The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that the “bona fide error” defense contained in 15 U.S.C. Sec. 1692k(c) was not a defense to a collection letter that stated that a debt would be considered valid unless it was disputed in writing, Jerman v. McNellie, Rini, Kramer & Ulrich LPA,___U.S.___, 130 S.Ct. 1605 (2010). The FDCPA does not require that any dispute of the debt be written. It is permissible for a debt collector to state that a request for verification of the debt be in writing. However, if a debtor disputes the debt, any such dispute does not need to be in writing. Any notice which indicates that it does have to be written is a violation of
the FDCPA. Lawyers doing consumer collection work should review their collection letters, and make any change as necessary to comply with the law regarding a dispute of the debt.