Can a collection agency lawfully refuse to provide proof of the debt?

Under § 809. Validation of debts of the FDCPA it says that documentation must be provided within 30 of initial contact if “the debt, or any portion thereof, is disputed”. This debt is my wife’s (from before we were married) and they have named me on a lawsuit over it which was the first I had heard of it. So for me this lawsuit is the “initial communication”. I requested copies of the statement including the original debt, fees, interest and so on but they refuse to provide it. Can they do that? How to I make them release this information? I just want to make an informed decision.

Asked on July 19, 2010 under Bankruptcy Law, Washington

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

No, they can not.  If they have named you in a lawsuit then you should answer the suit and raise an affirmative defense that you are not a proper party to the lawsuit.  They when you get before the Judge you can request that they produce a copy of the original contract and all the debt they say that you are responsible for.  You name and signature will not be on the contract, correct?  So then they will have to dismiss the matter as against you and everything else will be moot.  Also check your state Statute of Limitations as to their ability to bring the suit.  How long have you been married?  They may have blown their right to sue your wife too. Good luck.


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