Debt Dispute Letter #1 (Initial)

Collectors are calling about a debt that you believe belongs to someone else or the amount they claim you owe is wrong.

Use this letter when collectors call demanding money for a debt that may not be yours, that you honestly cannot remember, or that you believe is the wrong amount. According to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), you have the right to dispute ANY debt. However, if you wish to dispute a debt, it is in your best interest to do so in writing.

Here is just one example where this letter would be appropriate.

Even though you’ve tried several times to explain why you do not believe a particular debt is yours, the collector continues to ignore your explanation and demand payment! These conversations quickly deteriorate into verbal harassment and abuse. Use this letter to stop calls and abuse.

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Initial Debt Collection Dispute Letter

Today’s Date

Your Name
Your Address

Collector’s Name
Collector’s Address

Dear {insert name of collector or company},

I am writing in response to your (letter or phone call) dated {insert date}, (copy enclosed) because I do not believe I owe what you say I owe.

Your letter (or phone call) is the first I’ve heard from you or any other company on this matter, therefore, per the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Section 809(b): Validating Debts:

(b) If the consumer notifies the debt collector in writing within the thirty days described in subsection (a) that the debt, or any portion thereof, is disputed, or that the consumer requests the name and address of the original creditor, the debt collector shall cease collection of the debt, or any disputed portion thereof, until the debt collector obtains verification of the debt or any copy of a judgment, or the name and address of the original creditor, and a copy of such verification or judgment, or name and address of the original creditor, is mailed to the consumer by the debt collector.

I respectfully request that you provide me with the following information:

  • (1) the amount of the debt;
  • (2) the name of the creditor to whom you say I owe the debt;
  • (3) Provide a verification or copy of any judgment (if applicable);
  • (4) Proof that you are licensed to collect debts in (insert name of your state)

Be advised that I am fully aware of my rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act.  For instance, I know that:

  • because I have disputed this debt in writing within 30 days of receipt of your dunning notice, you must obtain verification of the debt or a copy of the judgment against me and mail these items to me at your expense;
  • you cannot add interest or fees except those allowed by the original contract or state law.
  • you do not have to respond to this dispute but if you do, any attempt to collect this debt without validating it, violates the FDCPA;

Also, be advised that I am keeping very accurate records of all correspondence from you and your company, including recording all phone calls, and I will not hesitate to report violations of the law to my State Attorney General, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Better Business Bureau.

I have disputed this debt; therefore, until validated, you know your information concerning this debt is inaccurate.  Thus, if you have already reported this debt to any credit-reporting agency (CRA) or Credit Bureau (CB) then, you must immediately inform them of my dispute with this debt.  You should know that reporting information that you know to be inaccurate or failing to report information correctly violates the Fair Credit Reporting Act § 1681s-2.  Should you pursue a judgment without validating this debt, I will inform the judge and request the case be dismissed based on your failure to comply with the FDCPA.

Finally, if you do not own this debt, I demand that you immediately send a copy of this dispute letter to the original creditor, so they are also aware of my dispute with this debt.


Signature here
Your Printed Name

IMPORTANT: Always send debt collection dispute letters by “official mail – return receipt requested” and keep a copy for your records. Also, recognize that the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act does not require collectors to respond to your dispute unless they intend to take specific actions such as pursuing court actions (see bullet seven in the letter above).

Finally, don’t be surprised if you never hear from the collector because when collectors cannot verify a debt, they usually drop the account or sell it to another collector.

If you’ve already sent an initial debt dispute letter and have not heard from the collector, consider using this follow up Debt collection dispute letter to be sure.