Advice on Disputing Collections

Discussion in 'Credit Talk' started by wickedaj87, Jul 15, 2014.

  1. wickedaj87

    wickedaj87 New Member

    This is my first time writing to this forum and I could use some advice so I'll just jump right in to it.

    I'm 26, and my credit score is 568 with Experian (which is what it seems most places where I live use) and I have 19 open collections on my account. ALL of which are medical collections from 2009 and up (until this past year I was in and out of the ER before and after a kidney removal) so it's all medical debt.

    It used to be 21 but I Disputed all of them with the "I have no knowledge of this debt/this is not me" reason and got it down to 19.

    Right now, I need help with knowing my options and how to proceed so that I can stop feeling like I'm in this dark hole I can't ever crawl out of. My bank won't lend to me, I can't get loans but I pay all my bills in full and on time. I have no credit cards (because the APR at my score level is outrageous).

    A lot of these accounts have my last name WITHOUT the apostrophe in it. (O'Neil), can I dispute this as being not me?

    North Carolina's SOL for medical debt says it's 3 years, but what does this mean exactly? Does this mean that they have to close the account after 3 years but it remains on my credit report for up to 7? Can I dispute open accounts if this is the case?

    Also, any advice on how I can bring up my score or remove these collections?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. jam237

    jam237 Well-Known Member

    To survive a NOT MINE dispute, they only need to match 2 of 4 identifiers. NAME, ADDRESS, SSN, DOB

    That is why 19 of your accounts survived the NOT MINE dispute.

    To learn more, I recommend you look at Johnson v. MBNA, it explains the dispute process, and what they need to verify and to what level, for a particular dispute.

    Are the 19 accounts with a collection agency?

    Did you send a validation letter to the collection agency?

    (If not, and if you had, BEFORE you asked the CRA to verify, they couldn't verify until AFTER they obtained and mailed you the validation. - YOU may be able to get the CRAs to do a second dispute, but it's rare, typically they will like to stamp them as being frivolous after they've been verified once. But you may find some success by adding references to caselaw requiring them to CONCLUSIVELY verify the dispute, as opposed to a CURSORY review of the dispute.)

    SOL means that they can not sue you after the 3 year time period. That has nothing to do with the length of reporting. Just that the account no longer has a legal status that would allow them to go to court for the debt.
  3. wickedaj87

    wickedaj87 New Member

    Thank you for the information Jam! I'm sorry about my delayed response (power went out during weather in our area).

    Yes, I sent a validation letter to each collection agency (there are 4 in total with FDS housing most of the collections). One of them responded back within a week showing all the accounts they had for me. I'll scan my original letter with their reply for reference when I get home tonight. Their reply concerned me though because it sounds to me that they're saying they don't have to report to me any verification but it is a HIGH possibility I used the wrong reference when I sent my validation request.

    For the SOL, does the effect whether it's being reported as "Closed" or "Open" as well? For example, a number of these accounts are marked as Open when the 3 year SOL has expired. Should they still say Open or can I dispute for them to be closed?

    Thanks again!
  4. jam237

    jam237 Well-Known Member

    The question is where the "OPEN" or "CLOSED" notations are.

    For example, there are OPEN and CLOSED accounts. An account that is for an amount certain, is a CLOSED account. An account like a utility or credit card, which could vary depending on your usage, is an OPEN account.

    Account STATUS is entirely different, OPEN, CLOSED, CHARGE-OFF, etc. means that the account is currently OPEN (you can use it), CLOSED (you can't use it).
  5. wickedaj87

    wickedaj87 New Member

    Ah OK. It looks like I can't post links until I've reached 25 posts and I'm not there yet so I'll have to copy and paste some things.

    Well it looks like that since Monday, all the accounts went into the closed status when over half of them were open. I do see from my report which shows me all 3 reporting agencies (Experian, Transunsion, Equifax) that there are some discrepancies regarding Open/Closed. I attached a link to the picture of what I'm referring to. I'm not understanding, why Experian says it's closed but Transunion says its open. How would I resolve this?

    It kind of looks like this on the report (Please bare with me, I can't upload images or anything). This is the 3 reports from 1 account in collection.
    X Potentially Negative
    Account #: XXXXXXXXXXX
    Balance: $4,770.00
    Past Due: $4,770.00
    Date Opened:07/01/2011
    Account Status: Closed
    Mo. Payment:
    Payment Status: Seriously past due/ assigned to Collection agency
    High Balance:
    Terms: 1 month
    Comments: Account in dispute-reported by subscriber

    Account #: XXXXXXXXXXX
    Balance: $4,770.00
    Past Due: $4,770.00
    Date Opened:07/01/2011
    Account Status: Closed
    Mo. Payment:
    Payment Status: Unpaid
    High Balance:
    Terms: 1 month
    Comments: Medical Unpaid

    Account #: XXXXXXXXXXX
    Balance: $4,770.00
    Past Due: $4,770.00
    Date Opened:07/251/2011
    Account Status: Open
    Mo. Payment:
    Payment Status: Collection Account
    High Balance:
    Comments: Account information disputed by consumer.

    Letter I sent to Collection Agency:
    Financial Data Systems
    PO Box 688
    Wrightsville Beach, NC 28480

    Re: Acct # 215126000104XXXX

    To Whom It May Concern:

    I am sending this letter to you in response to a debt notice I received from my credit report (07/10/2014). Be advised, this is not a refusal to pay or acknowledgement of ownership of the mentioned account, but a notice sent pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 USC 1692g Sec. 809 (b) that your claim is disputed and validation is requested.

