Free Legal Letters – How to Dispute a Debt

This section is for California residents who wish to educate themselves and borrow ideas from our Free Legal Letters page. Letters sometimes stop harassment, but rarely compensate for the harm done by collectors.

The Free Sample Legal Letters will show you example of letter formats that you can borrow from.

The information on this website by the Consumer Law Office of Robert Stempler, APLC is for general information purposes only. Nothing in this section or associated pages, documents, should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information on this website is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing of this information does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

 

 Letters to Debt Collectors

1.1 Dispute and Verify Debt

Your Name
Current Phone: (###) ###-####
Your Mailing Address
City, CA ZIP Code

Certified mail, return receipt requested

Names of Each Debt Collector Employee Involved
Name of Debt Collection Agency
Address on Agency Letterhead
City, State ZIP Code

RE: File No. ###
Account No. ###
Creditor’s Account No. ###
NOTICE OF DISPUTE AND REQUEST FOR VERIFICATION

To the Management of this Collection Agency and the above-noted employees:

Please show in your records that I dispute this account.  Please verify this account by providing me with copies of the following documents: credit applications, contracts, account statements,  . . . [read the articles for your particular dispute, to get other ideas of documents that might be appropriate].

Your reporting of this account shows a $______ balance has been overdue and is now delinquent since ________ [date].  This is not complete or accurate, because I do not owe this balance, because it is was ________ [use plain-English to describe the truthful reason, such as paid on _____ date, settled in full with _____, not my debt, etc.].  A copy of _______ [describe] showing this is attached [copy both sides of checks, any correspondence, prior bills, etc.]

If you refuse to report this account accurately and completely, then please notify each credit reporting agency that the reported information is disputed by the consumer.

Sincerely,

/sign/

YOUR NAME

 

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1.2 Refusal to Pay

Your Name
Current Phone: (###) ###-####
Your Mailing Address
City, CA ZIP Code

Certified mail, return receipt requested

Names of Each Debt Collector Employee Involved
Name of Debt Collection Agency
Address on Agency Letterhead
City, State ZIP Code
RE: File No. ###
Account No. ###
Creditor’s Account No. ###
NOTICE OF REFUSAL TO PAY

To the Management of this Collection Agency and the above-noted employees:
I refuse to pay this debt.
Sincerely,
/sign/
YOUR NAME

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1.3 Dispute of a Workers Comp Medical Bill

Your Name
Current Phone: (###) ###-####
Your Mailing Address
City, CA ZIP Code

Certified mail, return receipt requested

Names of Each Debt Collector Employee Involved
Name of Debt Collection Agency
Address on Agency Letterhead
City, State ZIP Code

RE: File No. ###
Account No. ###
Medical Provider’s Account No. ###

Workers Compensation Appeals Board Case No. ###
NOTICE OF DISPUTE AND REQUEST FOR VERIFICATION

To the Management of this Collection Agency and the above-noted employees:

I dispute this medical bill, as the medical provider agreed to treat my employment-related injuries and to submit the bills to my employer’s Workers Compensation insurance carrier, accordingly.  (See Perrillo v. Picco & Presley, 157 Cal.App.4th 914,932, 70 Cal.Rptr.3d 29, (2007).)  The California Supreme Court held that a “physician may not sue to recover fees for services rendered to an injured employee.”  (Charles J. Vacanti, M.D., Inc. v. State Comp. Ins. Fund, 24 Cal.4th 800, 815, 102 Cal.Rptr.2d 562 (2001), quoting Bell v. Samaritan Medical Clinic, Inc., 60 Cal.App.3d 486, 490, 131 Cal.Rptr. 582 (1976).)

Please verify this purported debt by providing me with copies of the following documents: credit applications, contracts, claims submitted to my employer’s Workers Compensation insurance carrier, and a complete statement of medical services rendered to me.

Please delete this account with any credit reporting agencies.   If you refuse to delete this account from my credit reports, then please notify each credit reporting agency that I dispute the account and send me written confirmation of this notation.

