Simple Dispute Letter To Send To Debt Collectors
Simple Dispute Letter To Send To Debt Collectors
We have talked about what to say to debt collectors when on the phone, but what about a “simple” sample letter to debt collectors?
There are some very long, and I think very ineffective, letters that are floating around the internet.
But used properly, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) do give us some useful tools to help collectors understand that should not abuse you.
Purposes of the Letter
You want to dispute the debt.
Unless you know it is right and accurate.
You probably want the debt collector to not call your cell phone or your work phone.
You want to see what the collector will send you that shows you owe this debt.
Now, you may have other purposes but our clients want these three items above. This letter accomplishes those goals.
Here’s the Simple Letter to Send to Debt Collectors
Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested
Dear Sir or Madam,
I dispute owing any debt to your company.
If you think I owe any debt to your company, please send me whatever you can in writing showing me that I owe any debt to your company.
Do not call my cell phone number of xxx-xxx-xxxx. If you think I gave permission for you to call my cell phone, I’m revoking it in writing. And do not call my work number of xxx-xxx-xxxx or any other number for my work of [give name of your work]. I’m not allowed to receive these types of calls at my work.
Last 4 of Social Security
Couple of points to keep in mind:
- Fill out all blanks on the letter (phone numbers, name of employer, etc);
- Make any changes you need to the letter;
- Make sure you date the letter;
- Send it certified mail so you get the green card back;
- Keep a signed copy — a hard copy;
- Scan the signed copy — use a scanner, a scanner app on your phone, or even just take a picture of the letter with your phone and email that to yourself or put it on Dropbox, Google Drive, Evernote, or some other cloud based storage;
- When you get the green card back, scan it just like the letter and staple it to the signed copy you have kept; and
- Carefully track any calls or letters you get from the collector to document any violations of the law
What This Letter Accomplishes
“I dispute owing any debt to your company.”
This makes it clear to the collector that you dispute the debt.
Collectors, particularly debt buyers, love to argue to judges, “Well, he never disputed it so he admits he owes it.”
Some judges fall for this but most don’t.
The law is absolutely clear that you do not concede you owe the debt because you do not dispute it — the dispute process is a right, not a responsibility.
But, you should use the dispute process to tell the collection agency you dispute the debt.
If the debt collector credit reports on you after receiving the letter, it must show the debt as being disputed or the collector will violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
“If you think I owe any debt to your company, please send me whatever you can in writing showing me that I owe any debt to your company.”
Here the collector can either refuse to send you proof, or it can send you proof. If it is a legitimate collector, it will send you some form of proof as it will want you to pay.
The collection agencies that can’t or won’t prove the debt, will refuse to send you anything or will send you a letter saying “You owe the debt — we checked — and you owe it and we aren’t sending you anything.”
That is a warning sign that you are dealing with a collection agency that is probably going to violate the law.
And, if you get sued, you can tell the judge you even asked for some proof but the agency refused to send it….
“Do not call my cell phone number of xxx-xxx-xxxx. If you think I gave permission for you to call my cell phone, I’m revoking it in writing.”
This will revoke any right that the collector claims to be able to call your cell phone with auto dialers, pre-recorded messages, or other types of communications (text messages, etc) that may be covered by the TCPA.
If the collection agency continues to call you with these types of calls, the agency may owe you $500 or $1500 per call. The honorable agencies will immediately take your cell phone out of their system that auto dials.
The dishonorable ones? Well, they don’t think you have the guts to sue them — I suggest you prove them wrong….
“And do not call my work number of xxx-xxx-xxxx or any other number for my work of [give name of your work]. I’m not allowed to receive these types of calls at my work.”
Once you tell the collection agency to not call your work as you are not allowed to receive these types of calls, the debt collector cannot call you at work.
If it does, it has almost certainly violated the FDCPA which prohibits calls to your place of employment after you tell them not to call you.
Often the debt collectors think you can’t get damages for this but any normal reasonable person (this excludes by definition abusive debt collectors!) knows that getting these types of calls to your work is very upsetting.
Send the letter out if it makes sense to you.
Most folks we meet with will send this out to collectors who are writing, calling, and credit reporting.
See who you are dealing with and whether you owe the money and then take the appropriate action.
Give us a call at 1-205-879-2447 or fill out our contact form, and we will be glad to chat with you if you live in Alabama.
I look forward to chatting with you!
Have a great day.
PS — Follow up
Here is a simple schedule to use to follow up on your dispute letter.
7 days — did the collector get your letter? Check on USPS website to see if delivered.
30 days — any word from collector? Any calls or letters?
60-90 days — check credit reports and see if collector is reporting. If reporting, is the collection account shown as disputed? When was it updated?