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If you’re tired of harassing calls from collection agencies, you may be able to put an end to collection calls — and your creditor’s right to collect money from you — with a debt validation. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) has put several laws into effect that protect innocent people from debt collectors. You might be able to put an end to collection agency phone calls, get information that will help you negotiate a payment plan for your debt, or even prohibit a particular collection agency from contacting you at all by using a process called debt validation.
What is Debt Validation?
Debt validation is, as the name states, asking a collection agency or creditor to “validate” the fact that you do, indeed, owe the creditor money. It’s easy to request a debt validation. Here are the steps to take:
1. Send a debt validation letter to the collection agency within 30 days. If you do not send this letter within 30 days, you are, by your inaction, accepting that the debt is valid. Keep a copy of the letter and send it certified mail, return receipt requested.
2. Wait for the collection agency’s response, which must include:
- Proof that the collection agency either owns, or is responsible for collecting, your debt
- Your current account payment history
- Any fees or interest charges on the account
- Original account statements or your original agreement with the creditor
3. If all of these documents are not included, which would prove that you do owe the debt, contact the collection agency and request that they contact the three major credit reporting agencies in the U.S. (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax) and have the negative information removed from your credit reports.
4. Follow up with the credit reporting agencies to be sure the negative items have been removed. If they haven’t, you can threaten legal action against the collection agency.
Using Debt Validation to Your Advantage
There are several advantages to debt validation. First, it will buy time as the collection agency gathers and mails the paperwork. The collection agency cannot contact you to collect the debt until they respond to your request for debt validation.
Additionally, if a collection agency has purchased a debt from your creditor, it may not be easy to obtain original account statements or your original agreement. If the credit agency cannot provide these materials, they cannot legally attempt to collect the debt. If a collection agency doesn’t keep careful paperwork, you can use debt validation to your advantage.
Remain diligent about your case, and don’t forget to report your situation to the credit reporting agencies to have unvalidated, negative items removed from your credit report.