When you are DVing a medical bill, it really is best to use Why Chat's templates just as written if you are using the Why Chat process (though I have found a missing period or two I added back in). They are very carefully written to take care of medical issues and you are taking a risk to deviate from them. Not saying it might not work equally well if you deviate-it's possible it might-but if you deviate you run the risk of changing something crucial.

 

But for all other DVing you want to do, this post has some very sound advice, and my vote is it should go in the bookmarks.

Edited by whatsanenigma
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Awesome. I tend to read samples, gather my facts, then try to go from there. and i always walk away from what i wrote, and come back and re read it.....i noticed that i tend to get heated when i am writing, and i dont want to show that, so i walk away, come back later, or next day. re read and edit it accordingly. heaven forbid i give them a clue i am upset or they have gotten under my skin. wont do it. too stubborn!!!

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This was a great post! It's so easy to want to use a template even though you shouldn't.

 

I'd just like to add one thing, though. When you are DVing a medical bill, it really is best to use Why Chat's templates just as written if you are using the Why Chat process (though I have found a missing period or two I added back in). They are very carefully written to take care of medical issues and you are taking a risk to deviate from them. Not saying it might not work equally well if you deviate-it's possible it might-but if you deviate you run the risk of changing something crucial.

 

But for all other DVing you want to do, this post has some very sound advice, and my vote is it should go in the bookmarks.

 

you're right, I should have added a medical issue exception.

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As a newbie, it is so easy to rely on what one might see as "standard." The samples are just that.

 

I advise folks new at this to freeze for at least a month. Seriously. Understand EVERYTHING. Read the different "positions." Different people do things in different ways; find out why. Figure out which methods work for you, and perfect those methods.

 

Never, ever copy and paste.

 

Understand validation. Thoroughly. To paraphrase the author of this thread, don't rely on it just because we say so; go read and understand the underlying laws.

 

Search like crazy for info on the enemy. Understand their strengths and weaknesses.

 

Never feel shy to have a vet or two troubleshoot your letter before it goes out.

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Yep. Don't be daunted by unhelpful "Google is your friend" responses. Ask anyway.

 

Truth be told, Google is NOT your friend for most of the questions you'd want to ask here. There is so much misinformation out there on the web in general and some really intense people promoting it. I do not claim to be an expert, though I am learning quite a bit about some things, but there are many actual experts here on creditboards who at the very least will not lead you into damaging actions!

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you're right, I should have added a medical issue exception.

 

Really, it probably doesn't even pertain to most of the people looking for help on these boards, so most people reading the advice don't need to know about the medical issue exception (and if they aren't following Why Chat's process for some reason, then the advice in this thread is equally valid for medical and nonmedical issues).

 

But because medical CAs were the majority of the problems on my credit reports, I'm so immersed in it that I notice things like this that could be important.

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But because medical CAs were the majority of the problems on my credit reports, I'm so immersed in it that I notice things like this that could be important.

 

medical was 90% of my problems. I had very little success with whychat's method, but I have a feeling that was newbie user-error. :grin: There are LOTS of success stories using whychat method, so I ALWAYS suggest people start there first :rofl:

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I've found that form letters sometimes can be useful, especially when establishing a paper trail and trying to get further violations. I recently sent 3 long form letters, CMRR of course, to a JDB requesting validation knowing that they would be laughed at and ignored. I added a customized paragraph to the 3rd letter and immediately received their version of validation which included a looooooooooong list of violations. When I received their validation letter I didn't know if I should send the lady that sent it flowers, or a letter complaining that she had included too many violations as it substantially increased my paperwork ;) By doing this I was also able to establish a paper trail showing that they had ignored my first two request for validation.

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I've found that form letters sometimes can be useful, especially when establishing a paper trail and trying to get further violations. I recently sent 3 long form letters, CMRR of course, to a JDB requesting validation knowing that they would be laughed at and ignored. I added a customized paragraph to the 3rd letter and immediately received their version of validation which included a looooooooooong list of violations. When I received their validation letter I didn't know if I should send the lady that sent it flowers, or a letter complaining that she had included too many violations as it substantially increased my paperwork :angry: By doing this I was also able to establish a paper trail showing that they had ignored my first two request for validation.

 

 

Point being, the long "DNA" DVs are perfect guides. They can be used for the salamander CAs that are run out of apartments... you know, the ones that prey on really unsophisticated consumers.

 

However, that same letter will have the opposite effect on experienced collectors. If I were a collector that received a "story" DV, I would thank my stars, hopeful in the fact that this person does not really understand the rules, so much so that they sent a letter used by thousands before him. Heck, I might even win... :angry:

 

It's like a DV to a CA for a cable collection, asking for a signed agreement. Really? I'd be licking my chops. I'd ask for my money one more time before filing suit. All I'd need in court a few months of payments that you made (in theory).

 

So, I still say, read the samples, digest them, understand what validation is and what it accomplishes. Then write your own.

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I've found that form letters sometimes can be useful, especially when establishing a paper trail and trying to get further violations.

 

Unless the CA had done something particularly insidious and pissed me off, I'm not interested in racking up the violations. I just want it fixed.

