Simple Dispute Letter To Send To Debt Collectors

Simple Dispute Letter To Send To Debt Collectors

debt collectorsWe 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.

Thank you.




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.

Final Thoughts

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.

John Watts

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?


  1. Penny says:

    I sent a certified return receipt letter. The collector refuses to sign for it. USPS shows it out for delivery a month ago,it hasn’t been delivered. Stagnant status. What can I do since they wont sign for the letter?

    • John Watts says:


      I would send another one and also send it by regular mail. You can take your original letter and write across the top of it:

      “Second Notice — you refused to pick up the certified mail so I’m sending you this second notice — please respond.”

      You can certainly do it however you want but I think it is somewhat ironic to use the collection industry’s “Second notice” language against them. 🙂

      And it makes the point that you are giving them another chance to pick up the letter.

      As far as your credit report goes, if you sent the simple dispute letter we suggested in this article, I think the collector is likely on notice of your dispute. I doubt a judge would be impressed with the collector refusing to open the mail or pick up the mail to claim ignorance.

      Still, I would send the second notice by certified and regular mail and then check your credit reports in about 90 days.

      If you have questions and live anywhere in Alabama, feel free to give us a call at 205-879-2447.

      Thanks for your excellent question — one I have never had before — and I wish you the best!

      John Watts

  2. Deseray says:

    What type of letter should you send if there to the debt collector that is reporting a judgement? One can be unsure of how to address a debt collector when a court judgement is involved.

    • John Watts says:

      There are normally two ways a collection account that results in a judgment is reported on your credit reports.

      First, there is the “tradeline” or account from the collector — say it is Midland Funding. That is actually the collector reporting it and there should always be an address of the collector that you can send a copy of a letter to — often you want to dispute it with the credit reporting agencies also.

      Second, if there is a judgment against you, then it will show up under the “Public Records” section of your credit report. That is NOT reported by the collector — instead the credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, Trans Union, etc) report this by pulling the courthouse records.

      To dispute a judgment you normally need to show the judgment is vacated or settled.

      Hope this answers your question — if not let me know and I’ll do my best to help you any way I can.


      John Watts

  3. Paul Nunn says:

    What do I do if I have a charge off and a collection for the same account? Do I send the dispute letter to the collection agency?

    • John Watts says:


      I think it is a good idea to consider a dispute letter to any debt collector. If you don’t, they will argue (not legitimately but they argue) that you must have agreed or you would have disputed.

      Our simple dispute letter is designed to get you information and to make sure the collector is not blowing up your cell phone or calling you at work.

      Certainly get with a consumer protection lawyer in your state as sometimes best not to send it but good starting point is this letter.

      If we can help you give us a call at 205-879-2447.


      John Watts

  4. Paul Nunn says:

    If I do owe a debt that’s in collection that’s pretty new like 3-4 months what’s the best way to handle it. Thanks

    • John Watts says:


      It depends on a lot of factors:

      1. Why type of debt?
      2. How much?
      3. Who is collecting?
      4. Do you owe the money?
      5. Does the collector have a right to collect?
      6. Do you have a defense to the claim you owe the money?
      7. Has the collector violated the FDCPA in its collections so far?
      8. What state are you in?
      9. Etc.

      So I can’t tell you the best way to handle it without knowing a lot of details.

      Here are some general thoughts:

      1. Using our simple form letter as a starting place can be a good idea. I tried to explain the reasoning behind it so you can make your own judgment about whether to send it or whether to modify it.

      2. Never hurts to talk to a collector but be aware that you don’t let them intimidate or lie to you. Document your calls.

      3. If you are dealing with a respectful legitimate debt collector, then it makes sense a lot of times to work it out. But if they are violating the law, often it is better to sue them.

      Ultimately if you are dealing with a collector, it is worth your time to chat with a lawyer that does this type of work. We normally can tell you who is legitimate, whether they have violated the law, etc.

      So get with a lawyer in your state to see what your options are.

      Congrats on taking action instead of ignoring this — that speaks very well of you.

      Best wishes!

      John Watts
      205-879-2447 if you live in Alabama give us a call…

  5. MARY says:

    Hello. How can I find out if Midland Funding LLC and Midland credit Management is bonded in Alabama?

    • John Watts says:


      I’m not sure. To my knowledge they are not bonded and don’t need to be.

      But feel free to give me some more detail about what you are looking for (i.e. what type of bonding) and I’ll help you any way I can.


