The letter below is a sample debt validation letter. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) gives you the right to request validation and provides you many other protections against debt collectors.
For best results, you will need to get familiar with the FDCPA and debt validation if you are not already. We’ll take you step-by-step through the process so that you know your rights as well as the best action to take to get your credit score back on track.
How does the collections process work?
There are three main parties in the debt collection process. First, there is the original creditor: the person or company who is owed money. This is the credit card company, the doctor’s office, or the landlord who is trying to collect the debt.
When the original creditor gets tired of trying to collect the money, they sell the debt to the second party in the process: the debt collector.
Debt collectors specialize in collecting debts – they call and send letters demanding payment. The third party is the credit bureau or the consumer reporting agency. These are companies like Equifax, Experian, and Transunion.
Any party, an original creditor or a debt collector, can report a missed payment or other negative financial information to a credit bureau.
The credit bureau keeps the information on file and various entities use the credit bureau’s reports to make judgments about an individual, such as a lender to determine whether or not an individual gets a loan and at what interest rate.
What is debt validation?
The federal government passed FDCPA to protect consumers from harassment and unfair practices by collection agencies. Among other protections, it states that they cannot call at unreasonable hours and must stop contacting an individual if they inform them they do not wish to be contacted.
Perhaps most importantly, the law states that they must provide proof the debt they seek to collect is accurate and they have the right to collect it.
While you have the right to request validation of your debt, it must be completed within a certain timeframe. As soon as you hear from the debt collector for the first time, you must submit your debt validation letter within 30 days.
Calling the collection agency directly isn’t recommended because your rights aren’t necessarily protected. You have no documentation of the communication and you might let your emotions get the best of you. For the most effective results and to cover all your legal bases, it’s best to send a letter.
How to Write a Debt Validation Letter
Debt validation letters should be concise and professional. You are not required to give any details about your debt; in fact, this is highly advised against. Never admit to owing the debt or divulge whether or not you intend on making any payments.
If you do, you could inadvertently reset the statute of limitations on the debt. Depending on how close it is to expiring, you may add years back to the length of time the debt collector can sue you for your debt.
What you should include in your letter is when and how they initially contacted you. If it was over the phone, reference the date and time. If you received a letter in the mail, you can include the date it was postmarked.
Next, simply state your request that the collector validates the debt. To show them that you know your legal rights, inform them that you plan on reporting them to the appropriate regulators if they do not respond in a timely manner.
Another important part of the process is to send your letter via certified mail. This provides you with a receipt stating when the letter was actually received by the debt collection agency.
When you’re dealing with potentially tricky companies, it’s good to keep a paper trail every single step of the way. Keep this and copies of everything else you’ve sent and received in case you do need to report the debt collection agency to the proper regulators.
After Sending the Letter
The debt collector has 30 days to respond to your request. If they don’t, they are not allowed to make any more collection attempts on the debt. If they do, they’re in violation of the FDCPA and you may report them to the FTC and your state attorney general’s office.
You may later find out that your debt has been sold yet again to a new collection agency. In this event, you’ll need to submit a new debt validation letter as soon as you hear from them.
If they don’t send you the proper validation, you have a few different ways to respond. You can ignore the debt completely, but the collection attempts won’t stop and it’ll be difficult to increase your credit over the coming years — not to mention qualify for new credit.
You also have the option to completely pay off the debt, if possible. You can also reach a settlement with the collection agency, which could entail either paying a lump sum less than what you owe or making monthly payments for a certain period.
Before you make any decisions, check out your state’s laws on statute of limitations to make sure the debt is still open. If the statute of limitations has passed, you can no longer be sued for the amount owed.
Debt Validation Letter Sample
To Whom It May Concern:
This letter is being sent to you in response to a notice sent to me on (Date) or in response to a listing on my credit report (Choose Which Sentence Best Represents Your Situation). Be advised this is not a refusal to pay, but a notice sent pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 USC 1692g Sec. 809 (8), stating your claim is disputed and validation is requested.
This is NOT a request for “verification” or proof of my mailing address, but a request for VALIDATION made pursuant to the above-named Title and Section. I respectfully request your offices provide me with competent evidence that I have any legal obligation to pay you.
At this time I will also inform you that if your offices have reported invalidated information to any of the 3 major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian or TransUnion) this action might constitute fraud under both Federal and State Laws. Due to this fact, if any negative mark is found on any of my credit reports by your company or the company that you represent, I will not hesitate in bringing legal action against you and your client for the following:
Violation of the FCRA
Violation of the FDCPA
Defamation of Character
If your offices are able to provide the proper documentation as requested in the following Declaration, I will require at least 30 days to investigate this information, during which time all collection activity must cease and desist. Also during this validation period, if any action is taken which could be considered detrimental to any of my credit reports, I will consult with my legal counsel for suit.
This includes any listing of any information to a credit reporting repository that could be inaccurate or invalidated. If your office fails to respond to this validation request within 30 days from the date of your receipt, all references to this account must be deleted and completely removed from my credit file and a copy of such deletion request shall be sent to me immediately.
(OPTIONAL CEASE & DESIST) I would also like to request, in writing, that no further telephone contact be made by your offices to my home or to my place of employment. If your offices continue to attempt telephone communication with me it will be considered harassment and I will have no choice but to file suit. All future communications with me MUST be done in writing and sent to the address noted in this letter.
It would be advisable that you and your client assure that your records are in order before I am forced to take legal action.
CREDITOR/DEBT COLLECTOR DECLARATION
Please provide all of the following information and submit the appropriate forms and paperwork within 30 days from the date of your receipt of this request for validation.
Name and Address of Alleged Creditor:
Name on File of Alleged Debtor:
Alleged Account #:
Address on File for Alleged Debtor:
Amount of debt:
Date that this debt became payable:
Date of original charge off or delinquency:
Was this debt assigned to debt collector or purchased?
Amount paid if debt was purchased:
Commission for debt collector if collection efforts are successful:
Please attach a copy of the agreement with your client that grants (Collection Agency Name) the authority to collect this alleged debt.
Also, please attach a copy of any signed agreement debtor has made with debt collector, or other verifiable proof debtor has a contractual obligation to pay debt collector.
Please attach a copy of any agreement that bears the signature of debtor, wherein he/she agreed to pay creditor.
Please attach copies of all statements while this account was open.
Have any insurance claims been made by any creditor regarding this account? YES or NO (circle one)
Have any judgments been obtained by any creditor regarding this account? YES or NO (circle one)
Please provide the name and address of the bonding agent for (Name Of Debt Collector), in case legal action becomes necessary:
Authorized Signature For Creditor
You must return this completed form along with copies of all requested information, assignments or other transfer agreements, which would establish your right to collect this alleged debt within 30 days from the date of this letter.
Your claim cannot and WILL NOT be considered if any portion of this form is not completed and returned with copies of all requested documents. This is a request for validation made pursuant to the FDCPA. Please allow 30 days for processing after I receive this information back.