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Seeking verification of outstanding balances

Residents in New Jersey who owes credit card debt could be interested in the answers to questions posed by a consumer who was being pursued by a credit card issuer’s collection agency recently. The debtor wanted to know whether consumers have the right to demand proof of the debt from them and what they can do if the collection agency refuses. According to Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, a debtor has every right to request a verification of debt. However, that request must be in writing within 30 days of receipt of the notice from the collector.

In addition, the collector is legally obligated to stop all collection activity against the requesting debtor until it has provided that VOD, according to a National Consumer Law Center attorney. On the other hand, if the initial notice from the collector was more than 30 days prior to the filing, then the creditor could simply ignore the request, continuing to harass the debtor. If that occurs, the debtor has the option to request in writing that they cease contact regarding that account.

At that time, there are two options available to the collector. One option is dropping the claim altogether, and the other is filing a lawsuit. If they do file suit, prevail in court and get a judgment, then they will have the right to garnish the debtor’s wages and seize assets. However, in order for collectors to get judgments, they have to have a proof of debt to show the court.

Negotiating with a collector could be the best way to avoid a judgment, and the next best way is by showing up in court. For help with negotiations or preparing a viable case to present in court, a bankruptcy law attorney who regularly handles credit card debt cases could be an effective asset for a consumer’s possible debt relief.

Source: FOX Business, “Can I Request Proof of Credit Card Debt?“, Jeanine Skowronski, August 20, 2014

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