What Does Debt Validation Mean? When a collection company is attempting to collect, debt validation can be requested as a means of determining if the company is attempting to collect on a valid debt that belongs to you. Consumers have the right to request written proof that the debt attempting to be collected does indeed belong to them. There are several laws that need to be followed to properly request debt validation. According to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), you have 30 days from the first written notice to request validation of the claimed debt. If a written request is sent to the collection company within the 30 day time window then they must respond with proof that the debt is valid and the consumer they are attempting to collect from is the one that is legally obligated to pay the debt. The FDCPA does not clearly define what counts as proper debt validation. Some collection companies will send copies of consumer contracts, with signatures and terms of the agreement, etc and typically that will satisfy the requirements. It shows the agreement to pay and the signature of the party obligated to the debt. Too often, very questionable validation is sent. Some companies send a printout of the consumers name and the account number. This does not appear to be proper validation, but the trouble here is that the FDCPA does not say exactly what is acceptable and what is not. Any company can type out the name of the consumer and the account number and send that, and that does not give any proof of ownership. This type of response indicates that the collection company does not have proper proof. Most collection companies buy debt in bulk at such a deep discount. It is doubtful that they also obtain the complete records along with each account. Do they actually own the debt? Do they have proof? Are they even licensed to collect in your state? Is there any pending litigation against their company? These are all important questions that you need to get the answers to prior to even considering paying a collection account. There are far too many instances of companies going after the wrong person for an alleged debt. Many times these collection agencies will not respond to a written request for debt validation. They simply ignore them, and this is a violation of the FDCPA. If a consumer makes a timely request for written validation and the company does not respond then the consumer can file a lawsuit in Federal Court. Each violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is worth up to $1,000. Many consumer protection attorneys will take these cases on with no out of pocket expense from the consumer. If you want to combat a credit report full of collection accounts it is a good idea to retain the services of a credit repair company to handle the situation for you. They know the laws and have the experience dealing with these collection companies on a daily basis. Do not let collection companies violate the laws and harm your credit scores at the same time. Credit repair can be used to successfully remove collection accounts from your credit reports.
Published on Oct 7, 2012