How to Dispute and Ask a Debt Collector to Validate a Debt

If you have been contacted by a debt collector that is not the original creditor or representing the original creditor, I think it would be smart to ask the debt collector to validate the debt and prove you actually owe it if there is any doubt on your part you owe the debt.

Many debts were sold to debt buyers that wound up collecting or even suing consumers but never had sufficient information to prove the debt owed was accurate or valid. Asking for debt validation is a smart thing to do.

This process does not have to be complicated or difficult. You don’t need a form letter and in fact you can write the letter out by hand if you want. But I have provided somewhat of a sample letter below.

The hardest part of this process will be taking the letter at a Post Office so you can send it certified, return receipt requested. You must do that. You will need the proof when they received your letter.

When you get the green postcard back showing when they received your debt validation request, put that card in a safe place with all your other important papers. If you kept a copy of the letter you sent, staple the green card to it.

It is important to send this letter within 30 days of you being contacted by the debt collector. Do not delay.

Sample Debt Validation Letter

Debt Collector Name
City, State Zip

The Date Today

Your Name
City, State Zip

(Account: If the collection notice has an account number on it, put it here.)

Dear Sirs,

I am writing to you today to dispute the debt you are trying to collect from me and to request you provide validation the debt is legitimate.

If you have notified the credit reporting agencies of this debt you must notify them promptly that I have disputed the validity of this debt.

I have notified you in writing within the 30-day period and request you cease collection of the debt, or any disputed portion thereof, until you can verify the debt and provide me, by first class mail, the following materials:

  • All documents, including electronic records or images, which bear my signature and which concern the debt being collected;
  • A ledger, account card, account statement copy, or similar record, whether paper or electronic, which reflects the date and amount of payments, credits, balances, and charges concerning the debt, including but not limited to interest, fees, charges or expenses incidental to the principal obligation which the creditor is expressly authorized to collect by the agreement creating the debt or permitted to collect by law;
  • The name and address of the original creditor, if different from the collecting creditor; and
  • A copy of any judgment against me.


      Your Name

Now, go to your local Post Office and send the letter by certified mail, return receipt requested.

You will need to complete a return receipt card, like the one below, and attach it to the back of your letter before mailing.

Return Receipt

There is an additional charge to send a letter certified and request a return receipt.

And Now You Wait

After you send your letter, just wait for their response.

If they call before they get the letter, there is no reason to be nasty, just let them know you sent the letter and will await their investigation and response by mail.

Unless the collector can prove the debt is valid then there is no reason for you to deal with them anymore.


You are not alone. I'm here to help. There is no need to suffer in silence. We can get through this. Tomorrow can be better than today. Don't give up.

Damon Day - Pro Debt Coach

Damon Day - Pro Debt Coach
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33 thoughts on “How to Dispute and Ask a Debt Collector to Validate a Debt”

  1. “Unless the collector can prove the debt is valid then there is no reason for you to deal with them anymore.”

    So if the collector is unable to validate the debt, then what is the next step? What happens to the debt that is owed?

    • A debt that can’t be validate is not a collectible debt. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be pursued for it or even sued. If the collector continues or you are contacted again by another company, find a local consumer attorney who is licensed in your state and ask them to represent you.

  2. Hi Steve, what if it is PAST the 30 days of being contacted by the debt collector? Can you still dispute (this is for defaulted private student loans)?

    • You can always dispute a debt but only before you acknowledge the debt or make payments on it. After that point it may be most efficient to hire a local attorney to attempt to get a debt validated otherwise the collector may just ignore you.

  3. what if you made arrangements over the phone to pay a certain amount they take more than the agreed upon amount out… you closed your bank account, they served papers to my dad who has the same first and last name as me he called them up gave them his social number they said it wasn’t him… then two months later there was an order of seizure notice taped to his front door it had my birthday on it… I went and filed a motion to wave judgment on the grounds I wasn’t severed the papers to go to court.. when I wen into court the judge asked me how tall I am and how old am I and how much do I way… I told him he said under Michigan written law I fit the description of the person served the papers.. the written description was as follows, 200 lbs, 5ft 10, late forties…. me at the time I was 553 lbs I am 6 ft and I was in my late thirties… so the judge ruled against me is there anything I can do short of rewarding them for their breech of contract?

  4. I have old student loan debt that I haven’t made a payment on in 10 years. Is there a way to get that removed off of my credit report?

      • when contacting Credit bureaus about a debt thats 6-7 years old that should of come off because of the statutes-of-limitations of CA is 4. is their a letter so send them?

        • The debt will remain on the credit bureaus past the statute of limitations. Apples and oranges. A debt will be reported for up to 7 years + 180 days from when it last became delinquent.


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