      John Watts

  6. Avi says:

    Hi, I’m slightly confused – in your other video you stated that you never talk to debt collectors, you start with filing a law-suit. If so, when would this letter be relevant?

    Thank you!!

    • John Watts says:


      Thanks for your comment/question.

      We as lawyers don’t call or write to debt collectors and ask them to settle a potential claim with us. We sue them and then talk to them.

      This letter on this page is something our clients would send to dispute a debt.

      The letter is a good starting point when you have any debt collector show up in your life — call, credit report, letter, etc.

      But when you find a collector has broken the law, then we sue first and negotiate second. The reason is there are some idiot collectors out there who will sue lawyers for trying to settle cases before suing the collector. Very weird and ironic.

      So we just sue them and then talk. 🙂

      Hope that makes sense!!

      John Watts

  7. Fany Madrid says:

    I have made payments to a collection agency already but I stopped after a few months. They sent me the letter and at the bottom says that I have 30 days to dispute. My question is: did I resett the debt’s statue of limitations by making payments?

    • John Watts says:


      Thanks for your question.

      You may have reset the statute of limitations. It depends on what state you are in and exactly what was said and done.

      I would get with a lawyer in your state to figure this out.

      Here’s one way this works — it can get a little confusing but I’m sure you’ll see what I’m trying to say.

      IF by paying money, you reset the statute of limitations, then the collector should have told you that fact. When the collector was collecting, this is a vital fact for you to know: paying can reset the statute of limitation.

      The law gets a bit complicated in this area but you may have some options.

      Get with a lawyer in your state and then the next step — depending on what the lawyer advises you — may be to call the collector and ask if they are taking this position that they can sue you.

      Best wishes and if you are in Alabama, give us a call at 205-879-2447.


      John Watts

  8. Teresa Alexander says:

    Do I still send the letter even if am not who the my debt is with. They call and left a message but I every call them back.

    • John Watts says:


      If you are getting calls from a debt collector, I would consider sending the letter.

      Now if they are saying they are really collecting against someone else, then you might change the letter to point this out and tell them to leave you alone. If they are looking for someone else, they should not still be calling you — you can always tell them to not call you anymore.

      I may be misunderstanding your situation so please leave a follow-up comment and I’ll be happy to answer any question you have.


      John Watts

  9. Ishan says:

    I got a letter from a debt collection agency for a towing bill for a car I sold year ago. I transferred the title to the buyer online on the same day I sold the car and have the printout.Buyer didn’t register the car under his name and used my plates. Can I dispute? Do I need to send a copy of the printout to the collection agency?


    • Ishan says:

      Sorry, I updated the records online on the same day I sold(in person) and transferred the title(in person) to the buyer and got the printout.


    • John Watts says:


      I would send a dispute letter and mention all the above. If the car was no longer yours, I think you have a good argument that you do not owe the towing bill. Send whatever information you can find to the collector.

      As with most things, you do need to check with consumer protection attorney in your state to make sure there are no unique things about your law that would change this.

      But if you were in Alabama, this is the advice I would give to my clients. Dispute it — explain why you feel you do not owe it, and see what the response is by the collection agency.

      Do check your credit reports — Equifax, Experian, TransUnion, Innovis, and Sagestream as lots of collectors like to report on credit reports.

      Best wishes!

      John Watts

  10. Sable Aigner says:

    What is the difference between disputing collection accounts with the credit bureau’s and directly with the collection agency?

    • John Watts says:


      Great question — thanks for asking.

      We will focus only on debt collectors under the FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) and not original creditors.

      So a direct dispute to the debt collector tells the collector you dispute the debt. What does this mean for credit reporting?

      First, the account must be marked as “disputed” at least if the collector updates the credit reporting.

      Second, if the collector realizes (or should realize) that the credit reporting is wrong, it must fix it (change it, delete it, etc).

      None of this involves you speaking with the credit bureaus.

      If the collector does not handle your dispute properly, you can sue under the FDCPA.

      Now if you dispute through the credit bureaus (credit reporting agencies), then they will notify the collector. The collector must respond so that the bureau can complete its investigation of your dispute within 30 days.

      If the collector has false information on your report after you do a dispute through the credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, Trans Union, etc) then you can sue under the FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) and the FDCPA.

      So the more direct route is the FDCPA but the one that gives you the most leverage is to dispute under the FCRA. Personally, I often like to do both.

      (Here is an article about using one or the other —

      Hope that helps — if you are in Alabama let us know and we will be glad to give you specific advice based on your own situation.


