Consumers have certain tools available to them that offer protection from debt collectors. This is especially useful if you think you have been contacted by a debt collector about a debt that you think is not yours or you are not sure is valid. Debt validation is a process that allows you to request and receive information about a debt when a debt collector contacts you. If the debt collector is unable to or chooses not to provide the information you request about a debt, you have the right to request the debt be removed from your credit report.
Why Should You Request Validation before Paying a Debt?
You might think that if a debt collector collects debt for a living, they will ensure a debt is legitimate before contacting you. The exact opposite is true. Mistakes happen, but there are also instances in which a collector contacts you knowing a debt is invalid just to see if you will pay. Fake debt collection notices have been sent in writing and phone calls have been made in an effort to bilk consumers out of their hard earned money in the name of invalid debt. This is why you should always perform a validation request before paying money to any bill collector.
Many debt collectors provide you with a validation notice when they first contact you if the initial contact is through mail. Once that first contact is made, the debt collector has five days to provide you with this notice, whether their contact was made via phone, email, or mail. You then have 30 days in which to dispute the debt. If no dispute is filed, the debt collector assumes the debt is valid. If you do file a validation request, collection efforts must stop until the matter is resolved.
How to Submit a Validation Request
Debt validation requests must be submitted in writing to be legally valid. In the validation request, you can dispute all or part of the debt, or make a request for the name and information of the original creditor. In order to contact you again the debt collector must provide the information you request in the letter. It is important to send this request via certified mail and request a receipt so you have proof the debt collector received it.
Your next move is based on the information provided by the debt collector, so it is important you determine if the debt is valid. If it is not there is no reason for you to pay the debt. And if the debt is valid and proven to be so by the collector, you still have options.
If you have questions about debt collection or you need assistance creating a debt validation request, we can help. Contact the Law Offices of Robert M. Geller at 813.254.5696 for more information.