Collection agencies will try to get away with anything they can to collect a debt. One tactic commonly used by collection agencies are not to mail the required notice to the debtor advising them of their rights on the alleged debt. The first notice collection agencies are required by law to mail is called a Validation notice or a Dunning Notice also known as a 1692g Notice. This letter gives the consumer instructions on properly disputing the debt, should there be a discrepancy. If you received a 1692g notice and it does have the dispute instructions, make sure they are written according to the law. The FDCPA states the disclosure is to meet certain requirements to be in compliance such as the font size and placement of the disclosure.
Failing to have the proper disclosure in the correct place or in extra small font letting the debtor know where to look for their rights violates the FDCPA ¶ 1.05[A] CONSPICUOUS DISCLOSURE . The Dunning notice is to have the following information:
The amount of the debt
The name of the creditor to whom the debt is owed
A statement that unless the consumer, within 30 days after receipt of the notice, disputes the validity of the debt or any portion thereof, the debt will be assumed to be valid by the debt collector
A statement that if the consumer notifies the debt collector in writing within the 30-day period that the debt or any portion thereof is disputed, the debt collector will obtain a verification of the debt or a copy of a judgment against the consumer, and a copy of such verification or judgment will be mailed to the consumer by the debt collector
A statement that upon the consumer’s written request within the 30-day period, the debt collector will provide the consumer with the name and address of the original creditor, if different from the current creditor
The disclosures on the letter is to always have the proper font size of 12pt so not to be too small for the consumer to not be able to read it. The disclosure needs to be in bold writing on the front page of the Dunning notice. If the notice is on the back then the front of the letter needs to have in bold readable writing…
“Important information on the back”.
¶ 1.05[A] CONSPICUOUS DISCLOSURE
Mere placement of the validation notice on the reverse side of a form letter will not be considered sufficient notice. The disclosures must be large enough to be easily read and prominent enough to be noticed by even the “least sophisticated” debtor, and must be of a type size and color that will render them legible. Using extremely small or light colored type (e.g., gray type on the back side of a demand letter typed in black ink) is an invitation to be sued and should be avoided. A validation notice given as part of a larger document should not be embedded into the document because that is likely to be held to be an ineffective conveyance of the notice.
Many collection agencies have restrained from sending out this notice in hopes of a better chance to collect the debt. Agencies increase their chances of consumers giving in to paying for debt that is uncollectable or not theirs by excluding these required notices. These illegal practices are commonly performed by collection agencies unbeknown to the debtor. If a collection agency contacts you to collect a debt and you have yet to receive the required notice giving you your rights, ask the collector contacting you the following questions;
1. What date did the agency receive your account for collections?
a. If there was plenty of time for the mail to have delivered the notice, notate the information given to you by the collector so a complaint can be made to your states attorney generals office.
2. Ask what address they have for you. Do NOT under any circumstances give them your address if they do not have it. After all, why throw yourself into the fire? If the collector has your correct address, then you know they did not mail to you the required notice.
If the collection agency has violated this statute under the FDCPA, write your state attorney general a letter stating the violation. It is the responsibility of your attorney general to conduct an investigation on your behalf and send you the outcome of the discovery.