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Disputing Debt Collections in Ohio

Have you neglected to pay an old medical bill? Perhaps you lost your job and can’t afford to pay your credit card bills. Maybe you’re receiving harassing phone calls for a debt that’s not yours. If you want to dispute a debt, an Ohio debt dispute lawyer can help.

Many people are unaware of the debt collection process. They automatically think they have to pay what is being demanded or face legal action. It’s important to verify the debt first and then dispute it if you believe it is in error. To learn more about the dispute process and how an experienced Ohio consumer law attorney from Luftman, Heck & Associates can help, contact us at (888) 726-3181 or use our online form to schedule a free, initial consultation.

Should You Dispute a Debt?

Debt collectors are not the same as creditors. Creditors are the ones to whom you actually owe the money. Debt collectors work for creditors and help them collect money owed.

Therefore, when a debt collector – not a creditor – calls you, you should be wary. By rights, you should have received a letter first informing you of the debt. If you never received such a letter and you are suddenly receiving harassing phone calls, you should be concerned.

The first thing you want to do is ask for verification of the debt. You should receive the details of the debt in writing. The debt collector should provide you with the following:

  • Name and address of the creditor
  • Amount owed
  • A statement allowing you to dispute the debt

If you never receive such information, believe the information is false, or do not believe you owe the amount that is being demanded, it’s a good idea to dispute the collection.

Debt Dispute Process

Once you receive the information in writing, you have 30 days to dispute it. Therefore, time is of the essence. It is possible to dispute the debt after that time, but it’s harder to do because you’ll lose out on some of your consumer rights.

Dispute the debt in writing by sending the collection agency a letter. Make sure the letter is sent via certified mail. That way, you have confirmation that the letter was received. While you can dispute the debt over the phone, this will not make the collection efforts cease. Plus, it’s much better to have a paper trail. You can use this as evidence in court if needed.

Once the debt collector receives a letter stating that the debt is not yours, they cannot contact you. However, once they receive evidence that the debt is, in fact, yours, they can start the collection process again.

Save all letters you receive from them. Keep a log of all calls in case the debt collector engages in illegal activities. If you know for a fact that the debt is not yours, you’ll need to provide evidence. Bank statements can prove that the debt was paid. If you believe mistaken identity is to blame, be prepared to show documents verifying your identity, such as your driver’s license, Social Security number, or credit report.

If the debt has been validated and you have not paid it, you can be taken to court. If a lawsuit is filed against you, you must respond to it. If you ignore it, the court could order you to pay additional fees and fines. Additionally, the judge can allow the debt collector to garnish your wages, freeze your accounts, or put a lien on your property. These are situations you want to avoid.

When you receive notice of the lawsuit, read it carefully and make sure you follow the instructions. Make note of any deadlines. While you can do this on your own, it’s helpful to have an attorney help you with this process. Your debt dispute attorney can inform you of your rights and help you negotiate a settlement.

Getting Legal Help – Contact an Ohio Debt Dispute Attorney Today

When it comes to debt disputes, you have rights. It’s always a good idea to verify the debt with the collector. If the debt collector cannot verify the debt, or if you know the debt is not yours, you have the right to dispute it.

Ohio debt collections lawyer, Jeremey Heck, of Luftman, Heck & Associates will help you understand your legal rights and how you can fight back. Remember, many people pose as debt collectors in order to take your money. Don’t fall for this scam.

Whether you truly owe the money or not, it’s best to get legal help first so you’re aware of your next steps. To get started, call Luftman, Heck & Associates at (888) 726-3181 for a free consultation.