It is commonplace for debt collectors to contact individuals looking for payment. When you receive phone calls and notices demanding payment, your first order of business should be to seek verification, primarily if you dispute the claim. To request validation of a debt claimed by a collector, you must have the right tools and knowledge. A debt validation letter is an appropriate legal means by which you can request verification. However, before writing a debt validation letter, you should understand when to send it and how it allows you to exercise your rights. It would be best to understand what should be included in the debt validation letter to ensure it appropriately outlines your dispute or request for information.
A debt validation letter is a legal demand letter used by customers to request proof of a debt collector’s claims that money is owed.
It outlines a customer’s need to know the creditor’s name and the amount the debt collector claims is owed. According to the Federal Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), debt collectors must provide proof of the customer’s debt. Customers should cite the following law when a debt collector makes a claim:
Law (15 U.S. Code § 1692g(b)): This law stipulates that a resident of the United States has a right to request information about a debt claimed by a debt collector within thirty days of the demand for payment. The request should be indicated in writing and sent via mail.
Your Right to Request Validation
You have a right to seek validation if you believe that you do not owe the debt claimed by the debt collector. You can also request validation if you believe that the amount claimed is owned by someone else. If you believe that that debt account is still with the original creditor, you have a right to seek validation from the collector requesting proof that the creditor has passed on the debt to the collection agency. You may also request validation if you believe that the statute of limitations on the debt has expired.
You should ensure that the debt collection validation letter is sent within thirty days of the initial notification of the debt. Remember, once you send the debt validation letter, the collector should halt all debt collection efforts, including calling you, writing letters demanding payment, or listing the debt in your credit report.
However, your rights may be nullified if you send the validation letter after the 30 days lapses. Therefore, you should avoid making a verbal request and instead indicate the request in writing to ensure your rights are protected as stipulated in the debt collection laws.
Tip: You have a right to ask the collector to send a detailed debt validation letter instead of making the verifications over the phone. The letter should be sent within five days.
Writing a Debt Validation Letter
When requesting information about an outstanding debt, you should be clear about the details the debt collector must provide. It is, therefore, essential that you understand how to compose a well-written debt validation letter. In addition, it would help if you also understood how the information should be structured in the letter. The following is a guide on how to write a debt validation letter:
The header should contain basic information about you and the recipient. It should be indicated at the top left corner of the page. It provides essential contextual information as below:
- Your name, address, and date: The header should begin by indicating your name, address, and date of writing. Firstly, you should write your full name. Then, the address should be composed indicating, the street address, city, state, and zip code. Finally, write the date when you are writing the letter.
- Debt collector’s name, address, and account number: The debtor’s details should be indicated after the date of writing. The details must consist of the debt collector’s name, address, and debt account number. The account number helps the debt collector identify which debt account the customer will be referring to.
The debt collection letter should begin with a clear introduction. The introduction should go straight to the point to ensure that the letter is brief.
The following should be outlined in the introduction:
- Write the purpose of the correspondence: The introduction should explain why the letter has been written. Indicating a clear purpose for the correspondence alerts the debt collector as to the letter’s central issue.
Next, the body should go into further detail about the information the customer is requesting. It should also outline precise details about the debt that the customer may be aware of.
The following information should be indicated in the body:
- Mention the amount and the name of the creditor: The body should mention the amount you are believed to owe and the original creditor’s name. The original notification should also indicate any interest added or payment you are believed to have made. You should also mention the date when the original debt with the creditor is believed to have been due.
- Ask for the debt validation: A request for verification should be made on whether the debt falls within the statute of limitations and what criteria the agency has used to determine it. In addition, the debt collector should be asked to provide details on whether the agency is authorized to collect the debt if the debtor is licensed within the state, and information on the license date, name, and number should be required. The name and contact details of the agency issuing the number should also be requested.
Finally, a conclusion should outline that you are disputing the debt. You demand what action the debt collector should desist from doing until verified information is provided.
The conclusion should also contain the following details:
- Thank them in anticipation: It would be best if you thank the debt collector in anticipation of the details to be provided. Then, the words’ sincerely’, ‘thank you, ‘regards,’ among others, can be used to end the letter.
- Your signature: You must sign the letter at the end. The signature signals the end of the debt validation letter.
How to Send a Debt Validation Letter?
