Question: I requested debt verification within the 30 day time period. I never got a verification of debt. The debt collector then served me a summons. Can they sue me without providing the verification of debt first?
I am going to file a motion to have the case dismissed because the debt collector never provided a verification of debt after I requested it. I do have a certified mail signed by the debt agency that they did get my request of verification.
Answer: It comes as no surprise that a debt collector would blatantly violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Luckily you are an informed consumer and they will not be able to get away with responding to a debt validation request with a summons. This is a dishonest tactic and more importantly a violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1692g(b).
Under the FDCPA Section 809. Validation of debts [15 USC 1692g]:
(b) “If the consumer notifies the debt collector in writing within the thirty-day period described in subsection (a) that the debt, or any portion thereof, is disputed, or that the consumer requests the name and address of the original creditor, the debt collector shall cease collection of the debt, or any disputed portion thereof, until the debt collector obtains verification of the debt or any copy of a judgment, or the name and address of the original creditor, and a copy of such verification or judgment, or name and address of the original creditor, is mailed to the consumer by the debt collector…”
Clearly the debt collector’s summons is an attempt to collect the debt which has not been validated. I am not an attorney and I strongly urge you to seek legal consultation; however, I will offer the following:
Your motion to dismiss must be sufficiently supported by law and the documentation (proof) you requested debt validation and received no response. The certified mail, return receipt along with your letter timely requesting debt validation should be satisfactory proof.
One supporting legal matter that may be useful to you is the case of Spears vs. Brennan. In this matter a default judgment was obtained against defendant Spears by plaintiff Brennan (collection agency attorney) after Spears timely disputed the debt within the thirty-day debt validation period but Brennan obtained a default judgment against Spears without mailing verification of the debt to Spears.
The appeals court determined:
“Brennan (plaintiff collection agency attorney) violated 15 U.S.C. § 1692g(b) when he obtained a default judgment against Spears (defendant) after Spears had notified Brennan in writing that the debt was being disputed and before Brennan had mailed verification of the debt to Spears.” You can view the entire decision here.
While you have a strong defense against the summons because the plaintiff did not comply with your request for validation, you still may have to file an answer as a motion to dismiss is not a responsive pleading. Again, I suggest you consult with an attorney to make sure you are going in the right direction. The best of luck to you.