What is debt validation?
Debt validation is more of a ‘how’ than a ‘what’. Well, that certainly makes things confusing; allow me to explain. According to Debt Reset US, debt validation is a specific method employed in removing debt. However, it is not a true program as such. I say this because it really developed out of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, also known as FDCPA. The FDCA provides individuals from unfair collection practices when it comes to personal debt. One of these protections deals with if said debt is legitimate and valid. This is also why debt validation is known as debt verification; however, they are not the same thing, technically. It puts the onus on the person(s) or company that is attempting to collect the debt, to verify that the debt is, in fact, legitimate. This solitary step is what makes debt validation such a powerful tool in removing debt and protecting the individual or consumer. This is all well and good, but how does this process work? I’m glad you asked; keep reading.
How does debt validation work?
In a nutshell this is how debt validation works; basically you start by sending a letter to your creditor(s) asking them to verify and validate that the debt they are attempting to collect from you is valid. And by valid, I mean that the debt belongs to you, that it is actually yours. Well, let me take a step back. The process actually begins when your debt is sold by the original creditor to a third-party collection company.
The next step is you, the debtor, are then contacted by that third-party collection company requesting that you pay to settle that debt. At this point, you draft a letter outlining your request of proving the validity of the debt and mail it to the collecting agent or agency. By the way, using certified / receipt requested mail for this is best. It will take roughly thirty days, or at least the company has that long to respond, to see if they can validate the debt or must forgive (eliminate) it. Keep in mind that if part or all the debt is discharged, that amount may be considered income and may have tax ramifications for you. At that point, it is best to consult with your tax professional.
What does it mean to validate a debt?
Simply put, to validate a debt means that the owner of that debt, in this case the third-party collection company, must prove that the debt in question does belong to you. Again, if that collection company cannot satisfactorily prove that the debt belongs to you, then, according to the law, that debt must be forgiven or discharged. According to the website, The Balance, it is critically important that you make the third-party collection company validate, or prove, that the alleged debt is not only yours but that it really exists.
So how does a third-party collection company prove a debt belongs to you?
Proving a debt exists and is legally attached to you all comes down to documentation. So, in the letter that you sent, via certified / receipt requested mail, you ask the third-party collection company to provide all the specific and pertinent documents related to the alleged debt. What to ask for in the way of documentation can be a bit daunting, which is why if you decide to go this route, it might be wise to seek the help of a reputable debt relief company. There are important and specific questions you need to have in the letter and working with a debt relief company that has years of experience and a proprietary method in this area may be a wise decision.
How long does the debt validation process last?
The duration of the debt validation process can vary; however, most times it can take up to 36 months depending on the number of delinquent accounts needed to be worked on.
What types of debt qualify for debt validation?
The types of debts that may qualify for the debt validation process are quite simply any debt that has been sold by a creditor to a third-party collection company. Typical debts that are sold are credit card debt, store credit card debt, medical bills, student loans, outstanding rent, and small business invoices that would have gone to small claims court just to name a few.
How will debt validation impact my credit score?
On the plus side, the actual debt validation process does not hurt your credit. What has a negative impact on your credit are the already delinquent accounts that you are putting through the debt validation process. And delinquent accounts are already impacting your credit score negatively. That being said, if you decide to work with a debt relief company, that you check with them to see if they offer any type of credit restoration program in conjunction with their debt validation program.
Debt validation is a process of getting a third-party collection agency prove that the debt they are alleging you owe truly exists. This process is afforded to people via provisions in the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA). Once a third-party collection agency contacts you about paying an alleged debt, that is the time to send them a debt validation or debt verification letter. This letter puts the onus on the collection company to prove that not only does the debt exist but that you are the one responsible for paying it as well.
Knowing what exactly goes into a debt validation or debt verification letter can be a little overwhelming. Asking the right questions and for the proper documentation can be above the pay grade of most of us. That is why, if you are considering using this route to relieve your debt, you might want to seriously consider working with a reputable, legitimate debt relief company. They would have the knowledge, experience, and frankly the leverage to follow through completely with making the collection company comply to the letter of the law.