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CREDIT CARD HELP: The basic fundamentals of credit cards

Preventing and handling credit card debt

Debt collection sample letters

By Connie Prater

Credit Card Help
Sample letter found in
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More debt collection stories
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  1. Know your rights: Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
  2. 11 tips for dealing with debt collectors
  3. Debt collection sample letters
  4. Debt collectors' ethics codes 

 

Editor's note: In addition to the letters presented below, you also may wish to coinsider sample letters for dealing with debt collectors created by the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. They were published July 10, 2013.

Debt collectors are limited in what they can do and say by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Often, people in debt can restrict how and when debt collectors can contact them, but to be heard, debtors should assert their rights in writing.

CreditCards.com has assembled sample letters to let debtors state their preferences and make them stick. Select the letter below that best describes your circumstance.

Verification of debt request
This is the first letter a consumer should send if a debt collector calls and asserts a debt is owed. By law, creditors must show you evidence that a debt is owed; until they show it to you, debt collection activity must cease.
PDF, text

Simple cease communication letter
Stops phone calls at home and at work; restricts contacts to U.S. mail. Source: Pioneer Credit Counseling Service
PDF, text

Cease communication, harassment
Demands creditor cease communication and harassment without acknowledging a debt is owed. Source: National Consumer Law Center
Text only; customize to describe the harassment

Cease communication, harassment letter, version 2
Demands creditor cease communication and harassment, acknowledging a debt is owed. Source: "Credit Hell: How to Dig Out of Debt" by Howard Dvorkin
PDF, text

Cease communication, harassment letter for debt that is not yours
Demands that the creditor cease communication and harassment for debt that is not yours, but someone else's
PDF, text

Credit card videos

For more on this topic, check out this video:
Debt collectors now more willing to deal

California cease contact letter
Asserts rights under California and federal law to halt creditor contact, written or oral. Source: "Credit Hell: How to Dig Out of Debt" by Howard Dvorkin
PDF, text

Using the letters
Print it out (PDF) or copy and paste it into a word processing program and customize to your situation.  In every case, you will need to fill in your account number; if you don't have it, obtain it from your credit report. You are entitled to a free credit report each year from each credit bureau. Any letter you send to a creditor should be sent by certified mail.

The letters are provided in simple text (.txt) and PDF formats. Any word processing program can open the text files; to view the PDF formats, you need Adobe Reader (free download).

All letters used with permission.

See related: FTC urges changes to Fair Debt Collection Practices ActStruggling debt collectors to debtors: Let's make a deal, Debt collection goes virtual, Ignoring credit card debt can lead to garnishing wages, State by state bankruptcy map, Tips for those considering bankruptcyBankruptcies up 38 percent in 2007What is debt reaffirmation?, 9 questions to ask before reaffirming a debt    

CREDIT CARD HELP: The basic fundamentals of credit cards


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