Debt Collectors Should Be Able to Prove You Owe Them.
It isn’t enough just to list an account number and some flashy letterhead. They should be able to prove that you owe them money. And not just that you owe them something, but that you owe them what they’re asking for. To me, this is just common sense. If some random homeless guy walks up to you on the street and demands $200, would you pay him? Of course not. What if he says that he’s collecting for a Chase credit card that you used to have, would you pay him then? Of course not.
So why would you treat a debt collector any differently? Because they have fancy letterhead? Because they use scary and official-sounding language? Because they threaten to take you to court? Remember, the stronger your case is, the less you need threats. If they’re using serious language and threats, it is because they’re standing in a position of weakness. Because they’re trying to scare you.
Now maybe you do owe Midland Funding or Asset Acceptance the $2700 they’re demanding. Maybe you don’t. But you definitely shouldn’t pay anyone money without knowing the answer to that question for sure.
Under the FDCPA, you have the right to request proof of a debt within 30 days of that collector making contact with you. If you request proof (or “validation” as the Act calls it), they can’t collect from you until they’ve shown you some evidence. Demand proof. See if they’re legit. If you didn’t borrow money from them, then they need to be able to tell you exactly why you should pay them and not the people you borrowed money from. What if you pay a junk debt buyer all of your savings, only to get sued by the real creditor a week later? Wouldn’t that be a disaster? Well, if they’re asking you for money, the least they can do is prove that they have the right to be bothering you.