Sincerely,

/sign/

YOUR NAME

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1.4 Dispute of a Medi-Cal Medical Bill

Your Name
Current Phone: (###) ###-####
Your Mailing Address
City, CA ZIP Code

Certified mail, return receipt requested

Names of Each Debt Collector Employee Involved
Name of Debt Collection Agency
Address on Agency Letterhead
City, State ZIP Code

RE: File No. ###
Account No. ###
Medical Provider’s Account No. ###
NOTICE OF DISPUTE AND REQUEST FOR VERIFICATION

To the Management of this Collection Agency and the above-noted employees:

I dispute this medical bill, as the medical provider accepted assignment under Medi-Cal and had the necessary information to submit the claim for payment.  The California Supreme Court held that “[u]nder federal law, medical service providers must accept the state-approved Medicaid payment as payment-in-full, and may not require that patients pay anything beyond that amount.”  (Olszewski v. Scripps Health, 30 Cal.4th 798, 824-25, 69 P.3d 927, 135 Cal.Rptr.2d 1 (2003), quoting Barney v. Holzer Clinic, Ltd., 110 F.3d 1207, 1210 (6th Cir.1997).)

Please verify this purported debt by providing me with copies of the following documents: credit applications, contracts, claims submitted to the Medi-Cal administrator, and a complete statement of medical services rendered to me.

Please delete this account with any credit reporting agencies.   If you refuse to delete this account from my credit reports, then please notify each credit reporting agency that I dispute the account and send me written confirmation of this notation.

Sincerely,

/sign/

YOUR NAME

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 Letters to Sellers and Creditors

2.1 Billing Correction on Credit Cards

Your Names
Current Phone: (###) ###-####
Your Mailing Address
City, CA ZIP Code

Certified mail, return receipt requested

Name of Financial Entity Holding Credit Card
Financial Entity’s mailing address for billing disputes [if any, check the fine print]
City, State Zip Code

Re: Account Number:
NOTICE OF BILLING ERROR AND DISPUTED ACCOUNT

To the Management and employees involved with billing errors and account disputes:

This letter is a Notice of Billing Error. Please investigate a dispute of the above-noted account, pursuant to the Fair Credit Billing Act , 15 U.S.C. 1666. [Note: to be legally effective, send this letter within 60 days of the date of the bill on which the error first appeared.]

My records show that all payments have been [timely] made to you and the account is current. Your last bill imposed a $_____ charge for ____________ [such as, a late fee or a disputed charge for something that I did not purchase or for more than the agreed price]. Please investigate this account and make appropriate corrections or, in the alternative, send me a written explanation or clarification explaining why you contend the item was correct as billed.

Thank you for your anticipated cooperation and for not reporting this disputed item to any credit reporting agency, until the matter has been resolved.

Sincerely,
/sign/
YOUR NAME

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2.2 Cosigner Dispute of a Car Contract

Your Name
Current Phone: (###) ###-####
Your Mailing Address
City, CA ZIP Code

Certified mail, return receipt requested

General Manager
Name of California Car Dealership Financial Entity Holding Purchase Contract

Dealership’s mailing address

Financial Entity’s mailing address for disputes
City, State Zip Code City, State Zip Code

Re: Contract dated ##/##/#### for a [describe vehicle’s color Year Make Model]

Dispute of Financial Entity’s Account No. #####

To the Management of this car dealer and the contract’s assignee/holder:

As this dealer’s employees know, I merely co-signed this contract for my ______ [non-martial relationship such as, father, mother, daughter, sister, friend, roommate, etc.].  Because the dealer did not give me the required notice to co-signer, I am not obligated on the contract and do not owe you any money.  Thus, stop reporting this account on my credit history, as it is not my debt.

I am told that the vehicle was repossessed, but I have received no notice of that or of how it will be disposed.  Not until _________ [date], was I advised that the contract was in default.

Please send me a copy of: (a) any and all correspondence and notices that you sent me on this account, (b) my credit application, (c) the signed contract, and (d) any notices to co-signer that you contend I received.  If I do not receive a reply within two weeks of your receipt, I shall assume that you refuse my right to these documents under the California Consumer Contract Awareness Act.

