A debt validation letter or request is simply a letter to the collection agency requesting proof the debt is yours and that they have the right, legally, to collect on the debt. In a nutshell, under federal law, a consumer has the right to request the validity of a debt being claimed against them and the company or collection agency has to prove it. So how do they prove it?
First off, lets take a step back and look at two popular views on debt validation letters... Some will tell you to never pay a bad debt or collection account unless it's been validated. Their reason is obvious - why pay a debt to someone who may not have the right to collect on it or even report it on your credit files? This is a good point! The other view is, use the debt validation letter as a threat in your Pay for Delete Letter. Debt validation is a somewhat in depth process and most collection agency do not want to get involved with it, thus using the threat of requesting validation of a debt in a pay for delete letter if they do not agree to the terms is another good option. Yoda's view, both have good points and depending on your unique situation either one could be your best option... If you, in your heart of hearts, know the debt is truly owed by you and that it's likely they will furnish the needed information to validate the debt, you might as well use the debt validation threat in your pay for delete offer. If you're truly not sure or have even a little doubt about the debt or the amount being claimed, obviously, you'd want to request validation of the debt.
If you decide a debt validation letter is the best option for you, here's some information on debt validation, what's required for proof the debt is valid, as well as a sample debt validation letter.
A debt validation letter is a request to prove the account being claimed is legally yours, the amount being claimed is correct and the collection agency claiming it has the legal right to claim it. The information required to prove an account is legitimate is fairly extensive. For example, if you're looking for proof the account balance is correct, you could ask for every statement and every payment ever made to the original creditor. This is something the collection agency will likely not have, and they would have to go to the original creditor to obtain this information to send to you. A collection agency hates to see a letter like this come across their desk and some collection agencies will simply delete the account from your credit report(s), instead of going through the hassel, especially if it's a smaller amount owed.
Sample Debt Validation Letter
Collectiong Agency Name Collection Agency Address Collection Agency City, State Zip
Regarding: Account Number 555-555555
To Collection Agency Manager:
I'm writing you in regards to an account on my credit report(s) you claim I owe. Since I'm unaware of this debt and its origin, I'd like to formally request valdiation of this alleged debt. To be clear, I am unaware of this debt and according to the FDCPA, I'm disputing this alleged claim and need complete, irrefutable evidence this account is legitimately mine and this claim is legally yours, you are legally allowed to collect on it, as well as report it to the credit reporting bureaus.
I would need, at a minimum, the following information:
- Proof I agreed to this debt with my signature(s)
- Proof the amount you are claiming is correct and legal, which will require all statements and payment history from the original creditor
- Proof this account is within the Statute of Limitations and has not expired
- Proof you are the owner of this account, which will require the contract and terms between you and the original creditor
- Proof you are legally licensed (bonded and insured if applicable) to collect this debt in my state
- For verification purposes, I will need your business license number(s)
I am sure you are aware if you are unable to provide these few basic facts, you are in violation of the FCRA and FDCPA, as well as potential state and local laws. That being said, if you cannot provide this basic information, and continue to report this unverified, non-validated debt, I will pursue this legally for the following reasons:
- Defamation of Character
- Violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act
- Violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
- Potential for additional claims as my lawyer sees fit
Until this debt is validated, if even possible to validate, I expect the above account be removed from all credit reporting agencies, since it is unverified and has not been validated. If you continue to report this unverified, non-validated debt, I will be seeking legal counsel over this matter. We are both aware a debt that has not and may not be validated cannot be reported as accurate information within my credit file(s). Please remove all referrences regarding this debt from all reporting agencies until you can provide irrefutable evidence this debt is legitimate and you are legally allowed to collect on it as the owner of this debt.
If you are unable to provide the proof I requested within 30 days of receipt of this notice, please remove and/or continue not reporting this account from all reporting agencies, which is mandated under federal law.
Until the above request for irrefutable evidence about this account is sent to me, please cease and desist all further future attempts to collect on this debt. This includes no phone calls to my home phone number, no calls to my place of work, and no calls to my mobile phone. All further future attempts to collect on this unverified debt by phone must cease and desist until it is validated, if it is even possible to validate. All communication from this point forward must be done via mail! I would also like to warn you and your company that I may, and likely will, use devices to track and/or record any further, future attempts by you or your company to contact me by phone. Please understand, all future phone calls made by or from your company, whether answered or unanswered, may be tracked and recorded. I may also use this information, if needed, to help prosecute you and your company to the fullest extent of the law.
This is an attempt to collect information and/or correct the record. Any and all information collected shall be used for that purpose.
Thanks, YOUR NAME
Pay for delete and Cease and Desist
If you're looking for more sample letters to send to your collection agency, here are links to a sample pay for delete letter and sample cease and desist letter. You are free to copy and use this letter, make changes, add your relevant information and send it on its way!
If you're wondering how much you should offer, a good first offer is around 50% of what's owed. The collection agency will usually either accept the offer or they could counter-offer with a figure somewhere between 50% of what's owed and the full amount. If you really want to get this deleted for as little as possible, read through our Credit Repair Step 3 page. There you'll find a few options and ideas to get the collection agency to accept an offer as low as possible. One quick example is by looking up how much they paid for the debt (you can do this if they are a publicly traded company). For more details visit Credit Repair Step 3