Sample Credit Letters for Creditors and Debt Collectors
When you have a complaint or dispute with a creditor, lender, credit bureau, or debt collector, it's best to communicate in writing. Many disputes are time sensitive and a letter, especially when sent via certified mail with a return receipt request, gives you a timestamp to track the business' response time. In some cases (as with a credit card billing error dispute), you must send a letter to protect your rights.
You have the right to an accurate credit report. If you find an error on your credit report, for example, an account that doesn't belong to you, send a dispute letter to the bureau who provided that credit report. The credit bureau has to investigate and let you know the result within 30 to 45 days.
A cease and desist letter will stop calls from debt collectors.The letter informs the collector that you no longer wish to be contacted. You don't have to admit to anything or promise to pay later (you probably shouldn't do either of these anyway), just state that you want to contact to end.
The cease and desist letter only applies to a specific debt collector, so you will have to send another one if a new collector takes over that debt or you have debts with multiple debt collectors. You can also use a cease and desist letter to stop wrong number collection calls.
Within the first 30 days of being contacted by a debt collector, you can dispute the validity of the debt and request the collector send you proof that the debt is actually yours. Once the debt collector receives your written validation request, they have to cease collection efforts until they've provided you with proof of the debt.
You can close a credit card over the phone, but following up with a letter provides confirmation that you requested the account closed at a certain date. The letter might come in handy if there's a future discrepancy over when your account was closed or that you requested your account closed at all.
The statute of limitations doesn't relieve your obligation to pay a debt, and it doesn't stop collectors from trying to get you to pay. (It instead limits the time that debt is legally enforceable.)
Be careful that you don't say anything in your letter that could restart the statute of limitations. Even acknowledging that you owe the debt can restart the clock, giving the collector more time to sue you.
Many people instinctively call their credit card issuer when they spot a billing error. It's a quicker way to get errors cleared up because the credit card issuer can start investigating right away.
But, a written billing error dispute letter is necessary if you want the card issuer to abide by the Fair Credit Billing Act. The law requires creditors to investigate your dispute as long as your letter is sent within a specific timeframe. It also allows you to withhold payment for the disputed amount while the investigation is underway.