Please confirm in writing that you have stopped reporting this account to the credit reporting agencies or explain your justification to believe it should continue to be reported as my lawful debt, when I was merely a co-signer and the required disclosures not given.  I also intend to send a copy of this letter to the credit reporting agencies for reinvestigation.

Sincerely,

/sign/

YOUR NAME

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2.3 Door-to-Door Sales Cancel

Your Name
Current Phone: (###) ###-####
Your Mailing Address
City, CA ZIP Code

Certified mail, return receipt requested

General Manager
Name of Door-to-Door Seller Financial Entity Holding Purchase Contract
Seller’s mailing address

Financial Entity’s mailing address for disputes
City, State Zip Code City, State Zip Code

Re: Contract dated ##/##/#### for a [describe item’s Make and Model]

NOTICE OF RECISSION OF A DOOR-TO-DOOR SALE CONTRACT

To the Management of this Seller and the contract’s assignee/holder:

On ______ [date], representatives of your company came to my home. When I answered the door, I was NOT told that they were selling _______ [item: vacuum cleaners, water filters, satellite dishes, etc.] or the company that they represented. I was instead told that they were _____ [example, giving free house cleaning, from the water company and testing water, making sure my TV was working, whatever]. Furthermore, they said that _______ [example, there was no obligation, this was a free trial period, I could cancel in 30 days, I could call to cancel]. But, when I called to cancel, your telephone representative informed me that _______ [it was too late to cancel, once I signed I could not cancel, the salesperson was not authorized to say it was a free trial, I would have to pay a $____ cancellation fee, the contract has been assigned to a creditor so it is too late, etc.]

Because the sales representative did not give me the disclosures required in a door-to-door solicitation, I am rescinding this contract. Please promptly refund my down payment and all payments made, and arrange to retrieve the goods. Also, you must immediately stop reporting this account to any credit reporting agency.

Please send me a copy of: (a) my credit application and (b) the signed contract, under the California Consumer Contract Awareness Act. Within 30 days, please confirm in writing that you have stopped reporting this account to the credit reporting agencies or explain your justification to believe it should continue to be reported as my lawful debt, after recission. I also intend to send a copy of this letter to the consumer credit reporting agencies, for reinvestigation.

Sincerely,
/sign/
YOUR NAME

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2.4 Spanish Consumer Cancel Letter

Your Names
Current Phone: (###) ###-####
Your Mailing Address
City, CA ZIP Code

Certified mail, return receipt requested

 

General Manager
Name of California Car Dealership Financial Entity Holding Purchase Contract
Dealership’s mailing address

Financial Entity’s mailing address for disputes
City, State Zip Code City, State Zip Code

Re: Contract dated ##/##/#### for a [describe vehicle’s color Year Make Model]

Financial Entity’s Account No. #####

NOTICE OF RECISSION AND FRAUD UNDER CALIFORNIA CIVIL CODE

To the Management of this car dealer and the contract’s assignee/holder:

Someone who can translate has prepared this letter for us to send to you.

We are Spanish-speaking people, who speak almost no English, and are unable to read English. When we were at the dealership and acquired this vehicle, we did not receive a Spanish translation of the contract, and we did not have our own interpreter. The salesperson negotiated with us in Spanish. On _____ [date], we returned the vehicle to the dealer and gave them the keys, intending to cancel the contract.

The dealership also made the following misrepresentations to us, in violation of Cal. Civil Code, Section 1770: _____ [list misstatements, such as being told we were buying the vehicle, but it is a lease contract; we were told the contract interest rate was x% APR, but it is actually x%; the price was $_____ higher than the price we agreed or $______ higher than the window sticker price advertised, etc].

