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Debt collection

What information does a debt collector have to give me about 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 includes the name of the creditor, the amount owed, and how you can dispute the debt or seek verification of the debt.  If the debt collector doesn’t provide that information in the initial contact with you, the debt collector is required to send you a written notice including that information within five days of the initial contact.

TIP: If you have questions about the information provided to you by a debt collector, request formal verification of the debt in writing.

We have prepared sample letters that a consumer could 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. 

You can dispute the debt or ask for more information if you are unsure you owe money to a creditor, or how much you might owe.

If you dispute a debt (or part of a debt) in writing within 30 days of when you receive the required information from the debt collector, the debt collector cannot call or contact you until after your dispute has been investigated and the debt collector has provided the verification of the debt in writing to you.

You can also request that the creditor 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 the debt collector provides you that information.

When you get the requested information or the response to your dispute from the debt collector, see if you own records agree with the information the debt collector provided. If you don’t recognize the name of the creditor, ask if it might have purchased the debt from another company that first made the loan and, if so, what the name of that company is.

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