How to Make a Debt Validation Letter - The Ultimate Guide (2022)

George Simons

May 09, 2022

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 to formally request that the collector validates the 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 of initial contact.

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 you dispute any aspect of the debt. 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.

Example: Diana receives a letter from a debt collection agency claiming she owes more than $5,000 in old credit card debt. She doesn't remember owing any money on a card, so she decides to send a Debt Validation Letter to the collectors. The collection agency purchased the debt from the original creditor, US Bank. Forturnately for Diana, the collectors cannot find the documentation that proves Diana owed the debt to the original creditor before they purchased it. Because of this, the debt collection agency must cease collection efforts, and Diana is off the hook.

How to Send a Debt Validation Letter

Sending a Debt Validation Letter can be a simple and straightforward process. We've broken it down into two steps for you:

  1. Write the Letter
  2. Send the Letter

Let's take a minute to explain each step in more detail.

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.

Fight Back with SoloSuit

"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


Start My Debt Validation Letter

>>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

Use this Debt Validation Letter template

You can purchase a Debt Validation Letter with SoloSuit that will be customized to your case and circumstances. If you are on a tight budget, you can use this free template, courtesy of SoloSuit:

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.

Use a Debt Validation Letter to respond to medical bills

It's not uncommon to receive a medical bill for a balance that you already paid off or for a debt that is so old, you don't even recognize it. Medical institutions are required by law to prove the debt is valid in order to report it to the credit bureaus or take you to court over it.

Additionally, scammers frequently send out mass notifications claiming all the recipients owe money for medical services. Sending a Debt Validation Letter will stop these fraudsters in their tracks.

Debt Validation Letter vs. debt verification letter vs. debt dispute letter

Basically, these three letters are really the same thing. Sometimes a Debt Validation Letter is called a debt verification letter or a debt dispute 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.

Technically speaking, the debt verification letter (also known as the debt dispute letter) is the document sent by the consumer to the debt collector. And the letter sent by the debt collector to consumer to show proof of the debt is the Debt Validation Letter. But like we said, these terms are use interchangeably.

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

Example: Jeremy gets a phone call from a debt collection agency about an old credit card debt with American Express. He's skeptical about the amount they claim he owes. Jeremy sends a Debt Validation Letter (also known as a debt verification letter or debt dispute letter) to the collection agency within 30 days of their first phone call. The collection agency must respond with a Debt Validation Letter that outlines details of the debt or cease collection efforst with Jeremy.

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

Yes, let's consider an example.

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.

SoloSuit can help you make a Debt Validation Letter in just 3 minutes.

What is SoloSuit?

SoloSuit makes it easy to respond to a debt collection lawsuit.

How it works: SoloSuit is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your answer. Upon completion, you can either print the completed forms and mail in the hard copies to the courts or you can pay SoloSuit to file it for you and to have an attorney review the document.

Respond with SoloSuit

"First time getting sued by a debt collector and I was searching all over YouTube and ran across SoloSuit, so I decided to buy their services with their attorney reviewed documentation which cost extra but it was well worth it! SoloSuit sent the documentation to the parties and to the court which saved me time from having to go to court and in a few weeks the case got dismissed!" – James


Get Started


We have answers.
Join our community of over 40,000 people.

You can ask your questions on the SoloSuit forum and the community will help you out. Whether you need help now or are just looking for support, we're here for you.


Ask a Question


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

How to answer a summons for debt collection in your state

Here's a list of guides for other states.

All 50 states.

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah; File a Motion to Satisfy Judgment
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

    Guides on how to beat every debt collector

    Being sued by a different debt collector? Were making guides on how to beat each one.

    Win against credit card companies

    Is your credit card company suing you? Learn how you can beat each one.

    Going to Court for Credit Card Debt — Key Tips

    How to Negotiate Credit Card Debts

    How to Settle a Credit Card Debt Lawsuit — Ultimate Guide

    Get answers to these FAQs

    Need more info on statutes of limitations? Read our 50-state guide.

    Why do debt collectors block their phone numbers?

    How long do debt collectors take to respond to Debt Validation Letters?

    What are the biggest debt collector companies in the US?

    Is Zombie Debt Still a Problem in 2019?

    SoloSuit FAQ

    If a car is repossessed, do I still owe the debt?

    Is Portfolio Recovery Associates Legit?

    Is There a Judgment Against Me Without my Knowledge?

    Should I File Bankruptcy Before or After a Judgment?

    What is a default judgment?— What do I do?

