How to Make a Debt Validation Letter - The Ultimate Guide (2021)

George Simons

September 08, 2021

Don't let debt collectors come at you without proof!

Summary: Make debt collectors back down with a Debt Validation Letter. Go here to make your own Debt Validation Letter in just 3 minutes with SoloSuit.

About 70 million Americans have debt in collections each year. And many of them are realizing they can take action against their debt collectors — they can fight back and win!

As consumers fight back against debt collectors, oftentimes they find they don’t even owe the debts they’re being hounded for.

The savviest consumers, fight back by sending debt collectors a Debt Validation Letter. This article will show you how to make a Debt Validation Letter and send it to your collector.

(Don't like reading? Watch this video instead.)



What is a Debt Validation Letter?

A debt validation letter is a letter a consumer sends to a debt collector requesting the debt collector validate a debt they are trying to collect. It is your first chance to assert your rights before debt collectors. If a debt collector has contacted you about a debt, you should respond with a Debt Validation Letter within 30 days.

A Debt Validation Letter is a type of legal demand letter that asserts your rights in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The FDCPA says

If the consumer notifies the debt collector in writing within the thirty-day period . . . that the debt, or any portion thereof, is disputed . . . the debt collector shall cease collection of the debt . . . until the debt collector obtains verification of the debt . . . and a copy of such verification . . . is mailed to the consumer by the debt collector.

Within five days of attempting to collect on a debt, the FDCPA requires a collector to provide validation of that debt. It requires the collector to include five points in its communication with you.

  1. The amount of the debt.
  2. The name of the creditor.
  3. The collector will assume the debt is valid unless the consumer sends them a Debt Validation Letter within 30 days.
  4. If you send the collector a Debt Validation Letter they will need to mail you validation of the debt.
  5. If you send them a Debt Validation Letter they will need to mail you the name and address of the original creditor.

So, the debt collector must provide these five points within five days of contacting you about the debt. Then, you have 30 days to send them a debt validation letter. If the collector doesn’t provide these five points within five days, then they’ve violated the FDCPA and you can sue them for $1,000 or more. If you don’t send the letter within 30 days, you can still send it — but it may not be as powerful.

Debt Validation Letter Timeline


SoloSuit's Debt Validation Letter makes it easy to respond to collectors.

Sometimes a Debt Validation Letter is called a debt verification letter or a debt dispute letter. And the letter sent by the debt collector to the consumer to show proof of the debt can be called a debt validation letter. The FDCPA doesn’t specify these names, and it uses the words “validate” and “verify” interchangeably. At SoloSuit, we call the letter sent by the consumer to the debt collector the Debt Validation Letter because that’s what most regular people call it.

Should I use a Debt Validation Letter?

Nearly every time someone is contacted by a debt collector about a debt, they should send the collector a Debt Validation Letter. The letter forces the collector to treat you with respect and to get serious about the matter.

49 percent of all complaints filed with the FTC about debt collectors state the debt collector attempted to collect a debt that wasn’t owed. And 53 percent of people who are contacted by a debt collector say they’re being contacted about a debt they don’t owe or a debt of the wrong amount.

So, lots of people are being hounded by debt collectors for money they don’t owe. The Debt Validation Letter is your guardian.

If you don’t dispute the debt then “the debt will be assumed valid by the debt collector,” according to the FDCPA. That’s not good. By not filing a Debt Validation Letter, you are sacrificing your rights.

A Debt Validation Letter is beneficial in nearly all encounters with a collector.

  • If you don’t owe the debt, then the collector is likely to fold because they can’t provide validation of the debt.
  • If you only owe some of the debt, then the collector will be forced to prove the amount you actually owe. This can remove thousands of fraudulent dollars added on top of the actual debt.
  • If you owe the full debt, then the collector still may not be able to show proper documentation that you owe it, or they might not be able to show documentation that they own the debt and have the right to collect on it.
  • If the debt collector is able to validate the debt, then you will still benefit by having additional information about the debt. The letter will put you in a better place to negotiate a settlement. And you can request the collector cease contacting you.