      John Watts

      • Tesslynn says:

        John, what confuses me is this “resurrected” debt by a new collection agency is baffling. My charge off, fell off my credit reports. So if I dispute something that wasn’t showing-I haven’t gotten a copy of 2018 credit reports, but I did not see it on 2016 reports as a charge off anymore. Is going through the dispute process with the credit bureaus necessary? I certainly am pursuing the “claim” by this other creditor. They did send a statement of a bogus number they pulled out of nowhere, it doesn’t align with ANY of the statements I kept from the CC or even the letter I have from my original collector. It is like they are trying to get it BACK on my credit report in any way they can, and that makes NO sense.

        • John Watts says:


          If this account — whoever is reporting it — is on your credit reports then I would consider disputing it through the bureaus. Now if it is not reporting, then no dispute necessary.

          Sometimes we see collectors that will re-age an account. So let’s cover a few background details.

          Normally negative info can stay on the report for 7 years from the date of the first major delinquency. That date is usually 6 months of missed payments. So you can think of this as 7.5 years from when you first fell behind and never got back on track.

          So let’s say I missed payments starting in January 2010 — well, by July 2017, this account needs to be off my report.

          But a collector comes along and buys it. Or is assigned the account. And the new collector tells the credit bureaus that the date of this delinquency was 2014. That would mean it stays on till 2021.

          The credit bureaus sort of try to prevent this (sometimes) by comparing account numbers. But when a collector wants to re-age it they add a few digits to the account number so it looks like a different account.

          Point being you have to carefully study your credit reports to see what is on there and go back through the dates.

          If you find false info by a debt collector, either sue under the FDCPA or dispute under the FCRA.

          If it is false info by the original creditor, have to dispute under the FCRA as the FDCPA does not apply.

          You are right to be concerned about this — the new collector may be trying to re-age this to get it back on your credit report.

          Hope this helps you to start a game plan on dealing with these jokers.

          Best wishes!

          John Watts

          • Tesslynn says:

            Thanks John,
            But I still make payments to the original collector. Which I realize now was foolish. But I thought I was doing the right thing. This other collector just started calling my phone this past week. No msgs, but googling the phone that comes up it is a collector-one that has lotsa complaints against them and BBB gives them horrible ratings and won’t accredit them. I did a prequal for a mtg in 2017 and nothing came up on the credit check. I have a healthy credit score. This whole thing was the result of downsizing and I couldn’t keep up being on unemployment. The charge off was in 2009, I got employed FINALLY in 2011 and was working with this collector, which I knew was legit because this is a CC that was offered to employees from a company I left,and this is who they used for collections. So how I calculated it was 2017 it should not show on my credit report. It wasn’t showing at all on the 2016 ones I pulled. The mtg company asked me NOTHING about it, so if it was a concern I would think they would have brought it up. When I didn’t answer the phone. They sent a statement which is an amount that is FALSE. I have kept all the original statements from that CC. I qualified for HAMP during that time and I had to have a letter from the original collector showing the balance they bought, and what I had paid off towards it. Again, different amounts, than this new collector. What I should have done is settle with the original collector, but really I didn’t know much about the process. I just was trying to honor my debt, and do the right thing. I didn’t cause the economy to tank, but man, it has really hurt me a lot. I sold the house that had the HAMP loan, I finally got out from the underwater situation. The minute our area recovered slightly and left the area because it isn’t gonna recover much at all. The whole housing addition suffered from short sales, foreclosures, etc. It ruined it for everyone that bought there. Smart people wouldn’t buy there knowing the history, ha. Taxes have gone sky high there because there isn’t enough of a base to pay in and support services there. I got out ahead a bit, others didn’t. I thought I was finally catching a break. This CC was the last bit of the hardship, so to speak and I thought it was handled. Once I get what these fools are trying to get out of me. I will contact the 1st collector because I thought everything was fine. I did call my original creditor and they tell me they haven’t authorized anything, recently, they only knew of the 1st collector. It is so hard to find the truth in these situations. I live in a more rural area, not much representation for this kind of thing, nor expertise in the attorney base close it makes it harder. Thanks for your input.

          • John Watts says:

            You are welcome and I hate that your situation got so rough for you.

            Glad things have gotten better and hopefully you can clear up this last one ASAP so it won’t bother you at all.

