3. Write a letter to dispute the debt

A collection agency called about a debt I don't owe. What can I do?
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3. Write a letter to dispute the debt

If the collection agency keeps trying to collect the debt after you tell them that you don’t owe the money, send them a letter by registered mail.

Make sure that you do this only if you:

  • know you don’t owe the money, and
  • have tried other ways to fix the problem.

In the letter, say that you “dispute the debt” and that you want a court to decide the problem.

Keep a copy of any letters you send and always put the date on them.

Contact from the collection agency

Once you send the registered letter, the collection agency can’t contact you about that debt, unless you tell them that it’s okay to do this.

But the law says that the collection agency must contact you before they start legal action against you. And they must do this even if you did not tell them it was okay to contact you.

For example, if the collection agency plans to sue you in Small Claims Court, they must tell you:

  • the reasons why they’re suing you
  • what information they have to support their reasons

While this is going on, the collection agency can try to collect other debts that you owe and have not disputed.

Check your credit report

A few weeks after you send the registered letter to the collection agency, check your credit report to make sure that the debt is removed.

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Ontario Ministry of Government and Consumer Services
Reviewed: August 17, 2018

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