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Fair Debt Collection Practices Act - FDCPA - Debt Validation Letter

Now that your Title Encumbrance Report & Analysis (TERA) is complete, the next action you should take is to send a Debt Validation letter to the purported debt collector.  A Generic DVL Letter can be purchased by clicking on the link, or if you prefer, a Lending Lies paralegal can help customize a targeted letter for mailing.  Instead of a general Debt Validation Letter, the Lending Lies team will request specific information that the debt collector can't likely provide. The benefit of this service is having Neil Garfield and his paralegal tailor the letters specifically to the findings in your TERA so the debt collector is is accountable to answer case specific debt validation requests.  

A Debt Validation Letter is a quick and legally recognized way to establish legitimacy before you proceed to negotiate with a debt collector.  When a debt collector (not the original creditor) contacts you about an unpaid debt, we always recommend starting with a debt validation letter. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), that means you send a formal letter requesting that the collector provide proof that the debt is legitimate, that you are the person who legally owes the debt and that the collector has the right to collect the debt.  If a debt is fully legitimate, then the collector should have no trouble complying with the validation letter. It makes perfect sense for borrowers to protect themselves legally by asking that debt collectors prove they are legitimate before any money changes hands.

A Debt Validation Letter doesn’t just establish whether you owe the debt, but to whom you owe it and how much. Many debt collection law firms will add fees and interest to the debts they collect, and send letters with unfamiliar amounts. Your validation letter will force them to account for all the money they are demanding and show how they arrived at the new figure. Law firms may try not to include these calculations because they don’t want you to see how much they are adding to the debt in legal fees.


The problem in all of this for debt collectors is that they often don’t have the original contracts and paperwork they need to validate a debt. If the debt has changed hands many times, it’s especially unlikely they will be able to comply with a validation letter. They must respond to the validation letter before they can obtain a legal judgment; using the court discovery process to get the documentation they need to validate a debt will not satisfy the legal requirements of the FDCPA.

The more information you can receive about your account, the more apt they are to make errors and provide conflicting information that can help you demonstrate the foreclosing party's lack of standing.  Many homeowners who send a Debt Validation Letter will often not receive the information requested but on occasion receive information that raises further issues.  


Armed with a Title Encumbrance Report & Analysis, and the Qualified Written Request and Debt Validation responses, a homeowner facing foreclosure will have a better understanding of what occurred over the course of their loan.  Armed with this information, it is much easier to get an attorney interested opposed to calling an attorney and stating, “my servicer is foreclosing on me illegally” without any evidence to support your claims.

What is the 'Fair Debt Collection Practices Act - FDCPA'?

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a federal law that limits the behavior and actions of third-party debt collectors who are attempting to collect debts on behalf of another person or entity. The law restricts the means and methods by which collectors can contact debtors as well as the time of day and number of times contact can be made. If the FDCPA is violated, a suit may be brought against the debt collection company and the individual debt collector within one year, to collect damages and attorney fees.

According to The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), a debt collector must send you written validation of debt within five days of contacting you. If they don't, you can send them a letter to request a validation of debt. 


The FTC outlines the contents of the letter that you should receive:


  1. How much you owe
  2. Who you owe
  3. Statement giving you 30 days to dispute the debt
  4. Statement that, if you dispute the debt in the given 30 day time frame, the collector will mail you the verification of the debt or a copy of the judgement against you
  5. Statement that the collector will provide the name and address of the original creditor (if different from the current creditor) if you write a request for that within 30 days


Note: If you dispute the debt within 30 days, the debt collector must cease attempts to collect until they've mailed you verification of the debt or a copy of the judgement to you. If you don't dispute the debt, the debt collector can assume that you owe and continue attempts to collect – but that is not equal to admitting that you owe the debt.

Why Send a Debt Validation Letter During Foreclosure?

FDCPA gives you the ability to gain important information about your mortgage and your account that you can use to protect your home, settle your account, or otherwise advocate for your best interests in or out of court. You should use this law if you believe that your account includes wrong or fraudulent information, if mistakes have been made about your record of payments, or if you believe that other violations exist.

This law gives you the opportunity to identify and get more clarification on those violations as well as learn other key details that you can use to either get caught up on your mortgage or point out why the mortgagor has no right to pursue foreclosure against your home. FDCPA can be used to reveal information about your account that you might not have had access to before being notified of the foreclosure.

Thanks to the FDCPA, you can now demand in writing that your debt collector clarify your account and provide to you in writing details that you need to know about your account. This law gives you the opportunity to correct wrongful information, cure your account, and take action to stop you from losing your home. 

You should not immediately confirm ownership of the debt. Here's why:

  • If you owe but can't afford to pay the debt, you'll lose negotiating power.
  • If you owe and intend to repay, you should first confirm that the debt collector is legitimate and is legitimately who you should pay.
  • If you owe but the debt has already surpassed the statute of limitations, confirming that it's yours could restart the clock on the statute of limitations.
  • If you're not sure you owe, it could be a mistake and you'll want to know for sure before you agree to repay.
  • If you're sure you don't owe, it could be a mistake or even an instance of fraud.

So before you do anything else, you might want to establish legitimacy before you proceed to negotiate with a debt collector by sending a Debt Validation Letter requesting validation of the debt including proof of a legitimate debt, the amount of debt owed, ownership of the debt, the right to collect the debt, and an accounting for all money demanded and how they arrived at the new figure.