Comment On FDCPA dispute letter — should I list account number?

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Here is another question from our viewers on our YouTube channel. We hope this will be helpful to you.

"on a FDCPA dispute letter: should I list account number?"Let’s dive in!

Louise asks:

Are you saying is good to change account number when sending in letter or it isn’t good ???

This comment was left under a video we did on how we prefer our clients to do dispute letters to debt collectors.

This could be a situation where you’re responding to them 6 months later, which would put you outside of what’s called the 1692(g) verification period. Or you may even be within the 30 day time period that the debt collector gives you to respond.

It doesn’t really matter, because you can send a dispute letter at any time.

Louise’s question is in response to the advice we give consumers, which is that we avoid putting account numbers in our dispute letters.

Instead we suggest saying, “I dispute owing your company any debts.”

Why do we recommend doing this?

I’ve sent many of these letter in the past, and I’ve had times where I put the incorrect account number in the letter. The account number could be 1234, and I put 1432.

I’ve also had both potential clients and clients make the same mistake as myself.

Then the debt collector says, “Well, we don’t have that account, we have account 1234.”

Now, when they do that they’re getting a little too cute, but they still do it.

Disputing with the debt collector has implications for your credit report, which is why we recommend saying “any,” and, “all debt” in your letter. In addition, you can ask the collection company to send proof of any debt in writing for you to look at.

Or, if you have information that you can use in your dispute, add it to the letter. If you know that you’ve already paid your debt, send them a dispute letter letting them know and add the check number and amount for that payment.

Whether you’re within the correct time limit or not, sending that letter puts a psychological pressure on the debt collector. If you ask for information, they neglect to give it to you, and it turns out that you don’t know the debt in litigation, it’s a problem for them.

Another reason we recommend writing dispute letters this way is to avoid the collector’s other attempts to collect on you.

Let’s say that you put the right account number in your dispute letter, and you send it off to the collector.

The debt collector could have another account number on you the same day you send that dispute letter, and they will try to collect on that.

Letting the debt collector know you dispute any and all debt simplifies your life. 

Now, if you’re sending a dispute to the credit bureaus, you typically need to go into more detail with your dispute. In a dispute letter to the credit bureau, you may need to let them know that it’s a dispute about a debt with the collector who’s contacting you. You may even need to include the account number, or the balance of the debt.

With debt collectors, they should know what they have on you. Credit bureaus may need more information, though. 

Now, if you’re someone that always puts the right account number, you are welcome to put it in the dispute letter. We recommend, though, that after the account number, you add, “…and any other accounts that you claim I owe.”

We hope this is helpful to you!

We want you to think about this, because sometimes consumers will have legitimate disputes with the debt collectors, but one step in the process doesn’t happen correctly and it ends poorly for the consumer.

Maybe the consumer forgot to send the letters by certified mail, and the collector says they never got the consumer’s letters. Without the certified mail receipt, the consumer can’t prove they sent the dispute letter.

Or maybe a consumer puts the wrong account number, and the collector says, “Well, we didn’t know about that account, we were talking about this other account.”

By clarifying that you dispute all accounts the collector is reporting on, you make the process more simple for yourself. 

In addition, we recommend that you keep a copy of the letter, as well as scanning it into your computer. You can even scan it with your Android or iPhone.

Do whatever you can to keep a record of those dispute letters.

If you have any questions about what we’ve talked about in this article, feel free to get in touch with us!

You can reach us by phone at 1-205-879-2447, or you can fill out a contact form and we will get in touch with you quickly. 

Have a great day!

-John G. Watts

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