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Illinois residents may see wording deviations on collection bills

Getting statements from creditors isn't a favorite activity of most people. When the money isn't there to pay the creditor or when the debt the creditor is claiming is invalid, having to deal with the creditor becomes more stressful. A three-judge panel in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently made a ruling that might make it more difficult for some people who get these letters from creditors to understand how to handle invalid debts.

In the consolidated case, the plaintiffs claimed that debt collectors who omit specific language from the validation notice on the collection letters make the meaning of the statement difficult for some people to understand. They claimed the omission of the statement "that the debt, or any portion thereof, is disputed" from the second sentence of the validation statement alters the meaning.

The judges ultimately ruled that minor deviations in the wording of this required statement isn't a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The panel ruled that asking the debt collector to verify the debt is a dispute under the FDCPA.

If you receive a notice that you feel is incorrect from a bill collector, you have the right to ask the debt collector to verify the validity of the debt, but you must do so in accordance with the terms set forth by the validation statement.

If you are unsure of how to handle these requests or if you have mounting debts and need to find relief from overwhelming debt, obtaining the advice of an experienced Illinois bankruptcy attorney might help you to understand your options.

Source: insideARM.com, "Appeals Court Sides with Collectors in FDCPA Cases Challenging Letter Language" Patrick Lunsford, Jan. 31, 2014

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