If you've been called by a debt collector and aren't sure what to do, the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has provided five sample letters to help defend yourself against deceptive or abusive debt collection practices.
Use these outlines to get information and documentation on a debt, dispute a supposed debt, restrict calls or to stop all contact.The letters are part of a larger effort by the agency to stem abuses of the public by the debt collection industry.
- Show my why you think I owe this debt . Use this letter after being contacted about a debt that you're not sure is still owed, or is even yours.
- This is not my debt . This is to dispute a debt that you don't believe is yours, or is still owed.
- How to contact me . Use this to tell collectors how they should and should not communicate with you.
- Talk only to my lawyer . This letter informs collectors that you have legal representation, and tells them how to contact your lawyer.
- Stop contacting me . This tells a collector not to contact you again about a certain debt and to mark it as "disputed" if they send the account to another collector or report it to a credit bureau.
"These letters may help consumers obtain valuable information about claims being made against them or may help consumers protect themselves from inappropriate or unwanted collection activities," the bureau said in a July 10, 2013, statement accompanying the letters' release.
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