A debt verification letter is a form used for confirming if a debt is valid. It is sent to a creditor or collection agency after receiving a letter requesting payment for an unpaid balance. Per Federal Law (15 USC 1692g), the debt collector is required to provide information on the balance so long the debtor sends a verification letter within thirty (30) days of the initial communication.
The verification letter should be sent via certified mail – an important step that provides the debtor with proof that the letter was sent within the allotted thirty (30) day time window. Once received, the collector must send evidence that the debt is valid back to the debtor. If no response is received from the creditor within thirty (30) days, the debt will be considered invalid.
Follow the steps below to verify if a debt is genuine:
Starting from the date the debtor first receives a request for payment from the collector (the “initial contact”), they will have thirty (30) days to send the validation letter. The initial contact from the collector can be from a phone call OR mailed notice. While the debtor can technically send a letter after the thirty (30) day period, the collector won’t have a legal obligation to respond to it.
The debtor will need to download the letter template and complete the roughly ten (10) fields on the document. Being a template, certain sections can be edited to better match the debtor’s scenario. Although this is by no means a requirement. The purpose of the validation letter is to inform the collector that the debtor is: (1) – aware of their rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), and (2) – requesting additional information to prove the debt is real.
Once the letter has been completed in full, the debtor should sign above their printed name. While not a requirement, this adds a level of authenticity to the letter. The signature can be hand-written or added with eSign.
Bring the signed letter to a nearby USPS store and request the letter be sent via Certified Mail with signature confirmation. Sending the letter this way creates an official paper trail, allowing the sender (debtor) to prove that the letter was (a) successfully delivered at the collector’s address, and (b) that it was received within the mandated thirty (30) days.
Once the letter has been delivered to the creditor, they will have thirty (30) days to respond. If a response isn’t received within this timeframe, the debt is considered invalid per Federal law, and the debtor can move on.
If the creditor tries to recollect again, the debtor can send the collector a cease-and-desist letter to put a stop to all future collection attempts. However, because debt is often sold and resold, the debtor may need to issue additional cease-and-desist letters for each time the debt is resold.
If the collector responds with information regarding the debt, it’s important for the debtor to go through all provided documentation carefully, looking for anything that could point to the charge from being incorrectly assigned.
If the debt is valid and it hasn’t passed the statute of limitations for the debtor’s state, the debtor can begin making payments on the debt, or they can attempt to reach a deal with the creditor by sending them a debt settlement offer letter. With the letter, the debtor offers to make a lump-sum payment to the collector (for less than the amount of the debt), in exchange for having the remaining debt forgiven.
Step 1 – Debtor Name + Mailing Info
The first three (3) lines at the top of the letter are reserved for the person sending the document. For this letter, that person is the debtor. On the first line, write the full (first + last) name of the debtor, followed by their street address on the second line, and their city, state, and ZIP code on the third line.
Step 2 – Creditor Mailing Info
The creditor’s address will be written in a similar way, except the first line will be for the name of the collection company (instead of the name of a person). On the second line, write the street address of the creditor, including a suite/office number (if any). On the third line, type their city, state, and ZIP.
Step 3 – Date
Type the full date that the debtor will be mailing the letter. Ex: “July 10th, 2022”.
Step 4 – Initial Contact + Account #
Next, type the date (mm/dd/yyyy) that the creditor first communicated with the debtor. This can be in the form of an email or phone call. Then, enter the account number (#) associated with the debt. The account number can often be found on any documents that were sent from the creditor. If the account number is not known, this field can be left blank or deleted.
Step 5 – Print Name & Sign
Finally, the debtor will need to sign and print their name at the bottom of the letter. After typing (or writing) their name, the debtor can upload the completed letter to eSign and sign the letter electronically, or print the letter and sign their name in ink.
The letter is now ready to be mailed to the creditor via certified mail.