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Disputing the Debt With A Collection Agency

Write the debt collection agency within 30 days of receiving validation— phone calls are not enough—to confirm that its information on the debt is wrong. For example, alert the collector that the amount owed is wrong because it doesn’t include payments you’ve made. Include with your letter copies of any proof that the collector’s information is wrong. 

You can also stop the collector from contacting you during the time you dispute the debt by writing a cease collection letter. Simply write: 

I am disputing this debt. Please cease all further communication in regard to this matter. If you have already reported this debt to the credit reporting agencies, please contact them to report that this debt is disputed and ask them to delete this debt from my credit report. Any further communication beyond what is legally allowed will be a violation of the law. 

In your cease collection letter you should mention any abusive tactics that the collector’s employees have used with you. 

Send your cease collection letter to the collection agency and to the original creditor via certified mail, return receipt requested, along with copies of any documents that support your dispute. Keep a copy of the letter for your records. 

After receiving a cease collection letter, a collection agency is only authorized to contact you under limited circumstances, such as to inform you of any legal action the agency intends to take or to respond to any other communications from you. Note that a collection agency may sue you after receiving your cease collection letter. 

If a debt collection agency continues to communicate with you or harass you after you send a cease collection letter, tell the agency it is violating the law and call 311 or visit file a complaint with DCA. You may also be able to take legal action against a collector that persists in trying to collect money. For any legal case, remember to document your contact with the collector. 

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