What if I believe I do not owe the debt or I want proof of the debt?
Answer: If you believe you do not owe the debt, or want to verify that it's your debt, send a written request to the debt collector and ask it to verify the debt. We also have sample letters you can use to respond to a debt collector.
Tip: The CFPB has prepared sample letters you can use to respond to a debt collector who is trying to collect a debt along with tips on how to use them. The sample letters may help you to get information, set ground rules about any further communication, or protect some of your rights.
Keep proof that you sent your letter asking the debt collector to verify the debt.
Any debt collector who contacts you claiming you owe payment on a debt is required by law to tell you certain information about the debt. That information must include:
- The name of the creditor
- The amount owed
- How you can dispute the debt or seek verification of the debt
If the debt collector doesn't provide that information in the first contact with you, it is required to send you a written notice including that information within five days after contacting you.
If you dispute a debt (or part of a debt) within 30 days of when you receive the required information from the debt collector, the debt collector can't call or contact you until after your dispute has been investigated and the debt collector has provided the proof of the debt in writing to you.
You can also request that the debt collector give you the name and address of the original creditor. If you make that request in writing within 30 days, the debt collector has to stop all debt collection activities until it provides you that information.
Make sure your letter is dated. Then make a copy of your letter and send the original to the debt collector. It’s generally a good idea to send the letter by certified mail. If you pay for a “return receipt,” you also will have proof the debt collector received your letter. You can also send it with a fax machine, just be sure to keep the confirmation receipt.
If you're having trouble with debt collection, you can submit a complaint with the CFPB online or by calling (855) 411-CFPB (2372).