Many people find themselves in debt at some point in their lives. When someone attempts to collect a debt from you, you may against a wall. However, the fact is, debtors have rights too. Debtors have the right to ask for proof that a debt is actually owed.
If you are being asked to pay the money you don’t owe or more than you owe, and you feel like your rights are being compromised, a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) lawyer can give you the legal protection you need. Read on to find out more about your rights when you are being asked to pay on a debt.
Why You Should Ask for Validation of a Debt
If you are being asked to pay a debt, the first thing that you might think about is how you are going to pay it off. However, before you start writing a check, consider asking for validation of the debt.
Asking for validation will help to clear up the following issues:
- Bogus Debts: Many people try to cheat others out of money by creating a fake debt collection notice. Even if a debt collection notice looks legitimate, don’t assume it is. Be sure to ask for validation before making a payment.
- Repeat Payments: In some cases, you may be asked to pay a debt that you already paid off or partially paid. This may be because organizations do not have their records correct or there may be foul play involved. Either way, asking for validation will help clear up this matter.
Timelines Regarding Debt Collection
A debt collector is required to send a debt validation letter to you within five days of requesting the amount owed. From there, you will have 30 days to dispute the debt. If you don’t dispute the debt, the collector can assume the debt is valid and go about attempting to collect the money owed.
Submitting a Validation Request
If you are being asked to pay a debt, and you would like to request debt validation, your request must be made in writing. A phone call will not be enough to protect your rights under the FDCPA. In your letter, you can also dispute the debt or a portion of the debt. From there, the debt collector will be unable to try to contact you in any way until they’ve provided validation.
It is best to send your letter via certified mail. That way you will have the documentation you need to prove the letter has been sent.
The Collector’s Response
A collector’s response to your validation request must include the amount owed and documentation from the creditor. It can also include the name and address of the creditor if you request it.
Once you have determined that the collector is unable to validate the debt, contact a consumer attorney about protecting your rights and credit report.
Of course, it’s also possible that the collector can validate the debt. If this is the case, there are still ways to dispute the debt including the following:
Make Sure It’s Within the Statute of Limitations: There is a statue of limitations that applies to the collection of a debt. If the collector is asking for payment after the statute of limitations has passed, they will be unable to collect the debt through legal action.
Make Sure It’s Within the Credit Reporting Limit: defaulted accounts can only be listed on your credit report for seven years from the date of default. If it is more than seven years from that date, the debt should not affect your credit.
Settling the Debt
If you’re dealing with a valid debt, you may be able to settle with the collector to pay a percentage of the amount you owed.
If you are looking for an FDCPA lawyer in Louisiana, Samuel Ford of Alexander Shunnarah Personal Injury Attorneys can help. With years of experience in the industry, he knows all the ambiguities and will do all he can to get you in the best possible situation. Don’t let debtors take advantage of you. Call SVHC today.
Samuel Ford of SVHC offers free consultations and, if you have a claim, you may be able to recover all associated costs and attorney’s fees, meaning SVHC may be able to represent you at no cost to you! Contact Samuel Ford today!