One of the many rights that most people don’t know they have against debt collectors is the right to request validation of the debt. Once a collector starts coming after you for money, they are required to notify you of your right to request proof that you owe them the money. Think about it this way:
Imagine that you borrowed money from your friend Luke a few years ago. You made payments as you could, but eventually fell behind and Luke got tired of asking you for the money because he didn’t want to be a jerk and had better things to do than hound you all day for payment.
So you live your life for a while, until a guy named Porkins comes up to you on the street one day and says “You owe me $500.” What? You ask. “You owe Luke $500, and Luke told me I can come get it from you, so you owe me $500. Pay up.” Do you give Porkins your money? Of course not! At least, not without proof.
Change the names from Luke and Porkins to HSBC and Portfolio Recovery Associates, and you have the same situation that tons of people face today. The law doesn’t require you to pay Portfolio Recovery Associates unless they can prove that you rightfully owe them. You have the right to request proof that the debt is owed – it’s common sense! But the law is a bit deeper than that. If you request “validation” of the debt within 30 days of first hearing from the debt collector, then THEY ARE REQUIRED to send you proof that you owed the money to HSBC and that they were rightfully assigned the debt from HSBC.
So how do you assert this right? It is easy. Just write a letter. You don’t have to quote the statute, but you should just to make it clear that they know exactly what you want. The language can be as short as this:
“I received your recent communication stating that you were collecting an alleged debt owed to HSBC. I do not believe that I owe you or HSBC for this account.
Pursuant to 15 U.S.C. §1692g, I hereby request validation of this debt. Please mail it to the address below.”
Be sure to tell them your name, address, and the account number if you have it. If you don’t know the account number, give them the last 4 digits of your social security number.
If you don’t trust yourself to do it, here is an example that I’ve written myself:
Page 1 2> >