UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION
of Credit Practices
Bureau of Consumer Protection
March 10, 1993
Jeffrey S. Wollman
Vice President and Controller
Retrieval Masters Creditors Bureau, Inc.
New York, New York 10001
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
Division of Credit Practices