What is a debt validation letter? How do I know if I need one?

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Dear Experian,

I sent a debt validation letter to a collection agency and it's been over 30 days and still I haven't received a response. How long do I wait and what are my next steps to get this off my credit report? It's still fairly new since it's about a year old and it's from a cable company I thought I had everything squared away with. It's not much ($167) but want this off my credit score as soon as I can. Thanks in advance.

- JDT

Dear JDT,

The term "debt validation letter" refers to a letter that an individual sends to their creditor or collection agency requesting proof that the debt in question is valid and not outside the statute of limitations for collecting the debt.

The statute of limitations for collecting a debt is specified in the Federal Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) or by state law. If the debt exceeds that timeframe, which should be included in the validation letter, collection efforts can no longer be pursued.

Debt Validation Letters and Your Credit Report

It actually has nothing to do with the information in the credit report. Often, the debt has already been deleted from the credit report because it has passed the seven year period specified for reporting by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

Correspondence between the individual and the creditor, such as requesting a debt validation letter, does not directly affect with the information in your credit report.

Disputing Inaccurate Information on Your Credit Report

If you feel there is an item on your credit report that is inaccurate, you should contact Experian to dispute the item. You can dispute information on your report by phone, by mail, or by going online to experian.com/dispute.

You can also submit copies of any supporting documentation you may have. Documentation can be submitted either by mail or online at experian.com/upload. You can also learn more by viewing tips for disputing online.

Experian will then notify the creditor of your dispute and ask them to check their records and verify the information in question. Once the investigation is complete, we will notify you of the results.

Thank you for asking,
The "Ask Experian" Team

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