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What is a debt collection validation notice?

When a debt collector first contacts you, they are required to provide you with certain information about the debt they’re trying to collect.

The CFPB’s Debt Collection Rule clarifying certain provisions of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) became effective on November 30, 2021.

The CFPB’s debt collection rule requires debt collectors to provide certain information when they first communicate with you or soon after (generally within 5 days). When the debt collector provides this required information electronically or in writing, it is called a validation notice. The validation notice is meant to help you recognize whether the debt is yours and dispute the debt if it is not yours. The notice generally must include:

  • A statement that the communication is from a debt collector
  • The name and mailing information of the debt collector and the consumer
  • The name of the creditor to whom the debt is owed
    • It is possible that more than one creditor will be listed
  • The account number associated with the debt (if any)
  • An itemization of the current amount of the debt that reflects interest, fees, payments and credits since a particular date, the “itemization date”
  • The current amount of the debt as of when the validation information is provided
  • Information about your debt collection rights, including language that:
    • If you don’t dispute the debt within 30 days the debt collector will assume the debt is valid
    • If you do dispute the debt in writing within 30 days the debt collector must stop collection until it provides you verification of the debt
    • If you request the name and address of the original creditor (if different from the current creditor) within 30 days, the debt collector will provide you that information
  • Information on how to dispute the debt
  • The notice must include a “tear-off” form that you can send back to the debt collector to dispute the debt or take other actions.

You may see other information on your validation notice, but the information listed above generally must be included. If you think a debt collector failed to give you the validation information you can submit a complaint with the CFPB online or by calling (855) 411-CFPB (2372).

If you send the debt collector a written dispute or a written request for information about the original creditor within 30 days, the debt collector must pause collecting the debt until it responds to your dispute or answers your request. The debt collector will identify the date when the 30-day period ends.

Learn what to do when a debt collector contacts you.