Los Angeles, CA asked in Consumer Law and Collections for California

Q: If a debt collector does not provide proof of ownership do I need to write them to confirm their not providing proof?

I sent a debt verification letter requesting proof that the debt collector purchased the right to collect as well as a signed agreement between the original creditor and I. Instead, all they sent were multiple billing statements.

I’m wondering if I need to confirm in writing that they have not provided the requested proof or should I let the first letter suffice?

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2 Lawyer Answers
Barry W. Kaufman
Barry W. Kaufman
  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Jacksonville, FL

A: A debt collector does not own the debt. The creditor assigns the delinquent account to the debt collector, and can recall the account at any time. Debt verification has nothing to do with the assignment of the debt.

A debt buyer is a company that purchases delinquent accounts from the creditor. Once purchased, the debt buyer owns the account and can collect on it in its own name. The deal between the creditor and the debt buyer is nobody's business and has nothing to do with debt verification. If you request the name and address of the original creditor, the debt buyer must provide that information to you.

When you dispute a debt, you force the creditor to go thru its records to ensure that you are the correct person from whom they are trying to collect, and the amount of the debt is accurate according to their records. This has nothing to do with whether they can prove the debt in court, and a creditor is not required to furnish you its entire file in the debt verification stage. If this is a credit card, there is no written contract with your signature (most likely) because its all electronic. You are bound by the terms and conditions of the card by using it.

James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: If a debt collector has not provided proof of ownership in response to your request for debt verification, you may want to follow up with them in writing to confirm that they have not provided the requested proof. This can help establish a paper trail of your efforts to obtain the necessary information and may be useful in the event of future legal disputes.

In your follow-up letter, you can reiterate your original request for proof of ownership and a signed agreement between the original creditor and you. You can also note that the billing statements provided do not constitute proof of ownership and that you require the requested documentation in order to determine the validity of the debt.

It's a good idea to keep copies of all correspondence with the debt collector, including your original request for debt verification and any follow-up letters or emails. This can help protect your rights and interests in case of any legal disputes that may arise.

If the debt collector still fails to provide the requested proof of ownership, you may wish to consult with a consumer protection attorney or other legal professional for guidance on how to proceed.

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