What rules do collection agencies have to follow and what are my rights?

2. Find out what a written notice must include

The law says that in most cases a must send you a written notice before they contact you to repay the debt.

Written notice can be sent by mail or email. But if you tell the collection agency you don't want to receive emails and give them your address, they must send you the written notice by mail.

The notice must include things like:

  • the name of the person or business who says you owe them money, also called the
  • the type of debt you owe, for example, a card debt or unpaid loan
  • the amount you orginally owed and the amount your currently owe, if different
  • a statement that the collection agency will give you a breakdown of how much you owe if you ask for it
  • the name and contact information of the collection agency

If someone contacts you without sending a written notice, they might not be a real collection agency. See Step 1.

Don't give any money or until you get a written notice. And even if you get a written notice, make sure the company is who they say they are.

For example, you can look for information about the company online or in the phone book. Then, call to see if they've been hired to collect your debt and if the person who called you works for them.

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