Even though I always had for myself a great 800 plus credit score, recently my credit score took a dip! Why? Because, yes! Even I, the great and ultimate credit enthusiast and Fico expert, bla bla bla… had this happen. Due to a long story I had with a lease return fee that was not paid and was eventually sold for collection. The collection showed up on my credit report and bye bye went my fancy credit. But, no! This does not happen to me! Why? Because I know how to fight!
Even though I know that in my case disputing with the credit bureaus is most probably not going to help, I still decided, as for my first step, to go ahead and dispute it first with the credit bureaus. I thought that maybe they will not be able to verify it, or the collection agency will not respond to them and they will delete it. But of course about 30 days later, I got a response from all three credit bureaus that the collection account has been verified and the dispute was resolved without any updates to my credit report.
Debt Verification Letter
The next step I did was send a debt verification letter to the collection company requesting from them to verify the debt. I requested them to send me the contract from the original creditor showing that I owe the debt, a copy of the final account statement from the original creditor, a document which lists the total amount owed plus any interest or fees, and the DCA license number showing they have the right to collect in NYC. I also requested them to stop contacting me by phone and only communicate with me through mail.
About 30 days later I got a response from the collection company and “unfortunately” they were able to provide all the documents I requested. They were pr operly able to verify the debt. Bad luck to me.
Caught The Violation!
Hey, not so fast! After carefully reviewing the paperwork I got from the collection agency again, I noticed something. On the cover sheet, on the bottom, it stated in small words the following: “This communication is an attempt to collect debt, any information obtained will be used for that purpose”. The law is that within 5 days after the first communication that a debt collector has with you, they need to provide you with a written notice of your rights to dispute the debt and ask for a debt validation. Those few little words on the bottom made this debt verification letter my first communication with the debt collector. Now the debt collector needs to provide me that notice.
I waited 30 days just to be sure, but of course I did not receive any such letter in the mail. The debt collector just violated the FDCPA and I can now go ahead and sue them if I want. But I don’t need to sue them. All I need is for them to delete the collection mark from my credit report.
I sent the collection agency a letter explaining their violation, and a warning that if they will not remove the mark from my credit report, I will go ahead and sue them. About 15 days later, I received a letter in the mail from the collection agency’s legal department stating that they are willing to remove the mark from my credit report and will cease all attempts to collect the debt. Bingo!
So if you ever wondered how credit repair works, here you got the answer. Remember it’s all about who knows how to play the game better!
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