How much do I really owe the Debt Collector?

Contact from a debt collector is always cause for concern, but not everything the debt collector tells you is fact. Debt collectors often use certain tactics to intimidate consumers, such as threatening IRS reporting or a lawsuit when none is intended. They may also tell you that you owe more than you actually do. If the amount of debt they claim does not sound right, take the following steps.

Review Correspondence

Within five days after the debt collector first contacts you by phone, they must send a letter that details the amount of the debt and the name of the original creditor. Review this letter and ensure that the amount owed and the name of the creditor are accurate.

Dispute Incorrect Information

After you receive this letter, you have 30 days to dispute any inaccuracies. Write to the collector by certified mail with a return receipt.  Enclose documentation that supports your claim, such as proof of payment, account statements or correspondence with the creditor. Request that the collector respond promptly to your dispute in writing.

Request a Validation and Itemization of the Debt

Your letter should request that the collector provide a Validation of the debt which verifies their right to collect the debt.  Secondly, your letter should request the collector provide an itemization of the debt, showing how they’ve calculated the balance claimed.  

The itemization should include the principal amount plus interest and any additional late fees. The collector is prohibited from any further collection activity until he responds to your request with proper validation of the debt claimed to be due.

Seek Free Legal Help

If the collector ignores your dispute or continues to try to collect based on inaccurate information, contact a debt collection lawyer to discuss your options.

Flitter Milz is a nationally recognized consumer protection law firm that represents victims of a debt collector’s abusive tactics.  Contact Us for a free legal evaluation.