If I dispute a debt that is being collected, can a debt collector still try to collect the debt from me?

Answer: No, if you dispute the debt in writing within 30 days of the initial communication the debt collector must stop all collection activity until it provides the required verification.

Any debt collector who contacts you claiming you owe money 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
  • That you can dispute the debt and that if you don’t dispute the debt within 30 days the debt collector will assume the debt is valid
  • That if you request the name and address of the original creditor within 30 days, if different from the current creditor, the debt collector will provide you that information 

If the debt collector doesn't provide this information when it first contacts you, the debt collector is required to send you a written notice including that information within five days of first contacting you.

Warning: You can lose valuable rights if you don't dispute a debt in writing within 30 days.

The CFPB has 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, stop or limit any further communication, or protect some of your rights. Always keep a copy of your letter for your records.

You have 30 days to dispute a debt or part of a debt within 30 days from when you first receive the required information from the debt collector. Once you dispute the debt, the debt collector can't call or contact you to collect the debt or the disputed part of the debt until the debt collector has provided verification of the debt in writing to you.  Your dispute should be made in writing to ensure that the debt collector has to send you verification of the debt.

If you're having trouble with debt collection, you can submit a complaint with the CFPB online or by calling (855) 411-CFPB (2372).

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