    Summoned to Court for Medical Bills — What Do I Do?

    What Happens If Someone Sues You and You Have No Money?

    What Happens If You Never Answer Debt Collectors?

    What Happens When a Debt Is Sold to a Collection Agency

    What is a Stipulated Judgment?

    What is the Deadline for a Defendants Answer to Avoid a Default Judgment?

    Can a Judgement Creditor Take my Car?

    Can I Settle a Debt After Being Served?

    Can I Stop Wage Garnishment?

    Can You Appeal a Default Judgement?

    Do I Need a Debt Collection Defense Attorney?

    Do I Need a Payday Loans Lawyer?

    Do student loans go away after 7 years? — Student Loan Debt Guide

    Am I Responsible for My Spouses Medical Debt?

    Should I Marry Someone With Debt?

    Can a Debt Collector Leave a Voicemail?

    How Does Debt Assignment Work?

    What Happens If a Defendant Does Not Pay a Judgment?

    How Does Debt Assignment Work?

    Can You Serve Someone with a Collections Lawsuit at Their Work?

    What Is a Warrant in Debt?

    How Many Times Can a Judgment be Renewed in Oklahoma?

    Can an Eviction Be Reversed?

    Does Debt Consolidation Have Risks?

    What Happens If You Avoid Getting Served Court Papers?

    Does Student Debt Die With You?

    Can Debt Collectors Call You at Work in Texas?

    How Much Do You Have to Be in Debt to File for Chapter 7?

    What Is the Statute of Limitations on Debt in Washington?

    How Long Does a Judgment Last?

    Can Private Disability Payments Be Garnished?

    Can Debt Collectors Call From Local Numbers?

    Does the Fair Credit Reporting Act Work in Florida?

    The Truth: Should You Never Pay a Debt Collection Agency?

    Should You Communicate with a Debt Collector in Writing or by Telephone?

    Do I Need a Debt Negotiator?

    What Happens After a Motion for Default Is Filed?

    Can a Process Server Leave a Summons Taped to My Door?

    Learn More With These Additional Resources:

    Need help managing your finances? Check out these resources.

    How to Make a Debt Validation Letter - The Ultimate Guide

    How to Make a Motion to Compel Arbitration Without an Attorney

    How to Stop Wage Garnishment — Everything You Need to Know

    How to File an FDCPA Complaint Against Your Debt Collector (Ultimate Guide)

    Defending Yourself in Court Against a Debt Collector

    Tips on you can to file an FDCPA lawsuit against a debt collection agency

    Advice on how to answer a summons for debt collection.

    Effective strategies for how to get back on track after a debt lawsuit

    New Hampshire Statute of Limitations on Debt

    Sample Cease and Desist Letter Against Debt Collectors

    The Ultimate Guide to Responding to a Debt Collection Lawsuit in Utah

    West Virginia Statute of Limitations on Debt

    What debt collectors cannot do — FDCPA explained

    Defending Yourself in Court Against Debt Collector

    How to Liquidate Debt

    Arkansas Statute of Limitations on Debt

    Youre Drowning in Debt — Heres How to Swim

    Help! Im Being Sued by My Debt Collector

    How to Make a Motion to Vacate Judgment

    How to Answer Summons for Debt Collection in Vermont

    North Dakota Statute of Limitations on Debt

    ClearPoint Debt Management Review

    Indiana Statute of Limitations on Debt

    Oregon Eviction Laws - What They Say

    CuraDebt Debt Settlement Review

    How to Write a Re-Aging Debt Letter

    How to Appear in Court by Phone

    How to Use the Doctrine of Unclean Hands

    Debt Consolidation in Eugene, Oregon

    Summoned to Court for Medical Bills? What to Do Next

    How to Make a Debt Settlement Agreement

    Received a 3-Day Eviction Notice? Heres What to Do

    How to Answer a Lawsuit for Debt Collection

    Tips for Leaving the Country With Unpaid Credit Card Debt

    Kansas Statute of Limitations on Debt Collection

    How to File in Small Claims Court in Iowa

    How to File a Civil Answer in Kings County Supreme Court

    Roseland Associates Debt Consolidation Review

    How to Stop a Garnishment

    Debt Eraser Review

    Do Debt Collectors Ever Give Up?

    Can They Garnish Your Wages for Credit Card Debt?

    How Often Do Credit Card Companies Sue for Non-Payment?

    How Long Does a Judgement Last?

    ​​How Long Before a Creditor Can Garnish Wages?

    How to Beat a Bill Collector in Court