One of the biggest areas of confusion for many consumers is whether or not a debt collector must verify a debt before they can take legal action against the debtor. If you are being sued because you owe a debt and you believe there is any mistake or error then having the debt verified should be the first step.
Most creditors sell consumer debt accounts to collection agencies and this is typically done without verifying the information that these accounts contain. Errors in the account information are a frequent problem with purchased debts, and these errors can cover many areas. There have been cases of debt that has been fully paid being sold to a collection agency, and the agency has then tried to sue the consumer even though the debt is no longer owed.
Another common problem that consumers have found is that the amount of the debt is incorrect, and sometimes is much larger than what is actually owed. Many collection agencies have targeted the wrong consumer because of a common name or incorrect file data. Once the collection agency has received erroneous information there are steps you can take to correct the problem.
Collection agencies file lawsuits every day in America without ever verifying the facts of the debt, or even that the correct debtor has been identified and located. As soon as you receive notice that the collection agency is suing you it is important to request that the debt is verified and accurate. You must do this in writing, and it is a good idea to keep a copy of the letter and send the correspondence certified mail so that you have a record of when the collection agency received your demand for debt verification.
Once a debt collector has received a written demand for verification then the collection agency must verify that you are the correct debtor, that you do still owe the debt, and the correct amount that is currently owed on the debt. If a debt collector can not verify these facts then it is very doubtful a judge will determine that the collection agency has met their burden of proof in court, and the lawsuit will usually be dismissed.
Some debt collection agencies may not be able to verify that the debt is yours but they will continue in their collection efforts anyway. If you do not demand verification in writing it is a good bet that the debt collector will not provide proof of the debt, and if the debt is not valid then you could end up being sued for a debt that does not even belong to you.
An experienced bankruptcy attorney who is also a debt relief specialist can help you deal with debt collection agency. If you are being sued or you face a constant stream of demand letters and phone calls then it is time to consult a qualified bankruptcy attorney for help. The bankruptcy attorney you choose will deal with the creditors for you, giving you the breathing room and space you need.