When debt comes into the picture, consumers are often put in a difficult position. And once a debt collector gets involved, things get even more complicated. A source of relief for many has been the usefulness of a debt validation letter. It’s not a guaranteed fix, but serves as a way to set things right before they get out of hand.
Where Did the Debt Come From?
Many households throw out more mail than they actually keep. Many important letters are thrown away in the process, and some are never opened. In the unlikely event you threw away a letter that was pre-collections, there is still a chance to reverse the process.
Sometimes the original creditor will let you pay off the debt and avoid the collection agency altogether. It never hurts to ask, and the benefit may be a reduced payout than the original asking price. You should always be aware of where the debt came from before attempting to contact a debt collection company. The first call will always go to the original creditor if you’re serious about repayment.
Things to Avoid
Don’t jump to conclusions before doing research. Scams are common, and they work off of emotions. Double check the debt information by requesting a debt validation letter. You can cross reference this mailed information with the free access to your credit report. The name of the collection agency should show up on your credit report along with their contact information. Pay close attention to the dates to prevent the revival of an old debt that is on its way out.
If any of the information in the letter you receive is incorrect, then default to using the updated information on your credit report.
Try to keep your contact with the collectors on one type of media rather than several. Some of the most common debt scams arrive through email, so check the authenticity of the information. By the time you get to the payment part of the debt, you’ll have an easy-to-follow trail.
Things You Need
A debt validation letter is a document that contains your current outstanding balance to the company. It’s your legal right to have this letter, and a real debt collector will never refuse the request. The letter will also include the original creditor, personal information and possible alternative payment options.
Data errors happen all the time, and that is why a debt verification letter should be the follow-up to a debt validation document. This is a formal request for more information, and a great way to compare the information already on file. Use this method when the data through mail and the data online don’t match up.
The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act is meant to protect both parties during the collection process. As an individual, it’s your personal finances on the line. Take your time before paying to answer all questions about the collections process.
The elements of debt are complicated, but a debt validation letter is easy. Know your rights and demand proof when necessary. Every step you make counts, and time will always be on your side.