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Debt Validation

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If an agency is reaching out in order to collect debt, you can request that the collection agency to verify the amount and validity of a debt. In order to do this, you must act quickly. This must be done within the first 30 days of getting the notice.
This is known as debt verification and debt validation.
When a collector first makes contact with you, the collection agency's letter gives you information about the amount of debt you have, the name of the creditor to whom the debt is currently owed, information stating you have 30 days to dispute the validity of the debt, if you do not dispute the debt's validity within the 30 days, the collector will assume it is valid, if you do dispute the validity, the agency will send you verification of it, and if you send a written request within that 30 days for the name and address of the original creditor, the agency will provide it.
If you request verification, then the collection must stop. The collection efforts cannot be resumed until the agency double-checks the debt information with the original creditor. They then must mail you verification which includes the original creditor's name and address. If the debt collector is an attorney, then this individual must stop all collection efforts. They can take legal action such as filing a lawsuit if they choose. If you receive notice of this lawsuit, then you must make sure you respond in a timely manner. This deadline may be different than the 30-day deadline.
Checking into who the original creditor is may be helpful for you. It can help you decide whether you have grounds to dispute the debt. Verification can potentially take several weeks or longer. It may seem like a simple task, but creditors are very busy.
Asking for verification is helpful if the debt has been sold. Debt buyers usually have very little information about the debts they own. They may try to collect the wrong amount from people. Or they might try to collect it from people who have similar names but don't actually owe the debt. If the debt collector cannot verify the debt, you may be able to reduce or eliminate the debt.
If you do not dispute the validity of the debt, the agency can assume the debt is valid. They will then continue their collection efforts during those 30 days and after.
You can request debt verification sending a letter to the collection agency.

Source: NOLO

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