In collections or getting sued by LVNV Funding? Here’s what to do.
Debt buyers are also considered debt collectors and have to comply with the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) as well as state debt collections laws like the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act, also known as Chapter 93A, M.G.L. ch. 93A.
If you have received collection letters from LVNV Funding, these documents can be confusing. The letters may tell you who the original creditor is, who the current owner is, different account numbers, and there might even have been other debt buyers who owned the account before LVNV Funding claimed to have purchased it.
To protect your rights, it is vitally important to save any documents — this is evidence, and without evidence, you may not be able to prove that they did anything wrong. What can they do wrong? Lots of things: they might incorrectly say that you owe amounts that you already paid; they might send notices in the wrong order, which violates the debt-collection laws; they might even try to collect interest on the account that you are not liable for. The list is endless.
Debt buyers like LVNV Funding also need to provide proof that they own the debt that complies with the court rules of evidence. In many cases, debt buyers do not have proof that they own the debt. Nevertheless, they often will try to collect from consumers, and even will file collection lawsuits without the evidence.
So, what should you do if LVNV Funding is contacting you? If you are only receiving collection letters and phone calls, you can request what is called “validation” of the debt, which is their proof that they own it. You can also request that they stop contacting you at home and at work. If they continue to contact you, or if they continue collecting before they send validation, this may violate the FDCPA or Chapter 93A.
And if you have received a court summons, the most important thing to do is to respond quickly. Under the Massachusetts court rules, you usually only have 20 days to respond. It is usually best to consult an attorney about how to respond, because in many cases the debt collector can get a judgment against you if you fail to answer. If this happens, it is usually too late to dispute the debt (although there are some procedural mechanisms to do so).
If you feel you are having issues with LVNV and live or are being sued in Massachusetts, contact us to see if we can help.
Culik Law is a Massachusetts Consumer Protection Law Firm. The posts on Culik Law’s blog are not intended as legal advice.