            Sounds like you have a plan down and wish you only the best. Remember to document everything — every call, letter, etc. Having specific details is very helpful so rather than saying, “I called you last week” you can say “I called you at xxx-xxx-xxxx at 2:14pm and we spoke for 7 minutes and 11 seconds and here’s what you said” etc.

            I hope you can resolve this quickly and move on.

            John Watts

          • Tesslynn says:

            Now that I know what I am doing with this (thanks for the videos they help tremendously) I will stay on it and I believe I will prevail. My roots are in the South-we don’t take defeat lightly or w/o a good fight, ha. Getting the HAMP was an issue, so I went to see my congressman. He helped provide “incentive” for them to see it was handled. I met the criteria. I wasn’t backing down. Something about getting letters from his office changed their minds immediately, ha. I don’t have that advantage, so to speak, here. But I am good at research and I do understand you can’t demand to be indemnified over and over on the same debt. That is illegal. That is basically what they are trying to pull. They have to be licensed to sue me over this in the state it was done in and where I am now. They are NOT. That is a plus, I think. There are very specific laws of harassment in both as well. At this point with bogus info, I would classify their behavior as harassment not collection-fishing with inaccurate info, amounts, etc. They have that history and have a class action suit in their past-2 so far. They prefer to reinvent their name, but continue their activities with the same game. I prefer all business in writing based on their history and unfair practices. I want that paper trail. They are known to despise it. They rather intimidate on the phone, so highly unprofessional. One post I read, they prefer to prey on women, thinking they are easier “targets”. NOT this one. Again thanks for the videos, and the personal replies here.

          • John Watts says:

            You are welcome — go get them!!

            And let us know how it turns out for you — will be looking for great news!

            John Watts

          • Tesslynn says:

            Hey John,
            Something makes NO sense to me. NO response yet from the new debt buyer/collector on the letter. PO did send back green card signed. I contacted original creditor and they said it was charged off yrs ago. They won’t take payment to them it is done. If the collector I was paying “sold” the debt to this other company. Then here is what BAFFLES my brain. If 1st collector bought debt for pennies, then they MORE than recooped on me already. But I didn’t KNOW I could negotiate a debt, and by paying on it I kept it active, and gave them the “out” to re-sell it. So far two companies have recooped, and I did get a 1099-C and paid taxes for “income”. Which makes NO sense as it was a credit card-NOT income, and I have PAID on it since. You don’t pay taxes on a loan. So creditor got paid off by insurance, 1st collection got paid more than they paid, and now this 2nd collection is making up an even HIGHER amount. If I choose to settle with them-not likely-if I paid only 10% of their bogus amount, can they turn around and claim that I got “income” that I have to pay AGAIN on taxes? and sell the “difference”? to someone else? The original creditor is NOT accepting payment, so HOW is a debt collector even “collecting” on a debt that is closed? How can they ADD fees, interests and charges to a debt when they didn’t originate the contract or the terms with the debtor, and they don’t pay back the original creditor. How is their cost to do business somehow your responsibility? Then IRS can deem that “income” when it is NOT the original contract or terms? And in my case this 2nd collector has NO license to practice in my former state or this current one, so from my research they can’t sue me, just harass me or ruin my credit, which takes time for the BIAS retarded credit bureaus to fix. Which is so unfair when this industry is KNOWN to be pushing the legal limits all the time. Why are they able to dredge up old debts as new ones if the contract ended with the original creditor? This whole process is illogical, and has too many “ifs” and lotsa ambiguity.

          • Tesslynn says:

            They produced a “bill” as of 11/19/17-with a name I haven’t HAD for YEARS from my original creditor. They had my correct name, so WHY would they revert back to a former name? Unless they were trying to FORGE something. They LAST bill I received on that credit card was 11/2009-so this doesn’t even make ANY sense. Showing payments on an account that I stopped PAYING and was CHARGED OFF in that year. This statement says I made a $25.00 payment in 10/17-I never did. How do I fight that????

          • John Watts says:


            We see this quite a bit.

            It should make you very suspicious of whether this is legit.

            You may want to send them a letter asking them to explain why this happened and to send you proof of the alleged $25 payment last year. (These fake payments are made up to restart the statute of limitation)

            Hope that helps.

