If you have been contacted by a debt collector and do not recognize or agree with the amount they claim you owe, there is action you can take. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act your rights as a consumer are protected, giving you the freedom to ask for validation and dispute the debt. To find out more about how to do so, please see our guide below.
Validation of the Debt
Within 5 days of the collections agency’s first initial contact with you, they are required to provide you your rights to validation of the debt, typically in the form of a letter containing the following information:
- The owed amount
- The current creditor to whom the debt is owed
- A statement giving you notice about the 30-day timeline for disputing a debt
- A statement that if you choose to dispute the debt they will send you a verification letter
- A statement that they will provide the original creditor’s name and address if requested within 30 days of receipt
If you do not believe the account is yours or agree with the amount presented for any reason, you may formally dispute the debt by sending a written letter to the collection agency.
Disputing the Debt
To dispute the debt in question, you must send a written letter of dispute to the collection agency that is contacting you. As soon as they receive your letter the collection agency is required to cease all collection efforts until they can provide you with a verification of the debt. If they cannot produce this information, they can no longer legally attempt to collect the debt from you.
*note: if your request is not sent within the initial 30 day period, the debt collector is no longer required to provide validation under the FDCPA.
Letter of Dispute
Your letter should be straightforward and concise. Make it clear that you are seeking to dispute a debt and provide your reasoning why. Any information that can help support your claim should also be included. As an added measure, sending you letter via certified mail will give you the ability to prove the collection agency received your notice should the need arise.
Disputes with ERC
ERC is an ACA International accredited collection agency that works with clients in the telecommunications, utilities, banking, cable and finance industries. If you have been contacted by us about a debt that you do not recognize, you may submit a letter of dispute through our online contact form. We are also available to answer any questions you have about your debt Monday – Saturday 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. Eastern Time at (800-383-5979).