The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act states that a debt collector must send the consumer a written notice containing the amount of the debt, name of the creditor and a statement stating they have 30 days to dispute the validity of the debt or the debt will be considered valid by the debt collector. Failure by the consumer to dispute the debt within that 30-day time period is not considered an admission of liability.
Draft a letter to the collection agency that is reporting the debt that appears on your credit report. The address and name of the debt collector can be located on your credit report. There are three credit reporting agencies: Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. Every person has the right to one free credit report yearly. Contact the Annual Credit Report website to obtain yours. Alternatively, each credit reporting agency has credit reports available via their website. You an receive a free credit report if you have been denied credit in the previous 30 days.
State in the letter that you are disputing the validity of the debt and requesting verification of the debt. Include the amount owed as well as the name and address of the original creditor. Verification will include proof that the debt collector has been assigned the debt, copies of the original contract or loan agreement and some form of account statement. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act gives the debt collector 30 days to provide debt verification.
Mail the letter certified mail with a return receipt. This will provide documentation that the debt collector received your letter. In addition, it will act as proof as to when the 30-day debt verification period started.
Report the debt collector to the Federal Trade Commission if you don't receive a response within 30 days. This would be a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. You can submit a complaint via the FTC website under the link for consumer complaint.
Contact each credit reporting agency and dispute the debt. You can do this via their websites. Notify them that you have failed to receive debt verification from the debt collector. Request the item be removed from your credit report. The credit reporting agency will have 30 days to attempt to verify the debt. Failure to verify the debt with the credit reporting agency will result in the record being deleted from your report.
- FTC: Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
- FTC: Bureau of Consumer Protection
- Experian. "What is the Statute of Limitations." Accessed March 31, 2020.
- Federal Trade Commission. "Disputing Errors on Credit Reports." Accessed March 30, 2020.
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "Complaint." Accessed March 30, 2020.
Leigh Thompson began writing in 2007 and specializes in creating content for websites. She has been published online in various capacities. Thompson has an associate degree in information technology from the University of Kansas and is working on a bachelor's degree in business and personal finance.