    This is NOT a request for "verification" or proof of my mailing address, but a request for VALIDATION made pursuant to the above named Title and Section. I respectfully request that your office provide me with competent evidence that I have any legal obligation to pay you.
    Please provide me with the following:
    • What the money you say I owe is for;
    • Explain and show me how you calculated what you say I owe;
    • Provide me with copies of any papers that show I agreed to pay what you say I owe;
    • Provide a verification or copy of any judgment if applicable;
    • Identify the original creditor;
    • Prove the Statute of Limitations has not expired on this account in my state;
    • Show me that you are licensed to collect in my state; and
    • Provide me with your license numbers and Registered Agent.
    If your offices have reported invalidated information to any of the three major Credit Bureau's (Equifax, Experian or TransUnion), said action might constitute fraud under both Federal and State Laws. Due to this fact, if any negative mark is found on any of my credit reports by your company or the company that you represent I will not hesitate in bringing legal action against you for the following:
    • Violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act
    • Violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
    • Defamation of Character
    If your offices are able to provide the proper documentation as requested, I will require at least 30 days to investigate this information and during such time all collection activity must cease and desist.
    Also during this validation period, if any action is taken which could be considered detrimental to any of my credit reports, I will consult with my legal counsel. This includes any information to a credit reporting repository that could be inaccurate or invalidated or verifying an account as accurate when in fact there is no provided proof that it is.

    If your offices fail to respond to this validation request within 30 days from the date of your receipt, all references to this account must be deleted and completely removed from my credit file and a copy of such deletion request shall be sent to me immediately.

    I would also like to request, in writing, that no telephone contact be made by your offices to my home or to my place of employment. If your offices attempt telephone communication with me, including but not limited to computer generated calls or correspondence sent to any third parties, it will be considered harassment and I will have no choice but to file suit. All future communications with me MUST be done in writing and sent to the address noted in this letter.
    This is an attempt to correct your records, any information obtained shall be used for that purpose.

    Best Regards,

    The Letter I received back:
    July 11, 2014

    RE: Validation Request

    Ms. XXXXX

    We received your validation letter by fax and according to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), Sec 809 (a) and (b) 15 USC 1692g, you have 30 days to dispute the validity of the debt which starts on the date we received your account form our client sent out our initial contact to you. Since your request is beyond that 30 day period, you can contact our clients directly for the information you requested. Our clients are ECEP and their phone number is 800-868-4875 and Wilmington Pathology and their phone number is 800-846-7978, Please note you will need to correspond to us either by calling us or mailing us through the U.S. Postal Service. We will not respond to any future request by fax.

    You will also need to contact them in regards to any questions concerning your medical records. Our clients do not disclose to us what you were seen or treated for. Both clients have verified the debts are yours and the balances we have are correct. Once you have paid them to us or to clients and we have knowledge that have paid them we will be glad to update your credit file. We are enclosing a statement from our office which shows the information you requested.

    Please be aware we will not be calling you in regards to these accounts since you have requested we cease and desist in contacting you, however all other collection activities will continue such as the credit reporting, docwatch, and notifying our clients of the cease and desist. Please be aware our client reserves the right to pursue all legal means to collect on this debt.

    If you have any questions call etc etc etc. and signed.
    I guess what I'm asking now is, in your opinion, how do you think I should proceed with this information given the current situation?

    Thanks again!
  6. jam237

    jam237 Well-Known Member

    The problem with tri-merge reports is that it's not the actual Credit Report from the CRA.

    You can't know for certain whether that is how the actual CRA is reporting, or if it's a glitch in how the tri-merge company takes that data and puts it into a table.

    1) Their letter is PARTIALLY accurate in the first paragraph, insofar as, the period of validation is only thirty days within the first contact; they MUST CEASE COLLECTIONS, nothing in the law, however, says that they can refuse to obtain validation. The law just says that, if they don't hear within 30 days, they can ASSUME that the debt is valid.

    When you send a validation letter, you are questioning the validity of the debt, they are being notified of such, now they are no longer entitled to the assumption that the debt is valid.

    The only caveat, is that, if they can prove in court COMMUNICATIONS with you more than 30 days previous, they don't have to cease collection activity, until after they obtain and mail the validation.

    Congratulations, I've never seen a CA put that they won't respond to any future faxes. :) I would question whether that is valid. The FDCPA states that communications have to be written, FAX is written communications, therefore, I don't know if they can explicitly state that they are choosing to disregard a CLASS of written communications.

    If I received a demand that facsimiles were being barred, I would file an FDCPA suit based on their statement that they can legally unilaterally choose to disregard an entire class of written communications, when the law requires certain communications from the consumer to be in writing, as being a false and misleading representation.

    The FDCPA only states that the consumer can choose to designate certain communication methods as inconvenient, there is no similar mirror image of that option for the CA to be able to make a similar inconvenience notification.

    If it was me, would file a separate $1,000.00 suit for EACH account, in Federal Court. :) They would more than likely just want you to go away, but I would love to see what a Federal Judge had to say about whether a CA could unilaterally block certain inconvenient communications from the consumer. :)
  7. jorgelopez

    jorgelopez Member

    As I am reading this thread, I see how tough collections are. Hopefully companies can think of a win win situation for both of them.

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