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http://creditboards.com/forums/index.php?a...mp;showentry=44

 

I'm stealing Centex's quote from today:

Use tailored letters to address your specific problems...generic is not your friend.

Sample letters are a wonderful template to get you started. I have horrible writing skills. I'll be the first to admit. My grammar sucks, I don't have the eloquence many others here do, and frankly I hate to write (despite my love for reading).

 

I'll also admit when I first started sending out letters, I had no idea in Hades what I was doing, so I simply did the copy and paste thing. It came back to bite me a few times and I worked through it, but if I could go back and do it again, I would have read more before I started. I was just so excited to find CB and get going!

 

So, today, I want to talk about DVs to the CAs. Every person is different and every situation requires a different strategy. However none of them will be as effective without validation. It should be one of the first two steps in your plan.

 

I want to emphasize, ALWAYS validate. Even if you've already talked to the CA, even if you're SURE it's yours, even if you're making payments to them, even if it's been on your reports for 2 years and you can't done a darn thing with it: VALIDATE! VALIDATE! VALIDATE!

 

So, what can you do to write a better DV letter? Make it personal, while keeping the core items of your DV intact.

1. take a piece of paper and write down the issues. For example, "NCO inserted TL on my CR, no other communication" or "NCO called me 15 times today in less than 10 min" or "Zombie Debt from 10 years ago, past SOL." You might have one issue with this or 15. Write them down. This is different from violations.

 

 

 

2. In another column, write down any violations that have occurred. Not ones that MIGHT have, but ones you are sure about. If you're not sure, review the FDCPA and section 623 of the FCRA.

 

 

 

3. A basic DV usually (but not always) contains the following:

  • The word dispute. Be clear in what you're doing.
  • if this is first contact, then say so. If this is timely (within 30 days), then say so.
  • a limited C&D if you desire

I realize that list is small, but a DV is actually quite simple. I've sent 1 paragraph DVs, and I recently sent a 4 page DV (they had a lot of state and federal violations). A DV can be as simple as this:

Date

 

Re: Account # 123456787

 

Dear CA,

 

I dispute your claims in their entirety and request validation pursuant to the FDCPA.

 

Sincerely,

 

Joe Consumer

I don't recommend that DV, but it still serves the purpose of asking for validation.

 

 

 

4. Don't demand a bunch of stuff that isn't required. If you read the FDCPA, you'll see that they purposely left it vague as to what the CA is required to give you. This is where state laws come in handy. There are many states that have added consumer protection. Always start there. Since the FDCPA is not specific, I have a phrase I use that I do not know if its effective (or even proper to use), but I feel conveys what I'm looking for:

This is not a refusal to pay, but a notice that your claim is disputed in full. Please send full validation as intended by the spirit of the FDCPA. If proof of this debt can not be obtained and forwarded, I will assume there is no proof and will consider this matter with your company closed and expect immediate removal of all notations of this account to any and all credit reporting agencies to which you are currently reporting.

Are they required to remove it? No. Am I specifically asking for the contract with the OC for example? No. But I feel from my experience that the spirit of the FDCPA is for a CA to provide you with enough proof that the debt is indeed yours. Would I want to argue "the spirit of the FDCPA" in court? Probably not :rofl: But this is what I've used to make my letters my own. Find your method.

 

 

 

5. If they are reporting, include a FCRA dispute as well. Be specific, just like the FCRA requires you to be. Find errors in their reporting. Look at your list of issues and violations from above, is it just FDCPA issues, or reporting issues as well? The FDCPA does not govern how they report to the CRAs, but the FCRA does put burdens on them as a data furnisher (DF). Use this section to your full advantage. If you dispute their reporting under the FCRA, they HAVE to respond to you within 30 days, the FDCPA has no such requirement. Read it. Think about it.

 

I also will suggest that if you are past your initial 30 days AND they are reporting, do a dispute the the CRAs first. If you are within your first 30 days, DO NOT hesitate to get the letter out. DO IT TODAY.

 

 

 

 

Overall, a DV is a simple process.... you are just disputing the debt. The real question is, do you want to do a circle jerk with them for a year or more on DVs that don't get responded to? Or do you want to hit them hard from the beginning and get it over with as soon as possible?

 

 

 

I have three warnings here.

 

1. Don't threaten to sue if you have no intentions of it. It makes you look frivolous.

2. You need to weigh the risks of being sued if it is within SOL for your state. See whychats thread on Why You May Not Want to "Clean" Your Report

3. Do NOT send a letter you do not understand. If you don't understand the FCRA for example, then you might be better off using the simple DV posted above until you do and holding off on the 623 dispute until a later time.

 

I've written much more in the past about the validation process and why I think the "kitchen sink" DV is a bad idea. I've tried to make a quick summary here, please let me know if I left anything out.

 

Enjoy.

:rofl: Very very good and yes so many people make these errors when they start credit repair and going after a CA/JDB or removals. If is is past the SOL and you are certain yes I think you can be a bit more assertive but keep your ace in the holes to yourself.

Edited by cocomad
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