Collection and Charge-Off Account Dispute Letters

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Collections and charge-offs show up on your credit report when an account is so far in arrears — usually after 180 consecutive days of no payments — the original creditor has “charged-off” the account. In some cases, the original creditor may hire a collection agency to attempt to collect all or a portion of the outstanding balance. Other times, collection agencies or investors will “buy” your outstanding balance due from the original creditor for pennies on the dollar and then engage in aggressive efforts to get you to pay all or a portion of the balance.

Collection and charge-off accounts usually require two different dispute methods. The first is the verification dispute method where you are disputing directly with the credit bureau to verify that the information about the account on your credit report is accurate. This dispute method utilizes your rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) where your dispute is sent to the credit bureau first and they (supposedly) forward it along to the original creditor or collection agency for verification.

The second dispute method is called validation, where you send the letter to a collection agency asking them for supporting documentation that validates and confirms they have the legal right to demand payment. This dispute method involves leveraging the protections of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to force the collection agency to provide documentation that the debt is valid. It’s one of the more aggressive techniques against the collection agency. It includes writing dispute letters to the collection agency and if the collection agency is nonresponsive, it requires the threat of filing a lawsuit. To get more information on this dispute method, read our article which discusses debt validation.

IMPORTANT:

  1. Please note that if the account has been written off and sent to a collection agency, don’t dispute late payments but rather follow the dispute process highlighted in the Collection category.
  2. When sending letters to credit bureaus, always include a photocopy of your driver’s license, state-issued ID, or U.S. passport and a copy of your social security card, pay stub, W-2, or a recent utility bill. Only 2 forms of ID are required. As long as you have your name at the close of the letter, there is no requirement that you sign it.
  3. You are NOT required to send proof of identity to creditors and collectors and we do not recommend signing the dispute letter.
  4. Do not copy these letters without making significant modifications. You will need to tailor the wording of each letter to fit your individual situation. These sample letters are meant to give you ideas on how to structure your own credit dispute letters.

1. Collection Verification Letter to Credit Bureaus, round 1

This letter is sent to credit bureaus and requests they verify the information about the collection account. It also requests that the credit bureau remove specific kinds of inquiries and place a promotional suppression on your credit file.

Date

Your Full Name
Address 
City, State, ZIP

SSN: xxx-xx-xxxx | DOB: xx/xx/xxxx

Credit Bureau
Address
City, State, ZIP

To Whom It May Concern:

I’ve just reviewed my credit report and noticed the following inaccurate item(s):

LVNVFUNDG with account number 123456789****
I request that you VERIFY this information and provide me with copies of any documentation associated with your investigation. In the absence of any such verification, I request that this information be immediately removed from the credit file you maintain under my Social Security Number.

NCB with account number 54321**

I request that you VERIFY this information and provide me with copies of any documentation associated with your investigation. In the absence of any such verification, I request that this information be immediately removed from the credit file you maintain under my Social Security Number.

Finally, please remove all non-account holding inquiries over 30 days old and add a promotional suppression to my credit file.

Sincerely,
Your Name

Click for ProTips
1. When communicating late payment issues to credit bureaus, you do not need to create one letter for each account reporting a late payment. Put all of them in one letter.
2. If you have multiple late payments in an account and there are some which have escalated to 60, 90, and 120 days, save those for last. Go first after the 30 day late entries.

2. Collection Verification Letter to Credit Bureaus, round 2

The credit bureaus will usually respond in round 1 with the statement that the account has been verified. This letter demands that the credit bureau provide the method of verification. They have 15 days to respond. We recommend sending this letter by certified mail with signature confirmation.

Date

Your Full Name
Address
City, State, ZIP

SSN: xxx-xx-xxxx | DOB: xx/xx/xxxx

Credit Bureau
Address
City, State, ZIP

To Whom It May Concern:

This letter is in response to your recent claim that the account(s) listed below have been “verified” and that the information they are reporting under my name is accurate.

LVNVFUNDG with account number 123456789****
I previously disputed this account. I don’t agree with the results of your investigation. Please mail me the proof of your investigation or remove the negative information.

NCB with account number 54321**

I previously disputed this account. I don’t agree with the results of your investigation. Please mail me the proof of your investigation or remove the negative information.

Be advised that the description of the procedure used to determine the accuracy and completeness of the information must be provided within fifteen (15) days of the completion of your investigation.

