It's not the FTC's rule. It's the debt collector's. And by demanding that people submit their Social Security and driver's license numbers to challenge fraudulent claims, they've created an unreasonable barrier to eliminating debt.
Moreover, I pointed out, California law says a consumer can't be sued for any credit-card debt older than four years. In Connecticut, the statute of limitations is six years.
On top of that, federal law says a creditor — including debt collectors — can't muck up anyone's credit score until a disputed debt is verified to be legitimate. I told the service rep I was hereby disputing the debt.
Even though I was growing increasingly flustered, I tried to remain calm and polite as I said all this. Ask my colleagues at The Times. They had to sit through the whole thing.
"Well," the rep replied, "the rules are the rules. If you don't send in the affidavit, we won't close the file and you might keep receiving letters and phone calls."
Can they do that?
Nope, said Jeff Hagen, a Woodland Hills lawyer who specializes in consumer-debt issues.
"They can keep a file open as long as they want," he told me. "But they can't sue you, they can't adversely report you to the credit agencies and they can't bug you. That's the law."
So am I off the hook? Hard to say. I'll keep a close watch on my credit files to make sure that Resurgent doesn't cause any mischief. If it does, I'll have to once again jump through the time-consuming hoops of the credit-reporting agencies.
And I may have to have to spend some money getting a lawyer like Hagen to send a cease-and-desist letter to the debt collector telling them to back off.
Will I see Derrick Davis again? I wish I could say no.
But I'm not that optimistic.
David Lazarus' column runs Tuesdays and Fridays. He also can be seen daily on KTLA-TV Channel 5 and followed on Twitter @LATlazarus. Send tips or feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.