Are they going after the wrong person, or is their information about the debt incorrect?
Sometimes you are billed for money you do not owe. Sometimes you are not the person who owes the debt. Unfortunately, even if you settle the problem with the creditor and the credit reporting agencies, negative information may remain on the Internet. There are companies that will, for a fee, help you avoid having negative entries appear when people search for your name.
If the debt is in the hands of a collection agency, the first thing to do is get them off your back. I do not think you should deal with the collection agency.
Send a letter!
Send them the letter below. You can copy it here and paste it into your word processor to fill in the necessary details.
Keep a copy and send it certified mail, return receipt requested. This will cost a few dollars but in most cases it will work.
And if it does not, the collection agency is very likely to be in violation of federal law.
BY CERTIFIED MAIL
TO: [[ name and address of collection agency ]]
FROM: [[ your name and address ]]
RE ACCOUNT NUMBER: [[ account number if relevant. It should be on any letter you have received from collection agency ]]
BALANCE DUE: [[ amount ]]
You are herby notified, under provisions of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act [15 USC 1692c], that you must cease and desist all communications with me after being notified in writing that I no longer wish to communicate with you. Therefore I demand that you stop calling me at home, at work, on my cell phone or any other location.
In accordance with the federal FDCPA, now that you have received this letter, you may contact me only to inform me that you are terminating further collection efforts; invoking specified remedies which are ordinarily invoked by you or your company; or you intend to invoke a specified remedy.
1. You and your organization must CEASE AND DESIST all attempts to collect the above debt. Failure to comply with this law will result in my immediate filing of a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and the Attorney General of [[insert name of your state]].
2. Let this letter also serve as your warning that I may utilize telephone recording devices in order to document any conversations that we may have in the future.
3. Furthermore, if any negative information is placed on my credit bureau reports by your agency after receipt of this notice, I intend to pursue any and all remedies available to me by law by means of civil suits against you and your organization, both personally and corporately.
Since is it my policy neither to recognize nor deal with collection agencies, I will discuss this account only with the original creditor.
THIS DEBT IS UNDER DISPUTE.
[[ your name and signature]]
This should stop all contact with the collection agency. The only things they can legally do are tell you that they will no longer contact you or call you into court. Read the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act . With small debts they will not bother. I have seen a couple of cases where they set up a court date to put some pressure on the debtor but they never bothered to show up, so the case was dismissed.
1) Our focus is on consumers in the United States. For visitors from the UK, ClearDebts UK is a wide ranging site to help consumers become debt free. Although we are not endorsing specific information or services at the site, it is a good option for consumers in the United Kingdom.