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Many people receive collection notices in the mail all the time. Some consumers never even open these letters, while others may only briefly glance at the overdue amount. However, these notices are more than just a request for payment of the debt. They contain legal language that most people never read, but that could help them when facing debt collectors.
One portion of this legal language is the G Notice. This notice provides you legal rights for ensuring the debt is yours, and for stopping the collection agency from contacting you until they can verify it is. So, what exactly does a G Notice say, and how do you respond to it?
What Is a G Notice?
The G Notice is an included statement within your letter that outlines the specific rights you have if you question the debt. It gets its name from Section G of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). A G Notice will inform you of:
- Your right to request, in writing, proof of the debt;
- The obligation of the debt collector to provide proof of the debt within 30 days of receiving your request; and
- The obligation of the debt collector to provide proof of the current and original creditor, including their name and address.
The G Notice will also state that the letter is an attempt to collect on debt, and that it was sent by a debt collector.
When Is a G Notice Required?
Under the FDCPA, you must receive a G Notice within five days of when the debt collector first contacted you. This initial contact doesn’t need to be in writing. If a debt collector phones you and speaks to you, they must send a G Notice within five days of that initial contact.
It’s also important to remember that every debt collector who handles your debt must send you a G Notice. This means that if one debt collector owns your debt and then sells it to another debt collector, you must receive a G Notice from both.
The FDCPA only applies to debt collectors, such as debt collection agencies. It does not apply to original creditors. For example, a credit card company does not have to include a G Notice within their monthly invoices. If that debt becomes overdue, however, and the credit card company sells the debt to a collector, the collector must send you a G Notice.
Debt collectors cannot include confusing or contradictory language within the G Notice. The notice must fully and clearly state that you have 30 days to dispute the debt. Debt collectors cannot threaten to file a lawsuit before those 30 days have expired, or include any language indicating you could face consequences for disputing the debt.
Ignoring a G Notice
After understanding what a G Notice is, you may be concerned about ignoring one. If you’ve received letters from a debt collection agency and haven’t thoroughly looked them over, you probably have both received and ignored a G notice.
The good news is that there aren’t any real consequences for ignoring a G Notice. Doing so doesn’t automatically mean that the debt is valid, or that you are responsible for paying it. Ignoring a G Notice also doesn’t mean that you no longer have a credible defense.
Failing to respond to a G Notice simply means the creditor can continue to contact you throughout the 30 days. This means that you will continue receiving phone calls and letters from them, which many consumers find to be the most frustrating part of debt collection.
Responding to a G Notice
If you decide to respond to the G Notice and dispute the debt, it’s important that you do so in writing. You don’t need a formal letter or any legal verbiage; you simply have to send a letter to the debt collector stating that you dispute the debt and would like to see validation.
After sending in your written request disputing the debt, the debt collector must stop contacting you immediately. They cannot resume contacting you until they have sent proof of the debt.
Unfortunately, neither the courts nor the FDCPA provides very clear requirements for validating the debt. A debt collector also isn’t required to prove every element of their case.
For example, they may send documentation with details of the original creditor, how much you owe, and how much interest has accrued on the debt. If they do not send other types of proof, such as documents showing that the statute of limitations has not expired, the documentation they send still serves as validation of the debt. If the statute on the debt has expired, that is an argument you can raise if the collector files a lawsuit against you.
In some cases, debtors may dispute the debt in writing and never receive validation of the debt from the collector. Just as there are no real consequences to you for not responding to the G Notice, there are also no penalties for debt collectors that don’t provide validation of the debt.
However, they must stop all debt collection practices for that particular debt. If a debt collector cannot validate a debt, they are barred from filing a lawsuit for that debt. It’s for this reason, and the fact that they do not have to prove all aspects of their case, that collectors will typically send validation after receiving your request.
Speak to a Florida Debt Defense Attorney for Help with Your Dispute
While it’s true your written request to a collector doesn’t need to include any specific legal verbiage, it’s still important you speak to a Fort Lauderdale debt defense attorney. An attorney can help you draft your request, advise on the next steps to take, and continue to represent you in your debt defense, particularly if a collector has filed a lawsuit against you.
If you’re struggling with debt, contact Loan Lawyers at (954) 523-HELP (4357) today. We will stand up to debt collectors, make sure they uphold your rights at all times, and provide you a proper defense every step of the way. You don’t have to deal with debt on your own. Call us or contact us online for your free consultation.
Loan Lawyers has helped over 5,000 South Florida homeowners and consumers with their debt problems, we have saved over 2,000 homes from foreclosure, eliminated more than $100,000,000 in mortgage principal and consumer debt, and have recovered over $10,000,000 on behalf of our clients due to bank, loan servicer, and debt collector violations. Contact us for a free consultation and find out more about our money back guarantee on credit card debt buyer lawsuits, and how we may be able to help you.