Before You Pay Any Old Debt, Validate!

We know what you’re thinking — more credit repair. And during the holiday season, no less! What can we say? Credit’s on our mind all the time because the role that credit has in our society is growing every day. people are using credit to decide how much your insurance needs to be, whether or not you’re a worthy applicant for a job, or even whether or not you get to own a cell phone. Sure, you can navigate around these things by choosing jobs that don’t do credit checks, getting a prepaid phone and other workarounds, but everything has a price. It’s so much easier to clean up your credit over time. Even though you might not have great credit in the beginning, time and determination can give you back the things that you truly want.

So, onward and upward, right? Right! Let’s talk about debt validation again, in case you might have missed the earlier notes on this.

Validation of debt is simply where you figure out whether or not the collection agency that’s been breathing down your neck actually has the legal right to collect on the debt. They have to provide you proof, and proof is definitely important. A lot of people just automatically assume that a collection agency has the right to take your money without proof, but that’s not the case at all. The truth here is that if they can’t prove they have that right, the debt isn’t valid and it gets dropped off your credit report. But the trouble here is that even though it’s your legal right to do so, a lot of people skip this step, for strange reasons. You see, it’s really just a matter of knowing your rights and fighting for them — but it can be frustrating. You’re going to have to wait long periods of time before you get an answer, and it might not always work out as straightforward as you think.

There is a time limit for validation of debts as well. Debt collectors have to send you a debt validation notice within 5 days of contacting you to collect a debt. You have the right to validate and/or dispute the debt within 30 days of receiving the letter.

As a side note, this is a good reason why you really need to make sure that you’re staying as organized as you possibly can when it comes to this stuff. You want to make sure that you mark down in your calendar not only when the CA addressed you formally, but when the deadline is for you to respond. Make sure that you don’t wait till the last minute — after all, you’re going to need to bake some time in for the debt validation letter to get over to them.

The details that you get with your debt validation request are simple enough:

The first detail that you get is proof that the collection agency actually does indeed hold your debt. It means that they show you that the account has been sold to them or assigned to them from the original creditor.

Your payment history also comes into play — they will need to send you the total amount you owe, including any fees that are added to your debt. You also want to make sure that you know how the collection agency has tabbed everything up.

You also want to get a copy of your original agreement that you signed agreeing to pay the debt. If they don’t provide this, then the validation has failed and you have other options.

So, how do we actually get this ball rolling? Well, simply put — you need to write letters. You need to first start by writing a request letter to the collection agency to validate the debt. There are plenty of validation sample letters online for you to choose from, so don’t feel like this is a step that’s out of your control.

From here, you will need to make sure that the collection agency is licensed to collect money in your state. Not every state requires this. For example, if you live in Kansas and the collection agency doesn’t need to have a license, then you cannot use this defense. [Continue Reading…]

Credit Repair is One of the Best Gifts You Can Give Yourself This Holiday Season

We know, we know — we should stop talking about credit and finance during such a festive time of year. Whether you’re carving pumpkins or picking out a great costume, chances are good that you want to focus on the fun stuff and not so much of this credit business. Yet if you really want to cap your year off right, you really need to hear us out here.

The reason why we’re always talking about credit is because now is the best time to make sure that you are thinking about it. You want to always make sure that you focus on your credit because this is the top time of year when identity theft happens. Even if identity theft weren’t the top thing that you were focusing on, it still needs to be in the back of your mind that as you are spending money, there’s a possibility that credit thieves are dreaming about spending your money and ruining your good name too. That’s why we’re constantly singing the praises of credit monitoring services. When you compare their value to their price, you’ll find that most of them are a bargain. With a 30 day trial backing most of them, you will be able to see if you’re getting any benefits out of it or not.

Yet you don’t need to just stop there — why not expand into other parts of the DIY credit repair world? It’s okay if you want to start out with just getting an eye on your credit and making sure that nobody is trying to mess you up, but it goes so much deeper than that. You can actually make sure that you go through the process of checking your credit score for errors.

Errors happen over time, and sometimes there’s nothing you can do to prevent them. However, there is a point where you can dispute these errors. The trouble that comes online is that people tell you can’t. The issue here isn’t that there are negative pieces of information on your credit. Not at all. In fact, if you have negative information that’s accurate, there’s nothing that you can do about that information except wait. How long? Well, you have to wait until the statute of limitations is run out on the debt. The negative information will then go off of your credit report. Sometimes this does not happen and people believe that they are stuck paying for debt that should have been brushed off. You will need to make sure that you look up the specific statute of limitation laws for your state as well as the state where the company in question does business. If your contract with them specifically states that they are going off the laws in their state, then you must make sure that you go off the information for the SOL in their state.

So, to recap — ACCURATE negative information is not an error. Errors would be debts that you did not ring up (identity theft), as well as incorrect information — a trade line reporting a 5,000 debt instead of a 500 dollar debt. These things can really mess up your credit score.

To fight them you’re going to have to break out the printer and type up some letters. You can’t go on the phone, and you can’t send email. That doesn’t establish a proper paper trail that you can use in court. There’s nothing wrong with calling around to get information, but you want to make sure that you save the real heart of your argument for letters.

You also need to make sure that you send your dispute letters certified mail, return receipt requested. It’s still the gold standard for making sure that someone actually did receive what you were trying to send them. It’s hard to think that your letters will be effective — especially if you really don’t hear anything else from the person. But you have to make sure that you give the other party at least 30 days to respond to you before you can move further with your case.

Hopefully you will have the error not only corrected but in most cases it will be removed from your record. This should raise your credit score.

The only word of caution that we give is that it’s so important not to try to dispute information that is correct. All you will be gaining is a temporary rise in your credit score. If you dispute correct information that is proved true, you can draw attention to it without expecting it — which can invite aggressive collection efforts, of course. If you’re trying to go under the radar, sometimes it’s a good idea not to wake up a sleeping giant if you can honestly help it.

Now is definitely the time to give yourself the gift of DIY credit repair. Yes, there are a lot of things that you’re going to have to learn, but that doesn’t mean that it’s the end of the world, really. You just need to make sure that you have all of your ducks in a row quickly so that you’re moving forward to a better financial life, inside and out. Why not start today? It really could be one of the best decisions that you’ve made to date — don’t delay for too long!