How to Contest Debt

When you get debt collection notices, initiate disputes if they are not valid.

When you get debt collection notices, initiate disputes if they are not valid.

Debt collectors knocking on your door and calling you on the phone can seem overwhelming and discouraging. Although you might just want to pretend they don’t exist, ignoring them won’t make your problems go away. If you have issues with the debts in collection status, you may contest debt to resolve the issues. You have some protection from the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which institutes provisions that will prevent collection agencies from engaging in some activities.

Respond in writing promptly to the first contact you receive from a collection agency. According to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, you have 30 days to dispute the debt. If you don’t respond with 30 days, you won’t be able to contest the debt later.

Provide all relevant details in your letter to the collection agency. Include details such as your name, account number, amount owed and the reason you are contesting the debt. You might contest a debt if, for example, you have already paid it, you returned the item for which payment is sought, or you are a victim of identification theft.

Inform the collection agency that you want it to correct any reports already given to credit reporting agencies under terms included in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Also, inform the collection agency that you do not want representatives to contact you again regarding the debt. Sign the letter.

Make two copies of the letter. Keep one copy for your files and send the other copy to the original creditor. Send the original document to the collection agency, along with copies of supporting documents that prove your claim for not owing the debt, such as proof of payment or a police report that supports your claim of identity theft.

Send the letter and supporting documents to the collection agency via certified mail to ensure proof of the mailing.

Tip

  • Provide a copy of your letter and supporting documents to the Federal Trade Commission Bureau of Consumer Protection to report a complaint. The address is 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580. This enables the FTC to track patterns of violations. The FTC does not resolve consumer debt disputes.
 

About the Author

Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.

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