SoloSuit's Debt Validation Letter helps you take advantage of your situation.

To understand why a Debt Validation Letter is so important, it’s helpful to understand how the debt collection process works. Banks and lenders sell unpaid debts to debt collectors for 1%–10% of the value of the debt. Debt collectors then attempt to collect the debts from consumers. If they are unsuccessful, they may file a lawsuit to collect the debt. Frequently, the sale from the bank to the debt collector is poorly documented. So, the debt collector may be unable to verify they own the debt and unable to verify who owes the debt. If you send them a Debt Validation Letter, it makes it more difficult and more expensive for them to collect the debt. They need to keep their costs low to be profitable. This letter raises their costs, making it more likely they will fold.

In some few cases, it may be a good strategic move to lie low and not send a Debt Validation Letter. This may be a good option if the statute of limitations is nearing expiration. That said, we generally believe this strategy is dubious.

Another benefit of the Debt Validation Letter is that it can make the calls stop. It can do this in two ways. Under FDCPA §809(b), if the letter disputes the debt, “collection activities and communications” must cease. Under FDCPA §805(c), the consumer can request the collector “cease further communication.” In this case, the collector can only contact you to tell you they’re going to sue you. In this way, you can use the Debt Validation Letter to raise the stakes, forcing the collector to sue you or get lost. If they sue you, you can use SoloSuit's lawsuit response document to win your case.

Step 1: Write the Letter

Writing a Debt Validation Letter is simple, but complicated. A Debt Validation Letter is a type of legal demand letter. A legal demand letter is a letter that demands the recipient take or stop a certain action; it usually cites some law to make it sound more legit.

In this case, a Debt Validation Letter is requesting the debt collector to either stop collecting the debt or to take the action of validating the debt. Keep that in mind while drafting the letter.

Begin writing the letter by adding the contact information for you and for the debt collector. After that, you can start the letter however you want; you can even start with “Whazzup!!!”



Next, lay out the basics.

  • Specify how you were contacted.
  • Provide info to help the collector identify the debt.

The bulk of the letter will be your requests. And there can be a lot of them — SoloSuit’s Debt Validation Letter is three pages long.

Here are some requests you can make of the collector.

  • Don’t contact me except to validate the debt.
  • Report to the credit bureaus that the debt is disputed.
  • Provide all of this information
    • Proof I owe the debt
    • The amount of the debt
    • The age of the debt
    • Your ownership of the debt
    • Your debt collector license, or right to collect on the debt in my state
    • A calculation of whether the statute of limitations has expired for collecting the debt.
    • The last action taken on the account
  • If you validate the debt, cease contacting me for any reason other than to tell me you’re suing me.

It's easy to make these points with SoloSuit's Debt Validation Letter.

You can close by threatening legal action — legal action for the debt collector violating the FDCPA or for harassing you. Threatening legal action is nearly always a good move.

Step 2: Mail the Letter

Like writing the letter, mailing it is simple, but complicated. Mailing a letter is simple. But the devil is in the details. To mail the letter, you need to print the letter and send it in the mail via a trackable method. This means you need to have access to a functional printer, and you need to know how to use the post office.

We’ve found mailing via USPS Priority Mail is usually the best option. It provides a tracking number, arrives quickly, and costs a predictable $7.50. Many people online recommend using USPS Certified Mail with a return receipt. Certified Mail is a huge hassle. It takes forever to prepare, and it takes forever to arrive. Return receipts seem only like a good way for USPS to make a few extra dollars. There is no evidence they are any more valid in court than a tracking number showing the document has been delivered. Signature requests provide a way for a recipient to impede delivery. We just stick with Priority mail.

Generally, the letter should be mailed to the person most immediately attempting to collect the debt. This may be an attorney or collections firm working for the creditor or bank.

Use SoloSuit to make your Debt Validation Letter

SoloSuit can take care of all of this for you. Our Debt Validation Letter is the best way to respond to a collection letter. Many debt collectors will simply give up after receiving it. Just answer a few questions online, and we’ll create your letter for you.

