What To Do When a Bill Collector Calls
The next time a collection agency or debt buyer company calls, get their company name and address. Then send them 1) a letter telling them they are not to call you anymore, and 2) a debt dispute/debt validation letter. If they call you again after that, they will be violating the FDCPA. Do not worry about getting served with a lawsuit unless or until it actually happens. They are violating the FDCPA if they threatening you or claiming you are being sued when, you are not. Here is a debt dispute/debt validation letter you can use. Bear in mind that they are not required to produce all the documents my letter requests, but it doesn't hurt to ask.
The following letter can be copied for your use:
- The letter should contain the specifics that you have such as the creditor's name and any known account numbers
- The letter should be sent both by Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested and by first class mail.
- If they accept the letter you will have a receipt. If they do not sign for the letter you have proof you sent it and they refused to open it.
City, State Zip Code:
(NOTICE OF DISPUTE OF DEBT and REQUEST FOR DEBT VALIDATION)
Collection Agency's Name:
Collection Agency's Address:
City, State Zip Code:
RE: Name of Company you represent, Account Number.
Dear Sir or Madam:
Your office has been calling me about a debt you claim I owe but which I have no knowledge of. The purpose of this letter is to dispute this debt, which I do not believe I owe, and to request that you validate it by providing the documentation and information requested below. This is not a refusal to pay, but a notice sent pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 USC 1692g Section 809(b) that your claim is disputed and validation is requested.
Pursuant to Section 809(b) of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act:
"If the consumer notifies the debt collector in writing within the 30-day period described in subsection (a) that the debt, or any portion thereof, is disputed, or that the consumer requests the name and address of the original creditor, the debt collector shall cease collection of the debt, or any disputed portion thereof, until the debt collector obtains verification of the debt or any copy of a judgment, or the name and address of the original creditor, and a copy of such verification or judgment, or name and address of the original creditor, is mailed to the consumer by the debt collector."
Accordingly, please provide me with the following:
- A detailed accounting of the debt, an itemization of what the debt is for;
- A detailed explanation of how you calculated the amount;
- Copies of any documents that show I agreed to pay what you say I owe, or promissory note;
- Identify the original creditor and provide their current contact information;
- Proof that the Statute of Limitations has not expired on this account;
- Documentation showing that you have the legal right to collect this debt;
- Documentation showing that you are licensed to collect in my state; and
- Provide me with the contact information for your Registered Agent for Service of Process.
I am fully aware of my rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act and I know that because I have disputed this debt in writing within 30 days of the date of your bill, you must obtain verification of the debt against me and mail these items to me at your expense.
Additionally, you cannot add interest or fees except those allowed by the original contract or state law. While you are not required to respond to this dispute, any attempt to collect this debt without validating it violates the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
Please be advised that I am keeping very accurate records of all correspondence from you and your company, and I will not hesitate to report violations of the law to my State Attorney General, the Federal Trade Commission and the Better Business Bureau.
I have disputed this debt; therefore, until validated, you know your information concerning this debt is inaccurate. Therefore, if you have already reported this debt to any credit-reporting agency, such as Experian, Equifax or TransUnion, then you must immediately inform them of my dispute with this debt.
Furthermore, reporting information that you know to be inaccurate or failing to report information correctly violates the Fair Credit Reporting Act. If your offices have reported invalidated information to any credit reporting agency, said action might constitute fraud under both Federal and State Laws.