There are few things more annoying than constant pestering phone calls from debt collection agencies. Some of these collectors might be willing to go to great lengths to get you to pay a debt. They may resort to harassment in order to get you to just give up and pay the amount over the phone. Before you do pay a collections agency, you need to be sure that this is a legitimate debt.
Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, debt collectors are required to provide proof of the debt they are claiming against you. This is called debt validation. If you unsure that you actually owe a debt you are being called about, ask the collector to send a letter. This letter should be received within five days of first communication. Along with providing proof of the debt, it should inform you that you have thirty days to dispute the debt. If you don’t dispute it within thirty days, it will be assumed that you accept the debt as your own.
In order to request debt validation, you must send a written certified letter to the collections agency. Within this letter, you may dispute the debt or request more information about the debt or creditor.
It is the responsibility of the collections agency to send proof that the creditor has assigned them to collect the debt from you. They should send information from the creditor about what the debt is and how much you owe. If you do not receive validation within thirty days, the collection agency cannot continue to contact you, and they are not allowed to place the debt on your credit report.
If they do find this debt listed on a future copy of your credit report, you can send a dispute letter to the credit bureau. This is where sending your validation requests by certified mail will really come in handy. Sending the debt validation letter with the receipts of your certified mail will be a big help in getting the credit bureau to remove the debt from your report.
If you feel that any of your rights to debt validation under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act have been violated, you may be entitled to reparations by suing the collections agency in federal or state court.