Owen E. Richason IV reports:
"If you receive a collections notice from a debt collection agency and do not believe the debt to be yours or [you believe] the amount to be inaccurate, you may dispute the debt with the collection agency by writing a letter formally declaring that you contest the debt. While this may result in an end to collection attempts, it may possibly amplify them...Verify the debt and the collection agency. Go to each credit reporting agency's...website and navigate to their dispute page and file a dispute request. By federal law, credit bureaus must verify the debt is accurate and send you a confirmation of its validity or remove the item from your credit report. In addition, verify the collection agency is legitimate. According to William E. Lewis, Jr., a credit repair expert, you should verify not only the debt, but [also] the collection agency itself, since there is an increasing trend for fake collection notices. Use the Secretary of State or Division of Corporations website in the state where the collection agency operates to search for the agency. Each state regulates these businesses, and they must be registered to operate legally...Phone the collection agency and ask to speak with a manager or supervisor. Speak with a person who has the authority to make decisions regarding collection accounts. Should the representative be unwilling to transfer your call, politely thank him for his time, note his name and time of call, [and] then end the call. Continue calling back until you can speak with a manager or supervisor. Upon speaking with a supervisor or manager, ask him to send you verification of the debt and notify him you intend to dispute the account...Include the essential elements of the dispute letter. Format the letter [thus]: 1) Your full name and address 2) The collections agency's name and address 3) A request for the amount of the debt claimed to be owed 4) A request for the name of the original creditor 5) A request for the judgment information (if applicable) 6) A request for proof of the company's license. The dispute letter should also include a citation to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act--particularly Section 809(b) and a disclosure that you are keeping records of all communications initiated by the collection agency, advises The Consumerist website. Close the letter with your signature...Send the dispute letter to the collection agency. If the collection agency responds to your dispute letter, it must under federal law provide proof the debt is valid or refrain from further attempts to collect. If the collection agency cannot verify the debt, under federal law it must inform each credit bureau of the inaccuracy...Order your credit report from each credit bureau. If the debt cannot be validated by the collection agency, do not assume the account will not continue to appear on your credit report. Allow at least 60 to 90 days after disputing the account with the credit agency and order a copy of your credit report from Trans Union, Experian, and Equifax to ensure the item is no longer being reported."
Writing and editing can be pretty rigorous processes if you want to do them well, but that's what this page is here for. Check out the latest tips here.