Your own “drop-dead” letter for wayward collection agencies
All those notices. All the threats. If you don’t owe the debt, this format letter will help you shut them down once and for all.
Just because you receive a collection letter doesn’t mean you necessarily owe that debt. Unscrupulous collection agencies often take a “scatter-shot” approach to collections when they’re having trouble locating a debtor. They’ll send that collection letter to every person they can find with that same name, hoping someone bites and pays up.
There are also scammers posing as collection agencies, hoping to scare consumers into paying them phantom debts. “One of the largest scams occurring in the Mid-South is companies trying to collect debts that are bogus or not owed,” said Kevin Snider, founding attorney and certified fraud examiner of Snider & Horner PLLC, your #WiseChoice for an attorney.
That’s why Snider and several of my consumer credit sources crafted a “drop-dead collection agency” template. Consumers who truly do not owe the debt alleged by a collection agency can use the format letter to invoke federal law and put the agency on legal notice to cease and desist all further contact with them.
All you have to do is fill in the blanks:
(NAME OF AGENCY)
(ADDRESS OF AGENCY)
(CITY, STATE, ZIP CODE)
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:
Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq., this letter serves notice that you CEASE & DESIST any further contact with me in regards to the billing of (ACCOUNT NUMBER).
I do not owe the debt in connection with that account. Let it be understood that any further contact from you regarding this account will result in legal action.
(YOUR NAME … INCLUDE SIGNATURE ABOVE)
“Under federal law, the agency cannot contact you anymore if you send them this letter and you don’t owe the debt,” Snider said. “If the agency does continue to harass you, it will be subject to civil action and penalties.”
If you receive a collection agency phone call instead of a letter, insist that the caller send you a written notice of the alleged debt. Demand the agency’s address — a physical location. If the caller can’t or won’t provide either, it’s a scam. Period.
If the caller does send a notice with a return address — and you do not owe the debt — use this template. Fill in the blanks, then send the letter certified mail, return receipt requested. That way, you can confirm the agency received your “drop dead” notice.
“Don’t ignore the demands (of any collection letter),” advised Snider. “Instead, protect your legal rights and respond with this letter.”
Remember, this letter only works if you truly do not owe the debt. The burden of proof is on the agency, but you better be sure it’s made a mistake.
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