If a debt collector contacts you and claims you owe a debt, how can you make them prove that you still owe it?
Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), you have the legal right to make the debt collector prove the validity of the debt.
Every collector must send you a written “Validation Notice” telling you how much money you owe within five days after they first contact you. This notice also must include the name of the creditor to whom you owe the money, and how to proceed if you don’t think you owe the money.
When you receive a letter from a debt collector, it basically states that you have 30 days to dispute the validity of the debt and that if you do not, then the debt will deemed to be valid. If you don't think you owe the debt, then you must send a WRITTEN REQUEST to the collector within 30 days of receiving the validation request.
Your Debt Validation letter should say something like:
Dear XYZ Collections:
I am sending this letter in response to a letter (or phone call) I received on (date).
Your reference number is 123456789.
I am requesting that you provide validation of this debt according to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
If you do not provide validation, I will file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and your state's Attorney General for Civil and/or Criminal claims.
It is best that you send the request via certified mail with a return receipt request. This way, you can prove that they received it.As soon as the collector receives the written request, they cannot contact you unless it is to provide you with proof that the debt is valid.
After receiving your request, the collection agency must send you proof that it owns or has been assigned the debt by the original creditor. It is not considered validation for the collection agency to state that you owe the debt. They must provide documentation from original creditor.
If the debt collector does not respond to your request within 30 days, they may not continue to attempt to collect the debt from you nor can they list the debt on your credit report. However, if the debt collector does list the debt on your credit report, you can dispute the debt with the credit bureau.
Key Debt Validation Takeaways:
- You have the legal right to make any debt collector prove the validity of the debt they are trying to collect.
- Once you receive a collections letter, send them a Debt Validation Letter via Certified Mail. The creditor mus receive this letter within 30 days.
- If a creditor falsely reports a debt to your credit report, you can dispute the debt with the credit bureau.
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phot by: Eleaf