Debt Validation

What is debt validation and how can it help you?

Debt validation is a process by which creditors are held accountable for proving you owe the funds that appear in your name. It is a basic right to challenge debt that may have been wrongfully attributed to you.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) grants every American the right to contest wrongfully attributed debt by written appeal to the collector within 30 days of a collection request – also called the initial communication. A creditor need not necessarily contact you in writing – they may also do so by phone – but must identify themselves clearly and explain to you on whose behalf they are collecting and the amount owed. If the initial communication made by the collector is by phone, they then have 5 days to notify you in writing that what they are claiming is owed. The 30 day counter for contesting the collection will begin as of the date of the call or first letter.

If you don’t receive the written request within five days, although this is a right, you may have received it and not realized and it may have been included in the initial communication with you if it was made in writing (this is legally permissible). In any case, you should act quickly to ensure you don’t miss the 30-day window.

What your creditor’s debt
validation notice must include:

Anatomy of a letter requesting debt validation

Your debt validation request letter should clearly indicate your identity and that of the collection agency as well as the account reference numbers.
It should clearly state that the letter is not a refusal to pay but a claim dispute and validation request under the FDCPA and proof of contractual obligation for payment.

Your letter should indicate that you will require a timeframe within which to verify the charge and demand that all collection action cease until verification is completed. This will include reporting to the credit bureaus and other actions that may penalize you.

Your letter should warn that failure to respond to your request within 30 days will indicate abandonment on the part of the creditor.

To ensure your rights are

Have your rights been violated?

If the debt attributed to you is reported to the credit bureaus despite your having sent a written dispute, and if you have proof that the creditor and collection agency have received your request, you have the right to submit a credit report dispute to the credit bureau.

You can also report the creditor violation to the FCPA, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and sue for up to $1000.