I sent my creditor a verification of debt letter requesting the account statments that say I owe what they say I owe. They sent a letter back stating that they already sent me verification. but they have not. what is my next step.
2 Answers from Attorneys
You will probably find it to be no surprise that as an Attorney, I recommend that your next step should be to contact an Attorney.
If you can scan/email or fax your verification letter and their response, I would be happy to review them and provide my assessment at no charge to you.
Email: [email protected]
It is hard to say without knowing what you sent them, and what they sent you, whether they have adhered to the law or not. Please refer to the following law:
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act § 809. Validation of debts. 15 USC 1692g.
This seems to be the commonly accepted standard across most jurisdictions.
Verification of a debt involves nothing more than the debt collector confirming in writing that the amount being demanded is what the creditor is claiming is owed; the debt collector is not required to keep detailed files of the alleged debt. Consistent with the legislative history, verification is only intended to "eliminate the ... problem of debt collectors dunning the wrong person or attempting to collect debts which the consumer has already paid." There is no concomitant obligation to forward copies of bills or other detailed evidence of the debt. Chaudhry v. Gallerizzo, 174 F. 3rd 394, 406 (4th Cir. 1999).
Many consumers are misinformed that "verification" means something entirely different, and use form letters that they find on the internet hoping to make collection agencies provide much more than they are required to at this stage. If the case reaches litigation, and they can't provide certain documents as proof of an account belonging to you... then that's another story.
However, if you know that they account is yours, rather than "trying to fight it" - it's likely that your best bet is to work out a payment arrangment to get the debt paid. Unless of course you are attempting to file bankruptcy - which is again, another story.