When a consumer contacts me about a problem with a debt collector, here is the process I go through with them.
First, I ask them to get a credit report from annualcreditreport.com. This allows consumers to get a free copy of their credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus once per year. Pulling your own credit report does not hurt your credit score. Once you get a copy of your report, save it as a PDF.
Second, I ask them to send me a copy so we can go through it together.
Third, we go through the report entry by entry. Does the consumer recognize each debt? Is the amount accurate? What about date of default (which effects when the debt will fall of a credit report)?
Fourth, I ask them to send me copies of any debt collection letters they have received. Not all debt collectors will appear on a credit report. Consumers should always keep the debt collection letters they receive. Adobe Scan is a great way to get high quality images of documents using a phone.
Fifth, I send out dispute letters to debt collectors. They have 30 days to perform an investigation and respond to me if they are reporting information about a debt to a credit bureau. Sometimes debt collectors will delete their entry on a credit report rather than respond to my letter.
Sixth, I ask the consumer to pull another copy of their credit report after about 45 days.
Last, I advise my clients on their next steps. If the debt collector has violated the law, I will recommend the consumer sue the debt collector to enforce their rights.
I mostly make my living by suing debt collectors on contingency. This is what my usual contract for suing debt collectors looks like.
I don’t charge for sending out dispute letters or reviewing credit reports. I am not a credit repair company.