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"You'd be silly not to drop a few bucks and possibly save yourself thousands in the process. I can't thank you all enough for making an overwhelming situation something handleable." – Daniel


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Or try our free template here.


>>Read the FastCompany article: Debt Lawsuits Are Complicated: This Website Makes Them Simpler To Navigate

>>Read the NPR story on SoloSuit: A Student Solution To Give Utah Debtors A Fighting Chance

What if the debt collector doesn’t validate the debt?

If a debt collector doesn’t validate the debt after receiving your Debt Validaiton Letter, then they have violated the FDCPA. If the debt collector didn’t include those five points, mentioned above, in a correspondence within five days of first contacting you, then they violated the FDCPA. You can sue them for $1,000 for each violation. You can also report them to your state’s attorney general, the FTC, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

What if the debt collector validates the debt?

Sometimes a debt collector will successfully validate the debt. Even if they do this, you don’t have to pay off the debt entirely. You have a few options.

  • Send a cease and desist letter, requesting they stop contacting you except for by lawsuit.
  • Make a settlement offer to satisfy the debt by paying only a percentage of it.
  • Do nothing. Wait for the statute of limitations to expire.
  • Pay the full amount of the debt.

Generally, the first two options are best.

Debt Validation Letter vs. Debt Verification Letter

These letters don’t have official names. Sometimes a Debt Validation Letter is called a debt verification letter or a debt dispute letter. And the letter sent by the debt collector to consumer to show proof of the debt can be called a debt validation letter. The FDCPA doesn’t specify these names and it uses the words “validate” and “verify” interchangeably. At SoloSuit, we call the letter sent by the consumer to the debt collector the Debt Validation Letter because that’s what most regular people call it.

In reality, the correspondence between a debt collector and a consumer is messy. There may be multiple letters, interspersed with phone calls and emails.

Can you give me an example of how a Debt Validation Letter works?

Yes, let’s consider an example.

Ariana received a phone call from Eilish Collections, LLC. Her iPhone identified the number as “Scam Likely” but she answered anyway. Eilish tells Ariana, that she owes Eilish $3,000 for a credit card debt with American Express. Ariana hangs up. 7 days later, Ariana receives a letter documenting the amount and the creditor of the debt; it notifies Ariana of her rights under the FDCPA. Ariana doesn’t want to pay the debt, so three days later, she mails Eilish a Debt Validation Letter from SoloSuit. Eilish sends a letter stating they made a mistake and are unable to validate the debt.

In this example, Eilish violated the FDCPA by not providing information about the debt within five days. Ariana did the right thing by responding with the Debt Validation Letter. And in the end, Ariana got off the hook.

What should I do after mailing the Debt Validation Letter?

Here are two important tips to do after.

  • Check your credit report with the credit bureaus to make sure the debt collector reported the debt as disputed.
  • Keep good records of your correspondence with the collector. If it’s not documented, it didn’t happen. Taking pictures with your phone of any correspondence is a good place to start.

What if I missed the deadline?

If you don’t dispute the debt then “the debt will be assumed valid by the debt collector,” according to the FDCPA. That’s not good. By not filing a Debt Validation Letter, you are sacrificing your rights.

It’s like a pesky ex-boyfriend who thinks if he texts you “I love you” and you don’t respond, that means you love him to. And then he keeps texting you. Forever.

The FDCPA states the consumer must notify the collector “within thirty days.” It doesn’t say what happens if the letter is sent after the 30 days. As far as we know, the letter can still have some sway, but it won’t be as powerful.

The FDCPA also states “the failure of a consumer to dispute the validity of a debt” doesn’t constitute “an admission of liability” for any future lawsuits. So, if you don’t send a Debt Validation Letter, you can still win a later lawsuit, and in that lawsuit, it is still up to the collector to prove you owe the debt.

What does the FDCPA say about debt validation letters?

Here are the sections of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act that cover debt validation letters.

Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, 15 USC 1692g §809.