Sincerely,
Your Name

Click for ProTips
1. Note that the required response time is reduced to 15 days. Once this letter goes out, mark your calendar and if you do not receive a response within 20 days (give a few days for mail delivery), then respond with Letter #8.
2. Late Payment, round 1 asks the credit bureau to verify the accuracy of the late payment. This round 2 letter asks the credit bureau to specify the method used to verify the accuracy. While this letter doesn’t usually result in a late payment being removed, it is a necessary step in the dispute process.

3. Collection Verification Letter to Credit Bureaus, round 3

This escalates the dispute language by threatening litigation if the credit bureau does not respond adequately to the prior letter. The credit bureau has 30 days to respond.

Date

Your Full Name
Address
City, State, ZIP

SSN: xxx-xx-xxxx | DOB: xx/xx/xxxx

Credit Bureau
Address
City, State, ZIP

To Whom It May Concern:

This letter is my final communication regarding your claim that the information below has been “verified” and that the information being reported by the furnishers is accurate.

LVNVFUNDG with account number 123456789****
NCB with account number 54321**

I have repeatedly asked for evidence to support your reporting, but you have failed to provide me a copy of valid and viable evidence provided by the above-named furnisher(s).

Furthermore, I have requested your method of verification and you have not complied, which is an additional violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act 611(a)(7).

In the absence of any such documentation, I demand that this information be immediately removed from the credit file you maintain under my Social Security Number.

Should you continue in your non-compliance, the law is very clear as to the civil liability and the remedy available to me for “negligent non-compliance”. I am maintaining a careful record of my communications with you for the purpose of filing a complaint seeking relief and monetary damages under FCRA Sections 616 and 617.

Sincerely,
Your Name

Click for ProTips
1. If you have solid documentation that the late payment was never late, include it with this letter. Most creditors will take your well-documented dispute seriously and will remove the late payment if appropriate.
2. We don’t recommend sending this letter to open accounts if you do not have proper documentation the payment was not late. If the account is in good standing or has been paid in full, the best route would be to send Letter #4 or Letter #5
3. If the account is closed, you can use this letter. But if you have no documentation to overturn the late payment, most creditors will give a very terse response that the late payment has been verified. You have little ability to dispute it beyond that and creditors do not have to provide their method of verification.
If you send this letter to a creditor and they do not respond in 30 days, you can use their non-response in Letter #6to credit bureaus.

4. Collection Letter to Credit Bureaus If No Response or Late Response

If the credit bureau does not respond to your “Collection Verification Letter to Credit Bureaus, round 2” within 15 days of receipt, send this letter informing them of their non-compliance and demanding the collection account be removed.

Date

Your Full Name
Address 
City, State, ZIP

Credit Bureau
Address
City, State, ZIP

To Whom It May Concern:

This letter is a follow-up to my earlier communication about the following item(s) being reported on the credit file listed under my name and Social Security Number:

LVNVFUNDG with account number 123456789****
I requested multiple times that you verify the accuracy of the information reported by this furnisher. You stated the account information was “verified.” I then specifically requested additional information about the Method of Verification used. You are required to respond within 15 days. You FAILED to do so in a timely and responsive manner and are in violation of federal regulations.

Because you are in violation, this account must be removed from my credit file. Please send me an updated credit report with the information removed.

Sincerely,
Your Name

5. Collection Validation Letter to Collection Agency, round 1

This letter is sent after being formally contacted by a collection agency. It states that you have never had a contract with them and demands that you show proof such a contract exists. This is usually done by requesting documentation that they purchased the debt from the original creditor. It also demands that all telephone contact cease and desist.

Date

Your Full Name
Address 
City, State, ZIP

Creditor
Address
City, State, ZIP

To Whom It May Concern:

I am sending this letter to you in response to a collection notice I received from you on (date letter received). A copy is attached to this letter.

Please be advised that this is not a refusal to pay, but a notice sent pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 US Code § 1692g that your claim is disputed and validation is requested. 

I respectfully request that your offices provide me with competent evidence that I have any legal obligation to pay you regarding the following account number(s):

Account Number: xxxxxxxxx

Please provide me with the following:

  1. Agreement with the original creditor that authorizes you to collect on this alleged debt and/or verification that this alleged debt was assigned or sold to you.
  2. The agreement bearing my signature stating that I have agreed to assume the debt
  3. Valid copies of the debt agreement stating the amount of the debt and interest charges
  4. Proof that the Statute of Limitations in (Your State) has not expired
  5. Complete payment history on this account along with an accounting of all additional charges being assessed
  6. Proof that you are licensed to collect in my state; and
  7. Your license numbers and Registered Agent or Agent of Service.

