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How to Negotiate a Settlement with a Debt Collector

Debt Collection & Payday Loans

This article provides information on how to reply to a debt collector.

This information is reproduced from content by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

How to Reply to a Debt Collector

When contacted, find out the following:

  • The Identity of the debt collector, including name, address, and phone number

  • The amount of the debt, including any fees such as interest or collection costs

  • What the debt is for and when the debt was incurred 

  • The name of the original creditor 

  • Information about whether you or someone else may owe the debt

When a debt collector first contacts you in writing regarding a debt, it must provide you a written notice that has certain, legally-required information.

If the collection agency first contacts you by phone, insist that they contact you in writing. Do not give personal or financial information to the caller until you have confirmed it is a legitimate debt collector.

See also Debt Collection by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Sample Letter to Debt Collector

[Your name]
[Your return address] [Date]


[Debt collector name] [Debt collector address]
Re:  [Account number for the debt, if you have it]


Dear [Debt collector name],

I am responding to your contact about collecting a debt. You contacted me by [phone/mail], on [date] and identified the debt as [any information they gave you about the debt]. I do not have any responsibility for the debt you’re trying to collect. If you have good reason to believe that I am responsible for this debt, mail me the documents that make you believe that. Stop all other communication with me and with this address, and record that I dispute having any obligation for this debt. If you stop your collection of this debt, and forward or return it to another company, please indicate to them that it is disputed. If you report it to a credit bureau (or have already done so), also report that the debt is disputed.

Thank you for your cooperation. Sincerely,

[Your name]

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