What are my legal rights when served a summons for a hospital bill?
A collector may not contact you if, within 30 days after you are first contacted, you send the collection agency a letter stating you do not owe money. However, a collector can renew collection activities if you are sent proof of the debt, such as a copy of a bill for the amount owed. Section 809(a) of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act requires a collector, within 5 days of the first communication, to provide the consumer a written notice (if not aleady provided in that communication) containing
(1) the amount of the debt and
(2) the name of the creditor, along with a statement that he will
(3) assume the debt's validity unless the consumer disputes it within 30 days,
(4) send a verification or copy of the judgment if the consumer timely disputes the debt, and
(5) identify the original creditor upon written request.
If the consumer disputes the debt or requests identification of the original creditor in writing, the collector must cease collection efforts until he verifies the debt and mails a response.