How to fight a debt-collection letter

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Also, never forget your #1 weapon: if you say, “please stop calling,” they must stop. The penalties for violating this are really stiff. Of course it doesn’t make your debt go away, just the phone calls.

EDIT: **in the USA.

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Are you sure about that? I thought debt collectors got into a loophole on that one? If they don’t, and you get the penalties for the violating phone calls, it could make the debt go away. (So nice of those debt collectors to give you enough money to cover the debt…)

You’re thinking of the Do Not Call list, and yes a debt is an exception to that. I’m referring to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, an elegant weapon for a more civilized age.


I’ve had two different cases of some debt collector claiming that I owed money on a Dish TV account. In both cases, the perp was someone who used my name and SSN and their address to obtain fraudulent service for a few months. Dish knew that it was bogus, but sold the debt to the collector anyways. Assholes.

I even took the time to grill Dish TV on their shoddy screening procedures. They said they do it this way to make it easier for people who are moving.


I have dealt with both real and bogus collections.This article is pretty solid.

If you don’t want them to call send it to them in writing. A verbal request usually does not work. Just remember if you decide you need to call them and talk them later they may ask you to waive/cancel your written request.

I go to the The Association of Credit and Collection Professionals website and look the company up. Fax the “Do not call” letter to the compliance officer listed, save a record of the fax, send it out regular mail. Usually gets processed in 24 hours.

If you have evidence this collection is false that is who you to send it too also. Fax and then send with tracking… certified not necessary.

If they are calling you, you probably want to check your credit report for either negative accounts or recent inquiries also so can you avoid getting it on your credit report.

Don’t go with all the hype in the letter templates out there. They know the FCRA so it’s kind of ridiculous to cite the whole act in the letter.

The new Consumer Financial Protect Bureau can also help if you are not seeing a resolve.


I thought the reason why you don’t talk on the phone is: [subject to state law] they’re very likely taping you. So they’ll have a record of anything you say, but you (probably) aren’t recording them.

The two big things that surprised me was:

  • Never apologize-- you’re right away conceding that the debt is valid and collectible. You’ve just lost.

  • If you’re disputing the debt, never make any payment-- They will often to guilt you into making a small token payment which triggers your liability for the whole amount. This is very different from a settlement.

Ben Kenobi knew how to handle debt collectors.


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