How to Respond to a Debt Collection Letter
Debt collectors are like bad pennies. They always turn up -- usually at the most inconvenient times -- and they never seem to go away.
Although you might be tempted to ignore the debt collection letter, you should respond. Whether it is an old debt or a disputed one, your response can minimize any adverse effects, such as a legal filing.
If you're unsure it can be challenging to know where to start. That's where DoNotPay can help.
Start With the Fair Debt Collections Practice Act (FDCPA)
Before responding to a debt collector, know your rights under the FDCPA. The FDCPA is a federal law that applies to third-party debt collectors or agencies. Debt collectors may send letters, emails, text messages, and phone calls; however, they can only contact you by phone between the hours of 8 am and 9 pm.
Debt collectors must send a validation notice five days after contact to explain how much is owed and to whom. They must also indicate that you have 30 days to dispute the claim and what steps to take.
The law covers household debts such as credit card debt, medical bills, student loans, and mortgages. It does not apply to individuals trying to collect a personal debt. For example, the local grocer is not governed by the FDCPA if trying to collect money that you owe.
Know Your Options
When contacted regarding a debt, you need to verify the debt. You should receive a validation letter that documents the amount owed, the original creditor, and the debt collection agency. Some debt collectors may contact you by phone or text message.
If you do not receive a validation letter within five days of the contact, the debt collector has failed to meet the provisions of the FDCPA. No further action is required unless you want to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or the Consumer Financial Protection Board (CFPB.
Since many collection agencies will make their initial contact in writing, you should review the letter upon receipt. If you have questions or disagree with the debt, you can send a verification request. In most cases, you should make a verification request to ensure you are working with a legitimate debt collector. Never provide personal or payment information over the phone.
Who to Contact When Illegal Practices Are Committed by Debt Collectors Against You?
Even with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act in place, some collection agencies will find ways in applying pressure to debtors so they can collect. If you feel that you are being harassed, you may contact the CFPB or Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Below are their contact details:
|Company||Consumer Financial Protection Bureau|
|Mailing Address||Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
PO Box 27170
Washington, DC 20038
|Phone Number||(855) 411-2372|
|Email or Contact Form||Ask CFPB|
How to Respond to a Debt Collection Letter Yourself
After receiving a validation letter, you need to file a verification request. This request confirms the legitimacy of the debt collector and the debt.
Verification letters request the following information:
- Documentation indicating that the debtor agreed to pay the stated debt.
- Proof that the creditor has given the agency the authority to collect the debt.
- Name and address of the creditor.
- Accounting record of debt.
Other information such as the date of debit and when it became delinquent can be included in the letter. As part of the letter, you should indicate that this is not a refusal to pay but a verification request as provided under the FDCPA.
After receiving the verification response, your resolution options include:
- Contacting the debt collector to arrange payment.
- Requesting that the entity stops contacting you.
- Stipulating when the collection agency can contact you or your attorney.
- Informing the debt collector that the debt is not yours.
You can file a complaint with the FTC or CFPB at any time if you feel the debt collector has violated the FDCPA regulations.
How to Respond Using DoNotPay
If you're dealing with a debt collection agency, DoNotPay can help. Its online services can guide you through the process of resolving debt collection with the following three steps.
- Search "debt collection" on DoNotPay.
- Answer a series of questions about the debt collectors, including when you were contacted and how you were contacted, so we can determine if they have violated any debt collection laws.
- Decide which course of action you want to take based on our guidance, such as filing a debt verification request, demanding for the collectors to stop contacting you, or reporting them to the CFPB.
Once you've decided, DoNotPay takes care of the rest. We'll deliver the request to debt collectors or file a complaint. You can also check out our other credit products, including Credit Limit Increase and Clean Credit Report!
Why Use DoNotPay?
Dealing with debt collectors is never fun; in fact, it can be extremely frustrating. With DoNotPay, you'll find services that are:
- Stress-Free. Whether it's disputing a credit card transaction or buying a pet license, DoNotPay's online service can do it for you. Just a few quick steps, and your work is done.
- Convenient. DoNotPay's services are available anytime, anywhere. You control when and where you want to use the service.
- Fast. How long does it take to answer a few questions? Five minutes? Ten? With DoNotPay, you provide the information, and they do the work.
DoNotPay Can Help You Solve Issues Across Different Debt Collection Companies
When it comes to dealing with debt collectors, DoNotPay can answer questions such as:
- Can debt collectors take a stimulus check?
- How long can debt collectors try to collect a debt?
- How frequently do debt collectors take legal action?
The online service can help when a debt collecting agency such as when ERC contacts you, or you have medical debts turned over to collections.
What Else Can DoNotPay Do?
Aside from assisting with debt collection issues, DoNotPay can help you with any of the following tasks:
- Increase credit limit
- Clean credit report
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And so much more! Why struggle with all these stressful problems when you can let DoNotPay deal with all of it for you. Subscribe now for less stress and more time in your hands.