This will also serve as your legal notice under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), to cease all communication with me concerning the alleged debt referenced above. Do not contact me, members of my family, employers, or any other third parties regarding this debt.

This includes all communication by telephone or electronic communications, such as email or texts made by your company, representatives, or agents. If your offices, representatives, or agents attempt communication with me, members of my family, employers, or any other third parties, it will be considered harassment and I will bring this matter before a judge.

All future communications with me MUST be done in writing via USPS and sent to the address noted in this letter.

Your non-compliance with my request will also be construed as an absolute waiver of all claims to enforce the debt against me and your implied agreement to compensate me for court costs and attorney fees if I am forced to bring this matter before a judge.

Sincerely,
Your Name

6. Collection Validation Letter to Collection Agency, round 2

Send this letter when the collection agency does not adequately respond to your previous letter. This includes inadequate documentation or proof that the account allegedly belongs to you or is legally owned by the collection agency.

Date

Your Full Name
Address 
City, State, ZIP

Creditor
Address
City, State, ZIP

To Whom It May Concern:

This is concerning 
Account Number: xxxxxxxxx

. 

I previously sent you a request to validate my debt under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and all I received was a copy of alleged account information. This does not begin to fulfill my information request and your requirement to provide the requested documentation. Your effort is inadequate and does not meet Federal Trade Commission debt validation guidelines.

The FTC has noted that providing a copy of a printout, bill, or alleged account documents does not constitute validation. Mere itemization of what you already have does not accomplish my requested debt validation.

This is my second request. Please provide me with ALL of the following points of information:

  1. Agreement with the original creditor that authorizes you to collect on this alleged debt and/or verification that this alleged debt was assigned or sold to you.
  2. The agreement bearing my signature stating that I have agreed to assume the debt
  3. Valid copies of the debt agreement stating the amount of the debt and interest charges
  4. Proof that the Statute of Limitations in (Your State ) has not expired
  5. Complete payment history on this account along with an accounting of all additional charges being assessed
  6. Proof that you are licensed to collect in my state; and
  7. Your license numbers and Registered Agent or Agent of Service.

Your non-compliance with my request will also be construed as an absolute waiver of all claims to enforce the debt against me and your implied agreement to compensate me for court costs and attorney fees if I am forced to bring this matter before a judge.

I notice that you are still reporting this collection on my credit report, which is considered to be a collection activity. You are now in violation of the FCPDA, and are now subject to fines of $1000, plus actual damages and attorney’s fees, which I may collect from you by bringing this issue before a judge.

I intend to take all legal steps available to me if I do not hear back from you.

Sincerely,
Your Name

Click for ProTips
This dispute attempts to gain leverage over the creditor by appealing to the credit bureau with well-documented letters and dates of previous attempts to have your late payment verified. In some cases, you may choose to send this letter every thirty days for several consecutive months.

7. Collection Validation Non-Response Letter to Credit Bureau

After sending “Collection Validation Non-Response Letter to Debt Collector” noted above, include a copy of that letter along with this one and send it to the credit bureau.

Date

Your Full Name
Address 
City, State, ZIP

SSN: xxx-xx-xxxx | DOB: xx/xx/xxxx

Credit Bureau
Address
City, State, ZIP

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing to dispute the account referenced below.

FIRST PREMIER with account number 123456789102****

I have contacted the collection agency myself and have been unable to get them to verify that this is indeed my debt.

I have enclosed copies of my requests to the collection agency, asking them to validate my debts, and the receipts showing that I sent these letters certified signature request. I was provided no evidence of validation and/or my obligation to pay this debt to this collection agency.

The FCRA requires you to provide verification of disputed accounts within 30 days. If the verification cannot be correctly and lawfully completed, you are required by law to remove the disputed item.

I demand that you VERIFY this information and provide me with copies of any documentation associated with any disputed account bearing my signature. In the absence of any such documentation bearing my signature, I demand that this information be immediately removed from the credit file you maintain under my Social Security Number.

Should you continue in your non-compliance, the law is very clear as to the civil liability and the remedy available to me for “negligent non-compliance”. I am maintaining a careful record of my communications with you for the purpose of filing a complaint seeking relief and monetary damages under FCRA Sections 616 and 617.

Sincerely,
Your Name

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