Many consumers are unaware that they have powerful rights to dispute third party debt collectors. You may not know that it is possible to dispute a debt. Most creditors want consumers to remain in the dark and use shame tactics to keep people from learning their rights.
When can I dispute a debt in Florida?
- If you feel you are being wrongly charged with the debt and you believe that the debt is not yours;
- If you discover there are discrepancies in the account; or
- You are uncertain about the debt.
Any of the above reasons call for you to dispute the debt with the creditor. A debt collection agency may tell you that you lack the right to dispute the debt or that the time to dispute the debt has elapsed. Well, good news! You can and you should dispute the debt. You are entitled to dispute a debt. Do not allow debt collectors hoodwink you into thinking otherwise.
How to dispute your debt
A debt collector will generally send you a letter demanding that you pay the debt to that agency. The letter should include information regarding your rights to dispute the debt, however, it may not be obvious. Many collection agencies place the information towards the foot of the letter or on the second page. Look for the information regarding your rights to dispute the debt and then take them up on that offer, especially when you believe the debt is incorrect.
This disclaimer means you have the right to request that the debt collector provides you with authentic verification from the original creditor. It is a violation of the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act for a debt collection agency to harass the debtor to pay a disputed debt or to take abusive measures to squeeze money from debtors.
You should dispute such debt within 30 days or inform them it is disputed. The current creditor or collector is under an obligation to furnish the debtor with necessary information about the previous creditor if the ownership of the debt has changed hands.
Send a dispute letter to the collection agency
You need to send your dispute letter to the debt collection agency and include the following information:
You should also include a request for the debt not to be reported to credit agencies before resolution of the dispute or a request to have the debt removed if it has already been reported.
Request such information as the name and contact information of the original creditor, the basis for the debt, the name of the debt collection agency if any, and other relevant details of the account, like dates of previous payments and the amount alleged to be due and owing. The three main credit reporting agencies should be provided with a copy of the dispute letter.
If unfortunately, the matter has already reflected on your credit report before the dispute is resolved, it could negatively impact your credit score. Write a second dispute letter to the credit reporting agencies, reporting the inaccuracy of the information regarding the debt. You should proceed to request that they correct or remove it entirely. The contact information for those agencies is listed below:
The “Big Three” nationwide CRAs (Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian) all allow you to dispute your claim in three different manners: mail, telephone, or online. Their contact information is listed below:
Equifax Information Services LLC P.O. Box 740256 Atlanta, GA 30374 1-800-525-6285 www.equifax.com TransUnion P.O. Box 6790 Fullerton, CA 92834 1-800-680-7289 www.transunion.com Experian P.O. Box 2002 Allen, TX 75013 1-888-397-3742 www.experian.com
It’s always a good idea to access your credit history at www.annualcreditreport.com to determine whether the report has been removed. Contact a consumer protection attorney to follow up with any questions about the best way to dispute a debt in Florida.