            John Watts

          • Tesslynn says:

            Thanks John,

            I called the original creditor. They said they didn’t produce a statement on this CC since 2009. Since I use to work for them I asked ok, have they sent out any statements. GET this, they said they sent out nothing until last yr, when they sent 4 statements, each with a payment of $25.oo. They will print and send, but I NEVER got them, and the system has my corrected name, but this statement uses a former name. I said HOW was payment made, she had a sup help and they can’t SEE how it was made which is unusual-that is usually present on any account there and can be accessed and printed if requested. The posting date on my statement doesn’t coincide with what they have either on their end. They have NEVER seen anything like this. I requested copies of everything they have and I should get them shortly. Also this “paperwork” came from a FAX number that is NOT them-the logo is off-that is what I noticed about the statement, and from a FAX in CA. OC doesn’t have offices there, and the new collections isn’t in CA or licensed in CA. This is tres bizarre. I guess I need a lawyer now, because this is just not adding UP at all. What baffled the sup is that I had a MC-CC, they don’t offer anything but Visa’s now, the statement shows VISA logo. I have my original closed out card-not a VISA…it just is all kinds of shady. So someone is really going to extremes on this.

          • John Watts says:

            Sounds like it — extremes indeed!

            I would definitely get some help — it may be you have some claims against this collector. It is always nice when we can turn a negative into a positive. Poetic justice when they pay you money. 🙂

            Keep fighting!

            John Watts

          • Tesslynn says:

            Yes indeed, I do need help. When statements don’t look right-involve two different types of credit cards. Original Creditor saying I made payments yet they can’t tell me HOW there were posted in their system. No record if it was by check, online through their automated system, or by debit card. In odd months in 2017. What? On a closed ARCHIVED account. A payment in January, July, Sept, and Nov. Why would I decide to pay sporadically after all this time. Not logical, and for $25-all my previous correspondence stated they wouldn’t TAKE incremental payments only the FULL amount owed. What credit card EVER issues non consecutive statements, they are ALWAYS monthly? Something definitely went on behind the scenes but it didn’t involve ME at all. It SCREAMS re-aging. And yes I am trying to see WHO in the area can help, not many choices.

      • Sable Aigner says:


        Thanks for your timely reply! I’d be happy to work with your team however, I’m in the state of Indiana. My next question is: How long after sending dispute letter #1(to the credit bureaus) to request account validation does the credit bureau’s have to report it as “in dispute or disputed?”

        • John Watts says:

          Sable — understand. I’m sure there are some good consumer protection lawyers in Indiana.

          As far as timing on letters to credit bureaus — they get 30 days to investigate from receipt. So I would check back a little after 30 to see what they say.

          I’ve never studied it closely but I don’t think they have to mark it as disputed before the 30 days is up. Some do but I always check back after 30 days.

          Best wishes!

          John Watts

  11. nate says:

    when you mail the letter; what department do you mail to?
    mail to the main office? who is the letter addressing to in the front of letter?

    • John Watts says:


      I would send it to the “correspondence” address if that is listed on the collection letter. If not, then send it to the main address of the company.

      Normally you can find that on the collection letter or looking on your credit report or looking the company up online.

      Hope that helps!

      Thanks for your comment…

      John Watts

  12. TK says:

    What is the address I would need to send the dispute letter to for PRA?


    • John Watts says:


      You can look on a letter from them. Or look on your credit report.

      I just looked at their website and this is what it shows today (could change tomorrow so you always have to check):

      Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC
      Disputes Department
      140 Corporate Blvd
      Norfolk, VA 23502

      Hope that helps!

      John Watts

  13. ALMAZ says:

    I recently checked my credit report and found out a collection for medical bill from 2013. By the time i was uninsured and let it them that i could talk to social worker then somebody came and talk to me as social worker and document all information and left. since i discharged i didn’t get any bill statment from anboday, either from the hospital or from the collection agencies. It now 5 and half. My question is what steps should i take first.

    • John Watts says:


      I’m going to assume you are in Alabama — if so you still need to get with a consumer protection lawyer — feel free to call us. If outside of AL, get with someone in your state.

      It is odd no one sent you a bill and now you find a collection account.

      I would look at a dispute letter to the collection agency directly like the sample provided above.

      You can also consider if you want to do nothing as you are getting close to the statute of limitations for contracts in Alabama (6 years).

      Are you getting collection letters now?

      Any collection calls?

      As far as which steps to take, do you need this off of your credit right now (i.e. about to buy a house, need security clearance, etc)? Or can you wait till beyond 6 years?

      There is no perfect right or wrong answer — a lot depends on your unique situation.

      Give us a call and we’ll be happy to help you think through your options — 205-879-2447.

      Best wishes!

