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Robert N. Heath, P.A.
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Creditor harassment and disputing or denying a debt

Floridians who are having problems with debt will often be targeted by unscrupulous debt collectors and outright scammers to try and get money from them even if they do not owe what the alleged collector says they do. Some collectors will make claims on debtors that the debtor does not believe he or she owes or would simply like more information about. While having financial challenges can be a fearful time, that does not mean that people who have significant credit card debt should allow themselves to be taken advantage of. Knowing what to do if the debt is not believed to be theirs or they would like more information is vital.

The debtor should send the collector a written request to dispute the debt. There can also be a written request to garner more information about the debt. The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau has letters that a debtor can use as a guide as to what they should say in the letter to the creditor or collector. When sending it, the debtor should keep a copy.

There are certain requirements a debt collector is required to adhere to when a debtor sends a letter requesting information. They must provide the following: the debtor's name; the amount that is owed; that the debtor has the right to dispute the debt and if the dispute is not done within 30 days, the collector functions under the assumption that it is a valid debt; that if the dispute is filed within those 30 days, the collector will provide verification as to its legitimacy; and that if the request of the name and address of the original creditor is requested within 30 days, it must be provided.

Once the debtor receives all the requested information, there will be 30 days to dispute the debt in whole or in part. When it is in dispute, the collector can no longer make contact until the dispute has been decided upon. People who are in heavy credit card debt or other debt should be aware of how they are protected from creditor harassment. Having legal assistance from an attorney who understands the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau and how it protects debtors is also important and can smooth the process immeasurably.

Source: consumerfinance.gov, "What if I believe I do not owe the debt or I want more information about the debt?," accessed on Sept. 12, 2017

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