The FDCPA does a lot to protect debtors from unfair and unethical collections practices. One of the most powerful abilities this grants debtors is the right to require that their creditor verify the validity and amount of the debt that they are trying to collect.
How to Request Debt Verification
When a collection agency first contacts you, they will almost always provide you with information regarding the amount of the debt, who the debt is owed to, and that you have the option to dispute the debt. If you do decide to request debt verification, you must send a letter within 30 days which states that you are disputing the validity of the debt, that you want the name and address of the person the debt was originally owed to, and that you want documents which verify the debt.
How Debt Verification Can Help You
If you request verification of your debt, the creditor is required to stop collection efforts until it is able to validate the debt and send you the verification. Secondly, in some cases in which your debt has been sold, requesting verification may be able to reduce or erase your debts. Often, collection agencies will request the incorrect amount or request it from the wrong person. Additionally, if they are not able to verify your debt, you may not be required to pay it.
Failing to Request Debt Verification
If you neglect to request debt verification within 30 days of receiving your first collection letter, then your creditor can continue to attempt to collect from you as they can now assume that the debt is valid. At this point, the collection agency has the right to use any legal collection method they choose against you. If you are suffering from excessive consumer debt, verifying your debt is only a short term solution; it may be in your best interest to consult with an experienced debt defense attorney to help you understand how you may be able to reduce, renegotiate, or erase your outstanding debts.