How to Make a Debt Validation Letter – The Ultimate Guide[yoast-breadcrumb]
How to Make a Debt Validation Letter – The Ultimate Guide
Dealing with debt collectors can be super stressful. Especially when they start making threats to sue you or garnish your wages. But did you know you have legal rights to make them verify the debt first? This guide will teach you how to write the perfect debt validation letter.
Let’s start with the basics. A debt validation letter is a specific type of letter you can send to collection agencies. It invokes your right under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) to verify the debt. This makes the collector prove they have the right to collect on the debt and that the amount is correct.
Why Send a Validation Letter?
There’s a few great reasons to send a debt validation letter:
- It stops the collections calls and letters – The FDCPA requires collectors to stop contacting you until they validate the debt. Peace and quiet!
- You might not even owe the debt – Debt collectors often don’t have proper documentation. The original creditor may have sold it incorrectly.
- The amount could be wrong – You may owe less than they claim, especially if its an old debt with interest and fees added.
- It buys you time – The collector has to stop contacting you until they mail validation. This can take weeks or months.
So in summary, a debt validation letter can stop harassment, fix errors, lower amounts owed, and buy time. What’s not to like?
Is the Collector Required to Validate?
Yes! The FDCPA requires debt collectors to provide validation if asked. Section 809 of the FDCPA says collectors must cease collection until they obtain and mail you verification of the debt. If they don’t, you can sue them or report them to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Some shady collectors will ignore validation letters or fail to send complete proof. But the law is clear – they must validate if requested. Don’t let them intimidate you!
When to Send the Letter
The best time to send a debt validation letter is when you first hear from a collection agency. Don’t admit you owe the debt or make any payment agreements. Just send the validation letter right away.
You can send a validation letter at any point, but it’s best to do it immediately. The sooner you send it, the sooner the harassment stops.
What to Include in the Letter
Your debt validation letter only needs to contain a few things:
- A request for validation
- Your name and contact info
- The debt account number
You want to keep it short and to the point. Avoid getting into arguments about whether you owe the debt. Stick to simply requesting proof.
Here’s a sample letter:
Your Name 123 Main St Anytown, TX 12345 Date Debt Collector Name Debt Collector Address Re: Acct # 123456 Dear Debt Collector: I am writing regarding account number 123456 you are attempting to collect on. Pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Section 809, I am requesting validation of this debt. Please provide me with the following proof that I am legally obligated to pay this debt: - Your certification of the amount of the debt - Copies of any judgments - The name and address of the original creditor - Proof that you own the right to collect on this debt Cease collection activities until you have provided me with this verification. Sincerely, Your Name
Simple right? Adjust the letter as needed for your situation, but those are the key items to include.
How to Send the Validation Letter
You’ll want to send your debt validation letter via certified mail with return receipt. This creates a paper trail proving they received it. Save the receipt and tracking number.
You can also send it priority mail with delivery confirmation if certified mail is too expensive. Just make sure you have proof it was delivered.
Email or fax alone isn’t good enough. You need physical proof they received the letter. Send it certified or priority mail for peace of mind.
What Happens After Sending It?
After you send the debt validation letter, a few things happen:
- The collections calls and letters must stop – The FDCPA requires them to cease collection until providing proof.
- They have 30 days to validate the debt – If they can’t validate in 30 days, the debt is considered invalid.
- You can dispute errors – If the validation is incomplete or incorrect, you can send a dispute letter.
- If validated, you must pay or negotiate – If they validate properly, you’ll have to pay, settle, or set up a payment plan.
So in summary – the harassment stops, they have 30 days to send validation, and you can dispute any errors. Use this time to evaluate your options if they do validate properly.
Disputing Errors in the Validation
Debt collectors often fail to fully validate debts. The original creditor may have provided incomplete records or incorrect info. If the validation seems wrong, you can dispute it.
Send a separate dispute letter explaining what info is missing or incorrect. Include copies of any proof that contradicts their validation. The collector then has 30 days to obtain and send complete verification.
Disputing errors in the validation forces the collector to double check everything. Many debts fall apart upon closer scrutiny. Don’t be afraid to dispute – it’s your right!
Can Validation Letters Backfire?
While super rare, there’s a chance validation could backfire. If the collector provides complete and accurate verification quickly, they may resume collection activities faster than if you had done nothing.
But in most cases, the collector can’t quickly validate properly. Sending a letter buys you time and stops harassment. Just be prepared to pay or negotiate if they do validate correctly right away.
Other Validation Letter Tips
Here’s a few other quick tips for making a great validation letter:
- Be polite – Don’t make demands or threats. Simply request information.
- Keep records – Save copies of the letter, certified mail receipts, tracking info, etc.
- Follow up if needed – You can send additional dispute letters if the initial validation is incomplete.
- Get help if sued – If they do sue, be sure to respond within the required time and seek legal assistance.
And that’s it! Follow these steps and you’ll have an effective debt validation letter. The collector must then validate or cease collection. Use this process to stop harassment and ensure debts are accurate.
We hope this guide helps you deal with debt collectors and protect your rights! Don’t let them intimidate you – you have the power. Now go get em!
Good luck! -The Team at Delancey Street