Why We Recommend Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested When Dealing With Consumer Protection Issues
Whenever you communicate with a debt collector, credit reporting agency (Equifax, Experian, Trans Union, etc), or your mortgage company, we always recommend that you do so by certified mail, return receipt requested.
Sometimes our clients want to know why is it so important and why is it not good enough to just fax or mail a letter in a cheaper manner. Or send an email.
The answer is with anything other than certified mail, it can become difficult to prove the collector or credit reporting agency or mortgage company received it.
We love email but with spam filters, it is not certain that the right person receives your email.
We love faxes but sometimes the fax confirmation sheet will not prove the company received it.
The only way to ensure, to make sure, that the collector or reporting agency received your communication is to send it certified mail, return receipt requested.
Examples Of Using Certified Mail
So let’s say you are dealing with a debt collector. You should consider sending a dispute letter as a good starting point. Certified keeps them honest — otherwise, they will lie about receiving your letter.
Or you are trying to repair your credit by getting rid of credit reporting errors. Once you have your reports (find out how to get them for free here), you identify the errors, then send a dispute letter to the credit reporting agencies and normally to the furnisher. Send it certified or these guys will throw it away and say you never sent it.
Perhaps you are dealing with your mortgage company. Sending request for information or notice of error letters. Or trying to do loss mitigation. Use certified mail. These companies are so bad they have been caught lying about getting Fed Ex packages so you can imagine how they will lie if you send it by regular mail. Protect yourself and send it by certified mail.
Do you see a theme — send it by certified (or Fed Ex or UPS) to make sure they won’t lie. Or if they do lie, they will look bad.
What Do You Get With Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested?
When you send out your dispute letter this way you make sure that the collector or agency actually get the letter.
The company has to sign the green card and date it.
This means you know exactly who received it and when they received it.
Out of all of our cases, we only had one defendant deny getting the certified mail.
When we showed them the signed receipt (signed green card) the lawyer for the defendant argued it was someone else in the building that signed his client’s name to it.
When we pressed, the lawyer caved on this because of the effectiveness of using a certified mail sent return receipt requested.
One of our clients, before she hired us, had a fascinating experience with certified mail. She was in court with a collection law firm and here was the conversation:
Client: Judge, I did send the letter to the collection lawyer.
Collection Lawyer: We never got it.
Judge: Do you have proof?
Client: Yes I sent it certified mail. Here’s the green card.
Judge: Well, what do you say Mr. Collection Lawyer?
Collection Lawyer: We never got it.
Client: Peter Jones signed for it at Collection Lawyer’s office.
Collection Lawyer: We don’t have Peter Jones at our office — we never got it. Someone must have stolen the certified mail and signed Peter Jones to it.
Judge: That’s unlikely.
Client: Judge, I do have another letter I sent certified six months later. Here’s the green card — Peter Jones signed for it again.
Judge: So, Mr. Collection Lawyer you are claiming that the same thief Peter Jones stole two certified letters six months apart from Client?
Collection Lawyer: Uh……
The judge then hammered the collection firm. The power of the certified mail! 🙂
How Does Certified Mail Work In A Trial?
We have seen companies of all sizes and sorts take the position that the critical email, fax, or mail did not make it to them.
Thus, it comes down to who does the jury believe.
This is why having the signed green card is so important.
If a collection agency or Equifax or Trans Union or anyone else wants to argue about receiving your letter, and they signed the green card, then their credibility is seriously in doubt. Like in the example above.
We all understand the trustworthiness of the US Postal system.
Yes, we sometimes complain but think of it – for a couple of quarters, a government worker takes your letter and personally delivers it anywhere in the country with astonishing accuracy.
Add to this making the other person sign for it and it becomes very difficult for the defendant to deny receiving it.
You have their signature or in the case of a business more likely a stamp – “Equifax” or “Experian” or “NCO.”
To deny that is sort of like the famous incident with the talented Charles Barkley who said he was misquoted in his biography.
That’s a hard sell…
If you have something worth sending that may end up in litigation – send it certified mail.
Don’t save a couple of bucks and cost yourself thousands or tens of thousands of dollars because you have given the defendant something to argue. Send it certified mail, return receipt requested, and lock down the receipt of your letter.
When you are in litigation or getting close to trial, you will be thankful you did.
Feel free to contact us.
If you live in Alabama and you have any questions dealing with abusive debt collectors or mortgage companies or credit reporting agencies, feel free to contact us. We’ll be glad to help you figure your options, including suing these guys when they break the law.
You can call us at 1-205-879-2447, or you can fill out a contact form.
I look forward to chatting with you!
Have a great day.