When debt collectors try to collect debt that you don’t owe

By on April 2nd, 2014 in Industry Insights
TrueAccord Blog


One day, you may receive a letter or call trying to collect money that you don’t owe. There are many reasons for wrong collection attempts. You may have a common name shared by many people, or live at an address where a debtor used to live. You may be a victim of identity fraud. You may also indeed owe something you weren’t aware of. Either way, it can hurt you if you don’t deal with it.

Disputing with TrueAccord

If you don’t believe the owe this debt, dispute it immediately. With TrueAccord, you can click the “Dispute” link in emails or on landing pages, and tell us your story. We don’t want to chase the wrong person, either. Use our low friction process to file a dispute, and we’ll pause collection efforts as we verify your claim. If everything checks out, you’ll be off the hook in a few days.

Disputing with Debt Collection agencies

TrueAccord’s process is not the standard in debt collection. First of all, you only have 30 days from getting the first message to dispute the debt, or it will be considered valid. You also have to do so via certified mail, because collectors don’t have an online interface to let you dispute easily, and you must make sure your message was received.

Don’t pay to make them go away! Any promise and especially any partial payment you make may be considered acknowledgement of debt. Don’t tell collectors to stop contacting you, either – you may just find the debt on your credit report. We want to prevent that.

Instead of paying, immediately mail a standard dispute letter – the CFPB versions are great. Whenever you get a call from collectors, let them know that you’re disputing the debt. Don’t engage – wait for debt validation.

After initial Debt Validation

Many collectors will stop once you dispute your debt, especially if it is for a low amount. Others will send you more details about your alleged debt. This is the time for you to read carefully, and be 100% convinced that you don’t owe it. Don’t pretend to not owe – false reporting will be costly if the case ever goes to court. Be absolutely sure and be ready to prove it.

If you are certain, mail the agency again and let them know that the debt is still disputed. Make sure that the letter includes a demand to report to all subsequent collectors and reporting agencies that this debt is disputed, as this marking places limitations on what can be done with your information.

If all of this doesn’t help, that would be time to get a lawyer to defend you from the debt collection process.

Bottom line

Debt collection is stressful, and disputing a debt you don’t owe is often more difficult than it should be. Keep calm, understand the details of the debt, and act according to the process laid out by regulation so you’re covered. If you have any questions, email us at support@trueaccord.com and we’ll try to help!