We have been in contact with the original creditor because we wanted our bill reduced or taken off for some faulty car repairs; but haven’t had much success. Today we received a call from a collection agency stating they have sent out a few letters and haven’t received any sort of response so they contacted us by phone. To date, we haven’t received any letters from this collection agency. Now we received this call and the collection agency right away said the creditor was willing to settle for a lesser amount. Are we still able to dispute the charge even though the agency is saying it’s been over 30 days since the original letter to us was sent? What rights do we have?
Answer: You have the right to dispute charges under the Fair Credit Billing Act and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act–but within certain time limitations.
The first thing you must do is ensure you have followed your credit card company’s dispute process to the letter! Failing to do this complicates the dispute process! The FDCPA states that it is NOT an admission of guilt when consumers fail to respond within 30 days. The FDCPA also allows collectors to continue collection activity until receiving your dispute letter and, if consumers fail to respond within 30 days, they can assume the debt is valid and continue collection actions. However, even if you did not respond within 30 days of notification, you still have the right to dispute the debt. In your case, you’ve been told by the collection agency that they “have sent out a few letters”. Who did they send these letters to (ask them to verify the address)? Are they acting on their own or on behalf of the creditor? Since speaking with them, have they sent you anything? Your best defense is to put everything in writing, and then to get the advice of Debt Help Attorneys For Consumers licensed to practice in your state.