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How to dispute a debt with a debt collector

            Consumers have the right to dispute debts in collection. The best way to dispute a debt is in writing with trackable delivery. Sending a letter via certified mail return receipt requested with the United States Postal Service is the gold standard method.

            First, pull a copy of your credit report.

            Second, carefully review the entries on your credit report. It will look something like this:

            Third, address the letter to the debt collector using the address on the credit report (red box).

            Fourth, include information that will allow the debt collector to identify the account like your name, the account number (blue box), the original creditor (green box) and the balance (purple box).

            Fifth, write a very short letter. A dispute letter should not be fancy. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals wrote, “Aside from invoking the word “dispute,” we struggle to see how a debtor could dispute a debt more clearly than by writing, “the amount you are reporting is not accurate.“”

            Sixth, make a copy of the letter. Put the copy someplace safe. I recommend taking a photo using a phone and then emailing it to yourself so you still have the copy if you lose your phone.

            Seventh, send the letter certified mail return receipt requested at the Post Office. There are two things that need to be attached to the envelope:

Green card for certified mail return receipt requested


Certified mail receipt

            Finally, mail the letter and keep the returned green card. Mailing a letter this way will cost about $7.00.