A Little Help (for Consumers) from the Feds (Against Debt Collectors)


Amidst the run-up to what turned out to be a glorious Super Bowl if you were a Seahawks fan, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia dealt a bit of a blow to debt collectors and an arrow to consumers/debtors.  On Friday, January 31st, in the case of Clark et al. v. Absolute Collection Service the Court held that a debt collector cannot require a consumer to place all disputes in writing.  In other words, a verbal dispute of the validity of an alleged debt is acceptable.  Chalk one up for fairness and common sense.

Now it is clear that the better practice is to use writing (ex:  e-mail, fax, letter) to dispute of the validity of an alleged debt but if that does not happen you may be OK….at least in the judicial territory covered by the Fourth Circuit.  This judicial territory spans North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia.  Your debt validation request need not be lengthy nor complicated.  Click here for a sample letter and click here for further information on handling debt collectors.  If you find yourself in a pickle dealing with a debt collector or original creditor or debt buyer you should consult an experienced attorney about your situation.

Congratulations to Pete Carroll, Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch, and others on an excellent season and fantastic Super Bowl performance.  This Steeler fan is still smiling from ear to ear……and now it’s time to move to baseball season…let’s go (Washington) Nats!

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