If you’ve recently received a call or letter from a debt collector stating you owe money, don’t just pass it off and forget about it. Leaving an erroneous collections account on your credit report can severely damage your credit score. You can request validation of the debt to make sure it’s legitimate and that you’re the person the collection agency is actually looking for. This is the first step in removing a collections account without hurting your score.
What is a debt validation letter?
A debt validation letter in Canada is a document that proves a debt is valid, states how much you owe and confirms it’s within the statute of limitations for collection. You can also request that collection calls stop and all further communication with you from the agency be in writing.
How do I write a debt validation letter?
If you receive a phone call or letter from a collection agency and want more information about the debt, you can send them the following request for validation. Make sure you that send this letter by registered mail so that you have proof that you sent this letter to the collection agency.
Below is a sample letter for a debt validation request. This is intended for demonstration purposes only. Consult an attorney for official legal counsel before sending a debt validation request to a collection agency.
Debt validation letter sample
Debt collector’s name
Debt collector’s address
Re: Your account number
To Whom it may concern,
This letter is being sent in response to a [written notice or phone call] on November 2023. This is not a refusal to pay, but a request for debt validation. I am requesting that you provide proof that the debt is valid under a contractual obligation and that I am the correct debtor.
Please provide me with the following information:
- An agreement with the creditor that authorizes you to collect on this alleged debt
- An agreement with my signature that states I have agreed to assume this alleged debt
- Valid copies of the alleged debt agreement that states the original principal of the alleged debt as well as fees and interest charges
- Complete accounting history of the alleged debt
- Any judgments obtained by a creditor regarding this account
- Name and address of the alleged creditor
- Name and address of the alleged debtor
- Name, address and official license for the collection agency attempting to collect this alleged debt
- Date the alleged debt became payable, date of the original delinquency and verification that the alleged debt was assigned or sold to the collector
If your office is able to provide the proper documentation as requested, I will require 30 days to investigate the information. During this time, cease and desist all collection activity. If during this validation period any actions are taken that could be considered detrimental to any of my credit reports, I will consult legal counsel in preparation for a lawsuit.
If your office fails to respond to this validation request within 30 days from the date of receipt, all references to this account must be deleted and completely removed from my credit file. A copy of this deletion request needs to be sent to me immediately. Any noncompliance with my request will be considered a waiver of all claims to enforce the debt against me and your implied agreement to compensate me for any court costs and/or attorney fees if I am forced to bring this matter before a judge.
Thank you for your cooperation,
Your name in print
How to dispute a debt collection
If you’ve been accused of having a debt you do not owe — or suspect a collection letter may be a scam — then it’s critical you send a debt validation letter to dispute the debt. A lender must stop collection activity until it confirms the debt is legitimate.
If the collector is unable to prove your debt or continues to contact you to collect on it, it’s violating federal law. File a complaint with the consumer affairs office of your province or territory and stop communicating with the collector until you can obtain legal advice.
What do I do if the debt is valid?
If you determine that the debt is valid and you do in fact owe money, the best and easiest way to deal with it is to pay the debt in full. If you aren’t able to do so, negotiate with the collections agency or directly with the creditor to arrangement a payment amount or a payment plan that works for you.
It’s important that you deal with any collections debt on your credit report so that it doesn’t hurt your credit score and borrowing chances later down the road.
Debt relief is steps you take to reduce or refinance your debt in order to manage your payments better. Debt relief companies offer different services to accomplish this goal, and they are a buffer between balance transfer credit cards and filing for bankruptcy. Their services can include creating a debt management plan, negotiating with your creditors to reduce the amount you owe, giving advice on budgeting and more. Learn more about debt relief companies.
Considering debt relief?
Sending a debt validation letter in Canada to a collection agency can help you confirm the debt is legitimate and that you’re not falling victim to a scam. And if you notice an incorrect mark on your credit report, a debt verification letter is a good way to ensure you’re actually the person that owes the debt in question.
However, these letters are only one step in the debt collection process. If you’ve been fielding calls and notices from collection agencies, there are ways to deal with these collectors to stop harassment.
Frequently asked questions