Sending a debt validation letter requires a well-streamlined process to be followed. The process will ensure that legal considerations are made. It will also ensure that the letter’s massaging is clear.
The following is a guide on how to send a debt validation letter:
Write the debt validation letter
First, the debt validation letter should be drafted to acquire information about the name and address of the creditor and ask why you are responsible for the debt. Secondly, it should contain specific details about what you would like the debt collector to verify. Third, a debt validation letter should be brief to ensure that only relevant details are provided.
Add a cease-and-desist addendum
Under § 805(c), you can add a cease-and-desist supplement if you are aware of the debt and demand the debt collector stop contacting you. The cease-and-desist supplement acts as a warning to the debt collector. In addition, you can file a lawsuit if the debt collector persists.
Sign the letter
The debt validation letter should be sent via the United States postal service with a return receipt. Once the letter is delivered, the debt collector should sign the receipt. Then, the receipt should be sent back to you. This process ensures that the debt validation letter is legally served to the debt collector.
Send and wait for 30 days
According to federal law (15 U.S. Code § 1692g(b), you should wait for 30 days for the response of debt collectors. The thirty-day period allows the debt collector to investigate and provide feedback to you. The request will no longer be deemed valid if you take more than thirty days to seek validation.
Debt Validation Letter Template
[Collection Agency’s name]
[Collection Agency’s Address]
RE: Account [account number]
I am writing about a debt that is being claimed against me. I was informed of the debt by [collection agency’s representative]. Regarding the Federal Debt Collection Practice Act, I request that your representative provide adequate validation for the debt.
According to your representative’s notification, I owe [dollar amount] to [creditor name]. I, however, dispute this debt. I would like you to provide the following information [List information requested]
I expect that until your office responds to my request, no further efforts by your office will be made to collect the money claimed. You have thirty days to respond. If your office does not respond, the account must be erased from your files.
Debt Validation Letter Sample
6373 Mains Street
Mike white Collections Agency
435 Main Avenue
RE: Account 0000111000
Dear Alex Rivers,
I am writing about a debt that is being claimed against me. I was informed of the debt by Stacy Bloom. Regarding the Federal Debt Collection Practice Act, I request that your representative provide adequate validation for the debt.
According to your representative’s notification, I owe fifty thousand dollars to Brian Winter. I, however, dispute this debt. I would like you to provide the agreement with the creditor that authorizes you to collect, complete account history, and proof of the alleged debt, including the alleged contract.
I expect that until your office responds to my request, no further efforts will be made to collect the money claimed. You have thirty days to respond. If your office does not respond, the account must be erased from your files.
Debt Collector’s Response
The debt collector is expected to send you documentation containing adequate information about the debt claimed upon receiving the debt validation letter. You should compare the information contained in the document to your records to verify the claim and determine any further cause for dispute. If the debt collector cannot provide sufficient proof that you owe the debt, then all collection efforts must be halted.
You can opt to negotiate with that debt collector, set up a payment plan, or make a partial payment of the debt. You can also employ the help of an attorney if the amount owed is large and you are unsure of the following steps you should take.
Finally, if you have no interest in paying a debt that is outside your state’s statute of limitations, you can opt to ignore it. However, the debt collector has a right to continue debt collection efforts indefinitely are it is clear that you owe the money claimed.
Points to Remember
- A debt validation letter enables a resident of the United States to request information about a debt claimed by a debt collector. It should be sent within thirty days of the original demand for payment by the collector.
- You have a right to request proof of the debt claimed if you believe that the debt is owed by someone else if you believe you do not owe a debt claimed by the collector, if you believe that the statute of limitation on the debt has expired or if you believe that the debt account is still with the original creditor.
- A debt collection validation letter should contain the debt collector’s name, address, debt account number, the amount claimed, the creditor’s name, and a request for debt validation.
- The debt collector should respond to the letter in writing. Adequate documentation should be sent to you for verification and comparison to your records. The debt collector must halt all collection efforts if proof of the debt claimed is insufficient
Frequently Asked Questions
A response time window is not indicated by law. However, the debt collector is required to stop collection efforts and respond to a customer’s request for evidence of the debt to be provided. Customers are required to review and confirm the accuracy of the documents provided by the collector.
An individual who is unsure of the debt claimed by a collector should request debt validation. The request should be made within 30 days of the original notification failure to which the debt collector is not obligated to respond. Customers are required to indicate the request in writing to ensure their rights are protected.