If you are working to improve your credit scores by disputing inaccurate information on your credit reports, then I’m sure you’ve heard the terms ‘validation’ and ‘verification’ being thrown around.
If you have googled dispute letter templates, or read any credit blogs you’ve probably heard the term used interchangeably.
Naturally, the next question is, “What is the difference???”
When disputing a debt direction with credit bureaus, you are pulling on your legal right to have 100% accurate, complete and verifiable information reporting on your credit report. This law is the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), section 611 in particular.
So, when you review the dispute letter templates, which I’m sure you’ve googled J, you’ll notice quotes direction from the FCRA, detailing your right to dispute an account(s) for accuracy, and to receive a response from the credit bureaus in 30 days, etc. Here’s an example:
I am writing to dispute the validity of the above referenced item pursuant to the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires you to verify the validity of the item within 30 days. If the validity cannot be verified, you are obligated by law to remove the item.
Account Name, Account Number, Why Disputing, Request to Delete/Update
In short, a verification letter goes to the credit bureaus and you are asking them to verify that the account you are disputing is accurate.
Validation letters pull on your consumer rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), Section 809 Validation of Debts, hence the term ‘Validation Letter’.
Validation letters apply to collection agencies only. You are asking them to ensure they own the debt, are pursuing the correct person for the debt, can tell you how much you owe, to whom, and to provide documentation of any judgments filed, if applicable.
If you read a validation letter, it will more than likely mention the FDCPA. Some letters will be short and sweet, while others ask for all types of unrealistic information. The FDCPA is vague on what verification truly is. Initially, it was created to ensure that the collector was in fact collecting from the correct person and merely requires that the collection agency provides:
- the amount of the debt;
- the name of the creditor to whom the debt is owed;
- provide a verification or copy of any judgment (if applicable);
- proof that you are licensed to collect debts in my state.
Unfortunately, the above requirements are vague and prove absolutely nothing. Subsequent case laws have dictated that validation should prove that the debt is valid and provide a calculated breakdown of how the debt arrived at the amount attempted to be collected on. Doing so will allow you to compare their information to your records to see if there are any inaccuracies reporting.
I’d also advise looking up your own state collection requirements (each state has their own Collection laws that each agency must abide by) to ensure you’re exercising all of your rights under both federal and state law.
Hope this helps!
If you have any questions, feel free to post them to my Facebook community, Credit Makes $ense.
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