Q & A: How to Dispute An Alleged Debt Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

New Jersey Consumers Must Dispute an Alleged Debt Within 30 Days of Receiving a Demand for Payment  from a Debt Collector and the Dispute Must Be In Writing.  *
The reason why a consumer residing in New Jersey who receives a demand for payment from a debt collector must dispute the debt in writing, and a consumer debtor who resides in New York and California does not have to dispute the debt in writing is that the Federal Courts differ about what 15 USC §1692g(a)(3) the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) requires. – yet another example of how a sloppily drafted statute creates confusion and allows courts to reason to a result to which they are predisposed.
A recent case, Clark v. Absolute Collection Service,  Inc., Court of Appeals, 4th Circuit 2014 No. 13-1151.,  illustrates that even though the FDCPA is Federal Law and is intended to create uniform protection for the consumer, where you live may determine what you must do to be protected by the FDCPA.
“The Third Circuit has held that Section 1692g(a)(3) must be read to include a writing requirement, finding any other reading contrary to the purposes of the FDCPA. See Graziano v. Harrison, 950 F.2d 107 (3d Cir. 1991). In contrast, the Second and Ninth Circuits have found that the plain text of Section 1692g(a)(3) permits oral disputes, and that such a reading results in a logical, bifurcated scheme of consumer rights. See Hooks v. Forman, Holt, Eliades & Ravin, , 717 F.3d 282 (2d Cir. 2013); Camacho v. Bridgeport Fin. Inc., 430 F.3d 1078 (9th Cir. 2005).
In line with the Second and Ninth Circuits, we find that the FDCPA clearly defines communications between a debt collector and consumers. Sections 1692g(a)(4), 1692g(a)(5), and 1692g(b) explicitly require written communication, whereas Section 1692g(a)(3) plainly does not.”  Clark v. ABSOLUTE COLLECTION SERVICE, INC., Court of Appeals, 4th Circuit 2014 No. 13-1151., “  http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=13481431975132801534&q=+Clark+v.+ABSOLUTE+COLLECTION+SERVICE,+INC.&hl=en&as_sdt=6,31
* Under the provisions of the 15 USC § 1692g(a) of the FDCPA a demand for payment sent by a debt collector must include the following information.
(1) the amount of the debt;
(2) the name of the creditor to whom the debt is owed;
(3) a statement that unless the consumer, within thirty 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;
(4) a statement that if the consumer notifies the debt collector in writing within the thirty-day period that the debt, or any portion thereof, is disputed, the debt collector will obtain 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; and
(5) a statement that, upon the consumer’s written request within the thirty-day period, the debt collector will provide the consumer with the name and address of the original creditor, if different from the current creditor.


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