When a consumer is contacted by a debt collector that consumer is entitled to request certain basic information. This is especially useful if the consumer does not believe that they owe the debt. Debt validation is a consumer’s right under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) 15 USC Section 1692g to force the debt collector to prove that the consumer owes the debt.
After the initial communication, the debt collect must notify the consumer, in writing, of their debt validation rights within five days. The “initial communication” can be a phone call, letter, or summons to appear in court. Regardless of how the communication is made the first contact made to the consumer about the debt is the initial communication. There are times when the debt validation notice was included with the first communication. This is allowed under the FDCPA provided it is made in writing.
Consumers can send their debt validation request regardless of whether they receive the debt validation notice from the debt collector. However, the consumer needs to be sure that the request is sent before the 30-day time period has ended to ensure that their rights are protected.
A consumer can send a debt validation letter after the 30 day period has passed but the debt collector is not required to respond to the request. The debt collector does not have to stop collection activity either.
Contents of a Debt Validation Notice
A debt validation notice should be made in writing. Its contents should include:
If a debt collector is not able to validate the debt:
If a debt collector reports an debt they cannot validate to the credit bureaus a consumer can sue in federal or state court for the violation under the FCRA.
Ensuring Proof of Receipt
When a consumer sends the debt validation request, s/he should send it via certified mail with return receipt requested. The consumer can use the return receipt to check the status of the letter with the USPS and as proof that the debt collector received the letter.
Once the dispute is received, the debt collector must cease attempting to collect the debt. This includes phone calls, letters, and reporting the debt to the credit reporting agencies. Collection cannot resume until it responds to the consumer’s dispute.
If after sending a dispute the collection still appears on the consumers credit report check to be sure that the debt collector received the dispute and that it was sent within the 30 day time frame. If the consumer is sure that the dispute was received by the debt collector, the consumer can submit a credit report dispute to the credit bureau, using the debt validation notice and the certified mailing receipt as proof that the debt should not have reported.
Our experienced attorneys here at Krohn and Moss Consumer Law Center have also provided many helpful resources regarding the FDCPA and how debt collectors should act. We have been successfully representing those abused and taken advantage of by debt collectors for years, and have a long list of successful stories to share with you. We offer a FREE CASE REVIEW for you to assess whether we can assist you with your matter. Please do not hesitate to contact us toll free at 1-800-875-3666 or visit our website at http://www.krohnandmoss.com/.