(a) Notice of debt; contents

Within five days after the initial communication with a consumer in connection with the collection of any debt, a debt collector shall, unless the following information is contained in the initial communication or the consumer has paid the debt, send the consumer a written notice containing --

(1) the amount of the debt;

(2) the name of the creditor to whom the debt is owed;

(3) a statement that unless the consumer, within thirty days after receipt of the notice, disputes the validity of the debt, or any portion thereof, the debt will be assumed to be valid by the debt collector;

(4) a statement that if the consumer notifies the debt collector in writing within the thirty-day period that the debt, or any portion thereof, is disputed, the debt collector will obtain verification of the debt or a copy of a judgment against the consumer and a copy of such verification or judgment will be mailed to the consumer by the debt collector; and

(5) a statement that, upon the consumer's written request within the thirty-day period, the debt collector will provide the consumer with the name and address of the original creditor, if different from the current creditor.

(b) Disputed debts

If the consumer notifies the debt collector in writing within the thirty-day period described in subsection (a) of this section that the debt, or any portion thereof, is disputed, or that the consumer requests the name and address of the original creditor, the debt collector shall cease collection of the debt, or any disputed portion thereof, until the debt collector obtains verification of the debt or a copy of a judgment, or the name and address of the original creditor, and a copy of such verification or judgment, or name and address of the original creditor, is mailed to the consumer by the debt collector. Collection activities and communications that do not otherwise violate this subchapter may continue during the 30-day period referred to in subsection (a) unless the consumer has notified the debt collector in writing that the debt, or any portion of the debt, is disputed or that the consumer requests the name and address of the original creditor. Any collection activities and communication during the 30-day period may not overshadow or be inconsistent with the disclosure of the consumer’s right to dispute the debt or request the name and address of the original creditor.

(c) Admission of liability

The failure of a consumer to dispute the validity of a debt under this section may not be construed by any court as an admission of liability by the consumer.

(d) Legal pleadings

A communication in the form of a formal pleading in a civil action shall not be treated as an initial communication for purposes of subsection (a).

(e) Notice provisions

The sending or delivery of any form or notice which does not relate to the collection of a debt and is expressly required by title 26, title V of Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act [15 U.S.C. 6801 et seq.], or any provision of Federal or State law relating to notice of data security breach or privacy, or any regulation prescribed under any such provision of law, shall not be treated as an initial communication in connection with debt collection for purposes of this section.

Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, 15 USC 1692g §805

(c) Ceasing communication

If a consumer notifies a debt collector in writing that the consumer refuses to pay a debt or that the consumer wishes the debt collector to cease further communication with the consumer, the debt collector shall not communicate further with the consumer with respect to such debt, except --

(1) to advise the consumer that the debt collector's further efforts are being terminated;

(2) to notify the consumer that the debt collector or creditor may invoke specified remedies which are ordinarily invoked by such debt collector or creditor; or

(3) where applicable, to notify the consumer that the debt collector or creditor intends to invoke a specified remedy.

If such notice from the consumer is made by mail, notification shall be complete upon receipt.

SoloSuit asserts the right sections of the FDCPA for you.

Do Debt Validation Letters really work?

Yes, they do. When a debt collector receives a Debt Validation Letter, they are legally required to provide validation of the debt. Debt Validation Letter’s work best when they include a cease and desist clause that forces a lawsuit. This increases the cost of collection and makes it more likely the collector will drop the case.

What if a collection agency never contacted me?

Even if a collection agency never contacted you, a debt can still end up on your credit report or you still might be sued for the debt. Sometimes people don’t hear about the debt until they are sued for it. If you’re sued for a debt, you can use SoloSuit to respond to the lawsuit. If you have a debt on your credit report, you can dispute it with the credit bureaus.

This flowchart shows the process debt collection documents can take.

How to win a debt collection lawsuit flowchart. Litigation Flowchart.

What if you receive a letter from a collection agency?

If you receive a letter from a collection agency, you should respond with a Debt Validaiton Letter, requesting they show proof the debt is valid. You need to do this within 30 days.

Go here to make your letter in just 3 minutes.

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