How do I send my dispute letter to the debt collector?

How do I send my dispute letter to the debt collector?If you are dealing with a debt collector, you have the right to send a dispute letter.  We have a simple dispute letter for you to look at and use if you wish.  But how do you actually send it?

Four steps to sending a dispute letter to a debt collector

First, keep a signed copy of your letter.

Second, send it certified mail return receipt requested so you will get a green card back.

Third, when you get the green card back, scan it in (or take a picture of it with your phone) and then staple it to your signed copy of the letter.

Fourth, pull your credit report in about 60 days to see if the debt collector is reporting the debt and if it shows as “consumer disputed.”

Several questions about dispute letters

There are a number of questions we have received about dispute letters (validation letters) and we wanted to list some of these here.  We’ll add to this list as we get more questions.

Do you have to list a reason for your dispute?

No.  You can simply say you dispute the debt.

But it can be helpful to put more detail when you can — see the next question.

How detailed should you make your dispute letter?

As detailed as possible.  If for example, you have paid off the debt, mention that.  Enclose copies of whatever documentation you have.

If this is not your debt, tell the collector it is not your debt.

This is a common sense approach of giving any information which will help the collector see this is not something it wants to collect against you.

Can the debt collector reject your dispute as being frivolous?

No.  You do not have to give a reason so there is no such thing as rejecting your dispute.  Now the collector can continue to collect so in that sense it can reject your dispute.

But it must still mark your credit report as disputed if it updates your report after getting the dispute.  Even if it disagrees with the dispute.

What if the debt collector responds but does not answer your dispute/validation?

Follow up.  Send another dispute letter pointing out the defects or flaws in the debt collector’s response.

Think of this as a tennis match.  You hit the ball over the net, the collector hits it back, you then hit it, etc.  Until you get to the bottom of this and figure out who is right or wrong, you can continue to send legitimate dispute letters to the collector.

Can your dispute be verbal instead of in writing?

It can be for purposes of your credit report having to be marked as disputed.  But in terms of getting “validation” for the debt, verbal is not good enough under the law.  Now some collectors may validate the debt anyway but there is no legal obligation to do that for a verbal dispute.


What should you do next?

If your credit report is not properly marked, or if you are getting robo dialed calls to your cell phone despite your dispute letter saying not to call your cell phone, then talk to a lawyer about suing the debt collector for money damages.

You can call us at 205-879-2447 or contact us through the website and we’ll be happy to help you deal with abusive debt collectors.

John Watts


  1. Linda J Muirrobinson says:

    i have a medical debt colletions on my credit score for an ambulance trip as the result of an auto accident. i did not sign any paperwork regarding this ambulance service. but recently got turned down for a bank loan as a result.
    your youtube referred to a validation letter template. i live in mass but can you please send me the template.
    thanks, linda

  2. Robin says:

    We bought 11,000 car from Drivetime/Bridegecrest and have paid over $20,000 and car went bad so turned it in when it broke down and they say we still owe them $10,000 and have sent it to a collection company. So it would make it a $30,000 total on an $11,000 car. Is there any resolve for me in dealing with something like this; it sounds crazy that they want us paying $30,000 on a $11,000 car.

    • John Watts says:


      We do have to consider interest. Especially if you had a high interest rate, so much of your early payments would go to interest rather than reducing the principal amount of $11,000.

      Having said that, it does seem awful high for an $11,000 car. You will want to check out the amortization of the loan to see if they correctly applied your payments, what late fees, etc. were added.

      A lot depends on your state — assuming you are in Alabama, the statute of limitations for them to sue you may be 4 years from when you stopped making payments/turned the car in. Here is an article on this —

      I would consider asking the collector (and copying the finance company) to explain the money part of this — list each payment, each charge, etc. so you can figure out if the amount they claim you owe is true.

      Check your credit reports to see what is being said by either the collection company or the original creditor — compare that to what the debt collector is now telling you.

      Finally, I do suggest getting with a consumer protection lawyer in your state. So often we see abuses and violations of the law in high interest rate cases where there has been a repossession (or voluntary turn in). It helps you to pick the best course when you know all of your options — fighting or settling the case.

      Thanks for your comment and if you are in Alabama call us at 205-879-2447.

      John Watts

  3. Yas Betancourt says:

    Hi, i have send validation letters, to all the creditors, and i have received back only, copies of itemized statements, only but no other type of information was given, how can i send a second letter, and what should i write on the 2nd letter. please please help.


    • John Watts says:


      I don’t know about the specific laws in Texas so get with a Texas consumer protection lawyer.

      In general under the FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act), the more specific your dispute, the more specific the response/validation has to be.

      So for example, a simple dispute letter saying “I dispute this debt” is fine — good starting point — and the response will be what you described.

      But if you know you already paid this or it is outside the statute of limitations (time for them to sue you) then you can add those details. And ask them to respond.

      You can think of this as a tennis match — you send a dispute letter (hit the ball over the net) and then they have to respond (hit the ball back to you). Then you take their response, see if it is sufficient. If it is not, send another dispute letter.

      I do advise you to get with a Texas consumer protection lawyer though to figure out your options ASAP.

      Best wishes!

      John Watts

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