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Monday, November 5,2012

Legal Insight

By Scott J. Topolski  


Q: I have received a letter from a collection agency claiming I owe money on a department store credit card account and demanding payment from me. I realize I owe some money on the amount but the amount claimed is too high. This is the first letter that I have received from the collections agency and it seems to be very much a form letter. Do I have any rights with respect to this letter and the amount demanded?



A: Yes, you do. This is what the law considers a consumer debt. The letter you describe appears to be a letter from the collection agency pursuant to a law known as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, commonly referred to as FDCPA. The FDCPA is a federal statute which imposes various obligations on debt collectors and is designed to provide at least some measure of protection to consumers like yourself. The initial communication from the debt collector must contain certain information, including the total amount owed, the creditor´s name, your right to request, in writing, the name of the original creditor if it is different from the current creditor and your right to demand verification of the debt if you dispute that debt, in writing, within 30 days of the letter. That last right is particularly important in your situation since you do not agree with the amount that the collection agency claims is due.


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