UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
March 10, 1993
Jeffrey S. Wollman
Dear Mr. Wollman:
This is in response to your letter of February 9, 1993 to David Medine regarding the type of verification required by Section 809(b) of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. You ask whether a collection agency for a medical provider will fulfill the requirements of that Section if it produces "an itemized statement of services rendered to a patient on its own computer from information provided by the medical institution . . . in response to a request for verification of the debt. You also ask who is responsible for mailing the verification to the consumer.
The statute requires that the debt collector obtain verification of the debt and mail it to the consumer (emphasis mine). Because one of the principal purposes of this Section is to help consumers who have been misidentified by the debt collector or who dispute the amount of the debt, it is important that the verification of the identity of the consumer and the amount of the debt be obtained directly from the creditor. Mere itemization of what the debt collector already has does not accomplish this purpose. As stated above, the statute requires the debt collector, not the creditor, to mail the verification to the consumer.
Your interest in writing is appreciated. Please be aware that since this is only the opinion of Commission staff, the Commission itself is not bound by it.
John F. LeFevre