      John Watts

      • Almaz says:

        appreciate for the helpful anwsers. I never received any mail or phone calls from collection agencies. I’m planning to purchase a house and i decided to check my credit report last 4 days ago found out the collection..

        I’m from Texas and I don’t know what’s the state limitation in here.


        • John Watts says:

          You are very welcome — wish I could help you but I don’t know the statute of limitations in Texas.

          If you can, get with a consumer protection lawyer in Texas and they should be able to help you quickly.

          Best wishes!

          John Watts

  14. Almaz says:

    I have contacted to the collection agencies and reqested the bill statment that provider send to them as a collection. And the guy asked me that if i could make a payment. And i told him that after i received the bill statment, I may look to an options like negotiating to get a discount or i wanted to be deleted from my credit report. He replied that he can give me a discount but not going to be removed from my credit report anless i could pay in full. Then i reqested written statement from three major credit authorities that shows they going to delete.
    My question is, am i taking the right steps?


    • John Watts says:


      I would still get with a lawyer in Texas.

      Any promise to delete upon payment — I would get that in writing BEFORE I paid.

      If you have that then they should do it — if they don’t then look at suing them.

      Best wishes

      John Watts

  15. Tesslynn says:

    Hey John,

    Seems you have WAY more expertise than the ones I tried in my neck of the woods. Their response, they never saw anything like what I have had happened and don’t know HOW to help me. Not very reassuring. I pulled credit reports and as of 3/18 now I have this collection company showing on Trans Union. Should I file a dispute with the credit bureau that they have NOT sufficiently proved ownership of this debt?
    How is it that a consumer attorney not be able to advise on this? Or is that a polite way of dismissing me?

    • John Watts says:


      I can’t advise you what to do without knowing all the facts. I’ll say this — no harm in disputing when you legitimately have a question about an account. If you have asked the collector for proof and didn’t receive it then that’s something that could go in your letter to TransUnion and whichever other credit reporting places are reporting on you (Equifax, Experian, Innovis, Sagestream, etc).

      Here is a sample letter (at least the concepts) to send to a credit reporting agency and you should also consider copying the collector.

      I’m not sure why you are not getting help in your state — may need to call different consumer lawyers to get some advice.

      John Watts

      • Tesslynn says:

        I contacted a guy on consumernetworkrecovery, he deals a lot with where the CC was issued, and it is a bit different than most of the banks. He lives in my state, and he referred me to an attorney, that guy doesn’t know what to do with my particular situation. So I mentioned the referral attorney reviewed my summary of events, didn’t know what to do with my situation (not reassuring) I forwarded the response to the CNR guy and he says I should consider contacting the CFPB, to file a complaint. 3 turned me down, the referral doesn’t know how to help in this situation. Don’t have the choices or resources here I guess. I wish this happened in AL, I would be in your office pronto, LOL. Again, thanks for the input John!!!

  16. Barbara Perez says:

    My husband signed a certified return receipt letter, I then returned it to sender. Now I just received a letter telling me that they want to work with me; to pay the collection agency $25.00 Bi-Weekly. They also mentioned the letter that I returned to them; (didn’t know what the certified letter said since I returned to sender). We are on Social Security, and can’t afford to pay $5,428.77. How do I find out if they are license in FL, the Credit & Finance Company is located in VA.

    Thank you,


    • John Watts says:


      I suggest getting with a Florida attorney in your area. Search for a consumer protection lawyer near you.

      They can help you understand if you should accept this offer or reject it — whether this is a legitimate place, etc.

      Sorry I can’t help you but I’m not licensed in Florida.

      John Watts

  17. […] a dispute letter to the debt collector is almost always a good idea. You can tell them that you dispute owing them money, you would like […]

  18. Theresa says:

    ? I wrote a letter to all 3 credit agencies stating about closed/charge off accounts it read as follows

    Can you explain to me why the accounts listed shows that I owe a balance? From my understanding is that they write a protion off of their taxes and than file a claim with their insurance company and get paid, so why would I have to pay for it too? So they get paid triple? Delete this immediately. Is this a good thing. Thanks looking for your rely

    • John Watts says:


      That’s not exactly how it works — a charged off debt is still owed. They do get a tax break and if/when they collect money that is taxable to them.

      So that’s not the way I would dispute. If there is a monthly payment amount listed that should not be there with a charged off debt.

      Look for anything that is (1) not accurate and/or (2) incomplete.

      Best wishes and if in Alabama feel free to call us at 205-879-2447 thanks.


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