UNDER THE FAIR DEBT COLLECTION PRACTICES ACT (a federal law regulating debt collectors), you have the right to request that any debt collector send you proof of the debt in question. This process is called debt validation or debt verification.
The right to dispute a debt and receive validation are part of the consumer’s rights.
A debt collector is any person or entity, including lawyers, who regularly attempt to collect consumer debts. Such a person is required to respond to your debt validation request
A consumer can dispute a debt at any time, but only a written request sent within thirty days of the first written notice of the debt triggers validation rights. However, failure by the consumer to dispute the debt during this thirty day period does not constitute a legal admission of the debt.
A debt collector must cease all attempts to collect the debt until they have sent a sufficient response.
At a minimum, the debt collector is required to confirm with the creditor the amount being claimed is correct and that the person from whom they are attempting to collect the debt is the person who owes it.
To be valid, your request for debt validation must be submitted in writing. You can dispute the entire debt, part of the debt, or request the name of the original creditor (debts are bought and sold and any specific debt collector may not be at all associated with your original creditor).
Your debt validation letter should be sent in writing. It’s best to send the letter via certified mail with return receipt requested. This way, you have proof of the letter’s mailing and receipt by the debt collector. If you have to file a lawsuit against the debt collector, the certified and return receipts will help strengthen your case.
Any dispute of the debt must also be reported by the creditor on the consumer’s credit report pursuant to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).