Are you being contacted by a debt collector? Did you know that debt collectors are legally required to send you a letter validating what the debt is and how much you owe? Here’s what you need to know about a debt validation letter:
What Do I Do First?
First, do not send any money to a debt collector. You need to confirm that you even owe any money. The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau recommends that you find out the following information when contacted:
- Identity of the debt collector, including name, address, and phone number
- The amount of the debt, including any fees such as interest or collection costs
- What the debt is for and when the debt was incurred
- The name of the original creditor
- Information about whether you or someone else may owe the debt
Asking For More Information
Tell the debt collector over the phone that you are requesting a written debt validation notice be sent to you. Tell the collector that you want more information about the debt that they are trying to collect. It is important to know that the the debt collector must send you a letter telling you the amount you owe, the name of the creditor you allegedly owe it to and instructions for disputing if you don’t believe the debt is yours within 5 days of the initial contact per the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Keep a log of the date when you were contacted and keep an eye out for the letter from the collector.
We recommend that you at least find out the contact information about the debt collector, so you can send a request for a debt verification letter in writing. Remember, there are a lot of scams out there and you do not want to be a victim. You also do not want to make a payment on an old debt that could be past the statute of limitations.
Asking For a Debt Validation Letter In Writing
You can also send a written request via mail. When writing to the debt collector, be sure to include the following:
- Why does the collector think you owe the debt?
- Who the original creditor is and request documentation that verifies you owe the debt, such as a copy of the original contract.
- How much is owed?
- Age of the debt?
- Request a copy of the last billing statement sent by the original creditor.
- How much was owed when the debt collector purchased the debt?
- Date of last payment?
- Is the debt past the statute of limitations?
- Proof of authority to collect this debt.
It is worth sending this letter by certified mail with a return receipt. This will help you keep track of the correspondence between you and the debt collector. Visit the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB)’s website for sample letters. Remember, you want to be as detailed as possible in your request for debt verification. The debt collector cannot contact you for payment if you send the letter within 30 days of the first contact. During this time the collector will need to verify the debt belongs to you. A letter can be sent after 30 days. However, the collector can continue contacting you for payment while responding to the letter sent after 30 days.
What Happens If I Do Not Receive Anything?
If you still have not received the validation notice within 10 days, be sure to ask for one again the next time you are contacted. Debt collectors are only required to give you information about the original creditor, the name of the person who owes the money, and the balance owed before they can continue trying to collect.
The debt collector will be in violation of the law if they fail to give you a response to your verification letter or send a validation notice. If this happens, file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as soon as possible.
Need More Information?
At the Law Office of Daniela Romero, we believe in relationships that are based on trust. Before we work together, we would like to get to know you and we would like you to get to know us. We want you to be sure you are the right fit for us and that we are the perfect fit for you. This will allow you to be completely comfortable sharing intimate and difficult details of your case, so we can offer you representation to the fullest extent of the law. Call us today to set up a free consultation.