How to Dispute Your Debt With Creditors and Collectors

Many people get calls regarding the debt they don’t own, but you’ve got some tools up your sleeve to dispute your debt and deal with such creditors. Lyle Solomon from Oak View Law Group breaks down the recourse available to our friends in the USA if you’re being hounded by pushy debt collectors.

When it comes to debt collection, many creditors or collectors force customers to pay debt that is not theirs. It is a growing problem for many Americans who continuously receive calls regarding payday loan debt settlement which they don’t know about. As per the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), debt collectors have certain practices to follow when contacting customers. Here’s what you need to do to dispute your debt with a creditor.

Step-by-step to disputing your debt 

When you get a call from a debt collector or creditor regarding a loan you think you don’t know, you need to take the following steps: 

Step 1: Ask the caller’s information 

The first thing you need to do is determine who is calling you regarding your debt. You need to ask the name of the person, the organization they are working for, contact details, and address. 

Most importantly, it is best not to reveal any personal information or verify any information they ask you about, such as loan amount or bank account. Don’t commit or deny anything, as it can go against you if the debt is genuine. 

Step 2: Get the details in writing

It is best to ask the caller to send through all of the details in writing. You can tell them to send it via post or email. It is much easier to comprehend and get an idea of if the debt is yours or not when you have everything in writing. 

Step 3: Verify with your creditor 

It is imperative to verify if the collector is calling on behalf of your creditor or not. The best way to do this is by contacting your creditor to see if they have hired someone to collect the debt from you. 

You can check with them if they have sold the debt to someone else, and they are now contacting you to recover it. 

Step 4: Dispute the debt 

The most crucial step is to send the caller a debt dispute letter at the address you have. It is best to send the debt dispute letter within 30 days to verify if the debt is yours or not. If you delay it, it gives an excuse to the caller to call you repeatedly for debt collection. 

The main content of the debt letter needs to contain some of the fundamental aspects regarding your debt. You need to ask them to verify the debt by giving you the creditor’s name, the amount you owe, and other evidence to prove the debt is yours. 

If they cannot send you any proof, they need to stop contacting you. A debt dispute letter is an effective way to get the collector of your back. If the collector is a scammer or does not have the relevant documents, you will never hear from them again.

Step 5: Know the statute of limitations 

Once you send the debt dispute letter, the next thing you need to do is find out about the statute of limitations. It differs from state to state, where the minimum can be around three years, and the maximum is 15 years. 

Statute of limitations is the time limit set for a particular debt. If the debt is older than the period set, then the collector cannot contact you regarding the debt. 

Your rights as per FDCPA

As a consumer, the FDCPA gives you certain rights to protect you from such annoying debt collectors. Here are some of the things you need to be aware of: 

  • Debt collectors cannot contact you after 9 PM or before 8 AM.
  • They cannot communicate with or contact your colleagues, employers, friends, family, or neighbors. 
  • Debt collectors cannot abuse, threaten or use profane language on the phone. 
  • If you ask them not to contact you, they must oblige to it and not contact you again. 
  • They cannot impersonate an attorney, federal/state employee, any authority figure or threaten to leak your debt to the public or imprison you for not making any payment.

These are just some of the rights FDCPA gives to a consumer. You can learn more about the steps you can take if the collectors still call you and harass you.

Don’t be bullied by debt collectors 

Debt is something that the majority of people experience in their lifetime. Many choose a payday loan debt settlement program or other debt settlement plans to wipe off their debts as soon as possible. However, this does not mean that your creditors or collectors keep on calling you and disturb you for the money you think you don’t owe. There are laws and processes in place by the Federal government and the agencies to protect you. 

If you are getting disturbed by debt collectors, it is time you send them a debt dispute letter and use your rights as per the FDCPA to deal with them.

Lyle Solomon is a principal attorney for the Oak View Law Group in California, where he specializes in consumer finance. He has also written several articles on financial wellbeing. Connect with him on LinkedIn or tweet him at @lyle_solomon.

Related articles

How to Get Out of Debt
‘Getting out of debt’ is a phrase used often in personal finance. Whether it’s credit card debt, medical debt, or any other kind of debt, ridding yourself of that burden is the first step to securing your financial future. Of course, it’s easier said than done, so here are some tips on how to get out of debt with PocketSmith.
Ten Tips to Protect Yourself From Money Scams and Fraud
Do you have a secure password? And are your devices secure? There are plenty of actions you can take to ensure your money and related data are protected. In the second part of our fraud series, Emma from The Broke Generation shares ten ways you can defend yourself from would-be hackers and scammers.
Home Accounting Software Is the Best Thing for Personal Budgeting
Accountants aren’t just number-lovers deep in spreadsheets. If you handle your household’s finances, you can consider yourself one too! Sam Harith, The Comic Accountant, is an accountant by trade and he explores the benefits of using home accounting software and why PocketSmith is his go-to.