How to Use the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Letter
Authored By: Atlanta Legal Aid Society, Inc.
THE FAIR DEBT COLLECTION PRACTICES ACT LETTER
How to use the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act letter
This letter can be used to ask collection agencies to provide you with information concerning their basis for claiming that you owe a debt ("verification of the debt"). Collection agencies typicallypurchase debts from other companies (usually at a discount) and then go after the debtors - the people who owe the debts - to try to get the debtors to pay the full amount they owe on the debt, plus interest, attorney fees and any late fees or penalties. You may also use this letter to ask collection agencies to stop contacting you, your family or neighbors.
This letter only applies to collection agencies, NOT to creditors- the people who directly sold you goods or gave you credit or loaned you money. While the collection agency must stop contacting you, they can still file a lawsuit against you based on the debt. Often on small or disputed debts, the collection agency will not take further action.
Follow these instructions in order to use the letter:
1. Fill in your name and address on the top four lines. If the collection agency does not have your address, you may not want to give it to them. In that case, simply fill in information such as your name and account number so that the collection agency can identify who you are. If you want verification of the debt, but do not want the collection agency to have your address, you may ask a family member or friend if you may use their address.
2. On the fifth line fill in the date.
3. If you are sending the letter by certified mail, write the certified mail number (which is the number at the top of the Certified Mail Receipt) on the appropriate line.
4. On the second set of lines, fill in the name of the collection agency and its address.
5. In the blank in the second sentence of the letter, fill in the name of the person or business the collection agency says you owe. Also fill in the account number if you know it. If you do not know the company that the debt is owed to or the account number, include other information from the letters you have gotten from the collection agency so that the collection agency will know what debt you are talking about.
6. At the end of the letter under "sincerely" sign your name and then print your name below your signature.
7. Write the creditor's name on the line next to "cc:".
8. If you wish, you may want to write a few lines explaining your situation at the bottom of the page. For example, you may want to state your age, and/or the fact that you are disabled and therefore unable to work. If you are living on Social Security and have no other income, you may want to put that in your note. Also, you may want to state that you want to pay the bills you owe, but simply cannot afford to pay them at this time. You are not required to give any reason why you cannot or will not pay the alleged debt, but it could be to your benefit. For example, the collection agent may decide to focus collection efforts on others who have a greater ability to pay.
9. Make three copies of the letter. Send the original to the collection agency; a copy to the creditor; and a copy to:
Federal Trade Commission
60 Forsyth Street, S.W.
Atlanta, GA 30303-2322
Preferably send these letters certified mail, return receipt requested. Keep the third copy of the letter, the Certified Mail receipts, and the green cards (which you should receive back in the mail) for your records.
10. The collection agency should then stop contacting you except to provide information about their basis for claiming that you owe a debt. If they continue to contact you, contact Atlanta Legal Aid Society or Georgia Legal Services Program nearest you. You may also make an online complaint to the Federal Trade Commission at the following address:
This Information is Provided Courtesy of the Senior Legal Hotline,
A Project of the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, Inc.
For More Information, call (404) 657-9915 OR (888) 257-9519
(Your address OR your name at another address)
RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED
Collection Agency Address
I am writing to you to request that you verify a debt as required by the Fair Debt Collection Practice Act. You have contacted me concerning a debt with ____________________ , Account Number : ___________________ and it is that debt that I would like for you to verify. Please send me such verification.
Aside from verification of the debt, I request that you stop communications to me about the debt. The Fair Debt Collection Practice Act, 15 USCA Section 1692c requires that you honor this request.
Apart from sending me verification, please do not send or make any other communication to me regarding this debt. Your cooperation will be appreciated.
(Your name and signature)
cc: (Name of Company)
Federal Trade Commission - Atlanta Regional Office