Debt Validation Letter: How to Avoid Getting in Hot Water
Don’t fear the mailman anymore. If that dreaded letter comes in the mail, we can help. Below you will find sound advice for how to handle a debt validation letter.
Collectors are obligated to send you a debt validation letter that details the debt that they claim you owe. Follow these steps if you receive this unwanted letter.
Step 1, Review the Debt Validation Letter
According to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) the letter must include:
- The amount of the debt
- The name of the creditor to whom the debt is owed
- A statement that the debt is assumed valid unless the consumer, within thirty days after receipt of the notice, disputes the validity of the debt
- A statement that the debt collector will obtain verification of the debt or a copy of a judgment if the consumer disputes the debt collector in writing within the thirty-day period
- A statement that the debt collector will provide the consumer with the name and address of the original creditor, upon the consumer’s written request within the thirty-day period
In essence, the letter should tell you how much you owe, who you owe it to and what to do if you want to dispute the claim.
Step 2, Send a Debt Verification Letter
If you believe the information is incorrect or you do not owe the debt claimed, then it could be time to send a debt verification letter.
One thing to note here is that you should only send a debt verification letter if you genuinely think the debt or debt amount is incorrect. By sending a verification letter you are essentially opening yourself up to inspection by the collection agency and collection calls. Also, note that debt validation won’t repair your credit or fix the problem if there is one, and if the debt is verified you may be asked to pay back the debt immediately.
Here are some samples of debt verification letters.
Step 3, Timing is Everything
The first piece of timing to note is your 30 day window to respond to the validation letter. But the greater timing will involve the age of the debt. Because of statute of limitations laws, you may not owe the debt if it is too old.
In Florida, the debt statutes of limitations is 5 years for a written contract, 4 for a verbal contract, 5 for promissory notes and 4 for open-ended accounts. If you have reached these limitations, the debt is not yours to pay. Additionally, if you are near enough to these limitations, it could be best for you to wait to send a verification letter.
Step 4, Only Pay if You Are Legally Responsible
After all that rigmarole, the debt is still only yours to pay if you are legally responsible. If the collection agency will not relent, even though you have provided proof of your lack of responsibility, then it may be time to get an attorney to settle the case and even file a countersuit.
We know, it’s a lot. Debt and collectors can take a toll psychologically. We want to keep you safe and sound so you can breathe free, which is why we’re here to fight for you. Contact us today for a consultation if debt is hanging over your head.