Collector - November 2017 - 46

Valid Disputes
A look at dispute requirements in validation letters.

T

he Fair Debt Collection Practices
Act is a strict liability statute, and as
such it requires careful reading by
those who are subject to it. One area where
this is abundantly clear is Section 809 of the
FDCPA, which provides the requirements
for validation notices.
A main function of the validation notice
is to inform consumers of their right to
dispute the debt. A source of confusion is
whether a validation notice violates the
FDCPA if it requires a consumer to submit
all disputes in writing.
This confusion stems from the language
in different portions of Section 809 of the
FDCPA. Section 809(a)(4),(5) requires that
a validation notice include statements that
if the consumer disputes the debt in writing
or makes a written request for the name and
address of the original creditor, the debt
collector will cease all collection efforts until
the verification or requested information is
provided to the consumer.
Section 809(a)(3) requires the validation
notice to include a statement that unless the
consumer disputes the validity of the debt
within 30 days, the debt will be assumed to
be valid by the debt collector.
Unlike Sections 809(a)(4) and 809(a)(5),
which plainly include a writing requirement,
Section 809(a)(3) does not expressly include
a writing requirement to dispute the validity
of the debt. Due to this absence of an explicit
writing requirement, courts disagree on
whether the dispute referred to in Section (a)
(3) concerning the validity of the debt must
be made in writing to the debt collector.
The U.S. Courts of Appeal for the Second,
Fourth and Ninth Circuits have found that
a consumer may trigger the rights provided
under subsection (a)(3) by either an oral or
a written dispute. Applying this reasoning,
several courts have found that language in
a validation notice stating that a consumer
can only dispute the debt in writing violates

46

the FDCPA. However, the Third Circuit has
reached the opposite conclusion, instead
finding that subsection (a)(3) must be read
to require that a dispute must be in writing
to be effective.
For a more in-depth look at the issues
and court decisions surrounding dispute
language in validation notices, ACA
International members can review the ACA
SearchPoint™ document, #2331, Courts
Analyze Addition of Writing Requirement to

Validation Notices, at www.acainternational.
org/searchpoint.
Have you checked out the member-only
ACA SearchPoint™ library? This valuable
resource is filled with documents that put
important compliance information related
to the FDCPA, FCRA, TCPA, state laws
and many other topics at your fingertips.
To access it, visit www.acainternational.
org/searchpoint.

Calling All Writers!

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Collector magazine invites credit and collection professionals of
all levels into a community of experts who share their hard-won
experience through in-depth process and data-driven articles.
Send your article pitch or summary
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» rosso@acainternational.org or
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Collector - November 2017

Upfront
Industry News
Best Practices
FYI
Collection Tips
Making the Right Choice
Getting Your Ducks in a Row
Highlight Reel
Putting it all Together
Calendar
Honor Roll
On Call
Hire Purpose
CFPB Pursues Two Student Loan Servicers
Compliance
ACA SearchPoint
Last Word
Collector - November 2017 - Cover1
Collector - November 2017 - Cover2
Collector - November 2017 - 1
Collector - November 2017 - Upfront
Collector - November 2017 - 3
Collector - November 2017 - Industry News
Collector - November 2017 - 5
Collector - November 2017 - 6
Collector - November 2017 - 7
Collector - November 2017 - Best Practices
Collector - November 2017 - 9
Collector - November 2017 - FYI
Collector - November 2017 - 11
Collector - November 2017 - Collection Tips
Collector - November 2017 - 13
Collector - November 2017 - Making the Right Choice
Collector - November 2017 - 15
Collector - November 2017 - 16
Collector - November 2017 - 17
Collector - November 2017 - Getting Your Ducks in a Row
Collector - November 2017 - 19
Collector - November 2017 - 20
Collector - November 2017 - 21
Collector - November 2017 - 22
Collector - November 2017 - 23
Collector - November 2017 - 24
Collector - November 2017 - 25
Collector - November 2017 - Highlight Reel
Collector - November 2017 - 27
Collector - November 2017 - 28
Collector - November 2017 - 29
Collector - November 2017 - 30
Collector - November 2017 - 31
Collector - November 2017 - Putting it all Together
Collector - November 2017 - 33
Collector - November 2017 - 34
Collector - November 2017 - 35
Collector - November 2017 - Calendar
Collector - November 2017 - Honor Roll
Collector - November 2017 - On Call
Collector - November 2017 - 39
Collector - November 2017 - Hire Purpose
Collector - November 2017 - 41
Collector - November 2017 - CFPB Pursues Two Student Loan Servicers
Collector - November 2017 - 43
Collector - November 2017 - Compliance
Collector - November 2017 - 45
Collector - November 2017 - ACA SearchPoint
Collector - November 2017 - 47
Collector - November 2017 - Last Word
Collector - November 2017 - Cover3
Collector - November 2017 - Cover4
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