We rescind this contract. Please promptly return our down payment, the value of our trade in vehicle, and all payments paid, pursuant to California Civil Code, Section 1632, and the misrepresentations by the dealer’s personnel, which is fraud and violate the Consumers Legal Remedies Act, Civil Code, Section 1770(a), paragraphs 5, 9, 10, 13, 14, 16, 18, and 19. Do not withhold our payments. Also, the contract should not be reported to any credit reporting agencies, as it is rescinded and no longer our debt. If we do not hear from you within 30 days of your receipt, we will conclude that you will not comply with this letter.

Please send all correspondence and notices to us in Spanish.

Sincerely,

/sign/
YOUR NAME

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2.5 Car Dealer Letter for Misrepresentations

Your Names
Current Phone: (###) ###-####
Your Mailing Address
City, CA ZIP Code

Certified mail, return receipt requested

General Manager
Name of California Car Dealership Financial Entity Holding Purchase Contract
Dealership’s mailing address

Financial Entity’s mailing address for disputes
City, State Zip Code City, State Zip Code

Re: Contract dated ##/##/#### for a [describe vehicle’s color Year Make Model]

Financial Entity’s Account No. #####

NOTICE OF RECISSION AND FRAUD UNDER CALIFORNIA CIVIL CODE

To the Management of this car dealer and the contract’s assignee/holder:

The dealership made the following misrepresentations to us, in violation of Cal. Civil Code, Section 1770: _____ [list misstatements, such as being told we were buying the vehicle, but it is a lease contract; we were told the contract interest rate was x% APR, but it is actually x%; the price was $_____ higher than the price we agreed or $______ higher than the window sticker price advertised, etc].

We rescind this contract. Please promptly return our down payment, the value of our trade in vehicle, and all payments paid, pursuant to the fraud and misrepresentations which violated the Consumers Legal Remedies Act, Civil Code, Section 1770(a), paragraphs 5, 9, 10, 13, 14, 16, 18, and 19. Do not withhold our payments. Also, the contract should not be reported to any credit reporting agencies, as it is rescinded and no longer our debt. If we do not hear from you within 30 days of your receipt, we will conclude that you will not comply with this letter.

Sincerely,

/sign/

YOUR NAME

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 Improper Requests of Credit Report

4.1 Improper Requests of Credit Report

Your Name Current Phone: (###) ###-####
Your Mailing Address
City, CA ZIP Code

Certified mail, return receipt requested

Name of Debt Collection Agency
Address on Agency Letterhead
City, State ZIP Code

Re Access of My Credit Information from ________ [credit bureau, such as Experian, Equifax, and/or Trans Union] in ________ [month and year, as shown on your credit report]

NOTARIZED REQUEST FOR INFORMATION AND DOCUMENTATION

To the Management of this Collection Agency:

I noticed from inquires to my credit report that your company accessed my credit information, on the dates shown above.  I am not aware of owing any debt to you or having applied for credit, employment, or insurance with you around the dates when my credit report was provided to you.

Please respond within 30 days and provide me with the following information:

  1. In connection with what debt/account did you access my credit report?
  2. Who (the name and title of the employee) actually accessed my credit information and who else at your organization then saw my credit information, once accessed?
  3. What did you do with my credit information, where is it stored or how destroyed?
  4. Did you send me any notices related to your access of my credit information or related to any actions by you (if so, please provide me a copy of each letter and notice that you sent me at any time, explaining the actual date it was mailed)?
  5. If you determine that you accessed my credit information by mistake or in error, what assurances can you provide me and what procedures have you initiated to ensure that this does not occur again?
  6. Please send me a copy of all applicable documentation that validates your inquiries, if you believe that you accessed my credit reports for a permitted reason.

Thank you for your prompt response to these questions and requests. Please note in your computer records receipt of this letter.  If you need more time to respond and provide the documents requested, please let me know how much more time you need or the expected date when you expect to send me a full response and documentation.

Sincerely,

YOUR NAME

On this day of ___________ [month and year], before me, personally known to me or provided to me on the basis of satisfactory evidence to be the person whose name is subscribed to the within instrument and acknowledged to me that the person executed the instrument in her/his authorized capacity and that by her/his signature on the instrument the person who executed the instrument.  WITNESS my hand and official seal.

NOTARY PUBLIC

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