Let’s say you’re going through your mail and happen upon a letter from a collection agency—yikes! I get it. No one wants to be on the receiving end of one of those correspondences, but if you are, first and foremost, I implore you to read it in its entirety and respond. Doing nothing will not make the debt—or your elevated stress level—go away.
But what if the debt listed is not even yours? You can ignore it then, right? The answer is still no. Please, do not ignore the letter. It would not be in your best interest.
Let me explain.
The initial correspondence you receive from a collection agency should let you know how much you owe, who you owe, the date of service (or purchase) and any other pertinent information regarding that debt. We call this letter the “Debt Validation Letter” because it must also inform you that you have 30 days to dispute the debt.
Technically, you should dispute the debt in writing. But many agencies, A. Alliance included, will work with you, and let you dispute it verbally. (Please check with the agency that holds your debt. Legally, it must be in writing). This would also be the best time to ask for any additional information you may need if you think the debt may be yours, but maybe have question about the date of service, total amount due or things like that.
If the debt is not yours and you do not respond to the “debt validation letter” during the allotted time frame, the collection agency has ‘validated’ the debt and can then assume the debt is yours and begin collection efforts in earnest.
This could include phone calls, additional letters and more importantly, it could (depending on the debt and other factors) be reported to the credit bureaus where it would show up on your credit report.
What if you forgot about it. Can you still dispute it months later? The short answer is yes. However (I bet you saw that coming!) once the allotted time period is over debt collectors are not legally required to respond to your validation request nor do they have to stop collection activities.
Here at A. Alliance, we want to work with consumers and will respond after the validation period is over. If the debt is not yours, or if you have additional questions we will gladly work with you and get answers to all of your questions. However ( there’s that pesky word again) once a debt is listed on your credit report it can take a while to mark it as disputed or have it removed entirely from you report. That’s why you want to reply promptly to a the initial debt validation letter. It’s best to get things resolved before the debt shows up on your credit report and negatively impacts your score.
If you don’t want to deal with the debt validation letter or debt collectors can you just tell them to quit contacting you? Yes, you can. Once you do, all communication will cease. But do you know what will not cease? Other collection activities like reporting the debt to credit bureaus or potential legal action.
Being contacted by a collection agency isn’t fun and many dread contacting the collection agency to either dispute or resolve the debt.
Here at A. Alliance we want to make it as easy as we can for consumers by offering many ways to communicate and resolve the debt. You can write, email, call, fax, and even make a payment through our website. We are currently working on other online solutions that will allow consumers to set up payments arrangements online as well. But until it’s up and running, please reach out to us. Together we can come up with an amicable solution that will work for both you and the creditor. Win-win!
A. Alliance Collection Agency, Inc. is a full service, licensed accounts receivable management and debt collection agency providing highly effective, customized one on one management and recovery solutions for our business partners. Founded in northern Illinois in 2005, we have been proudly improving the bottom-line on behalf of our business partners in and around Chicagoland for over 15 years.