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Debtor-Creditor Dispute Questionnaire

 

It's never a good thing when debt collectors come calling. If you're drowning in debt, the last thing you want to deal with is collection agencies reminding you that you owe a creditor money. If you're lucky, they'll accept a small payment plan or agree to settle for less than the total amount of the debt.

It's bad enough when you owe the money a bill collector says you owe. It's another issue when someone tries to collect more than you owe. For example, you may have racked up a few thousand dollars in credit card debt.

When the original creditor sells the debt, the balance may double or even triple. Even worse, the creditor may file a debt collection lawsuit and demand you pay attorney fees.

You may also get phone calls from collection companies claiming you owe money to people you've never dealt with. Perhaps you're the victim of identity theft. Maybe someone stole your Social Security number and opened a credit card in your name.

Whatever the reason, you must know how to dispute a debt. When a debt collector contacts you, you can tell them the debt isn't valid. But that rarely stops the collection activity. You will usually have to take extra steps to resolve the issue.

If you don't report the fraudulent debt, the credit reporting agencies will continue to negatively affect your credit report, which will mean your credit score will continue to plummet.

Here, we will discuss some issues you may encounter when disputing a debt. We will also provide you with a basic questionnaire to complete when dealing with a collection agency.

What Will Your Consumer Law Attorney Do?

If a bill collector is contacting you about a debt that you don't believe you owe, there are specific steps you must take. While the law allows you to dispute a debt on your own, it may be a good idea to seek legal advice from a debt collection attorney at some point.

Before your lawyer can help you, they must know your situation. For example, they must understand why you're disputing the debt. There are all sorts of reasons you may do this, including:

  • The amount the debt collector says you owe is much higher than the actual balance
  • You never had an account with the original creditor
  • A debt collector is trying to pursue a debt after the statute of limitations period has passed
  • A collection agency threatens to take legal action or claims it already has a default judgment against you
  • A creditor has placed a garnishment on your wages or bank account
  • A bill collector has violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)
  • You are the victim of an online scam
  • The debt collection company refuses to disclose the type of debt it is collecting
  • A debt collection agency is trying to collect a debt you have already paid
  • You co-signed for a student loan or kind of debt and think the borrower should pay the debt

Sometimes, you aren't trying to dispute a debt but want to work out a payment arrangement with the creditor. For example, you may be on a fixed or low income and can't afford to pay your medical bills in full. Maybe you've exhausted all the self-help resources online and can't fix the problem.

Regardless of why you contact a lawyer for legal services, they'll need specific information from you in your consultation.

What Information Will Your Attorney Need To Dispute a Debt?

At your first meeting with your attorney, you should prepare to give them whatever information you have. Once your lawyer reviews this information, they'll contact the original creditor (or collection agency) and let them know they represent you. Depending on why you're disputing the debt, your attorney will need some background information.

This information includes the following:

INFORMATION ABOUT YOU

Name _______________________________________________________________________________________

Address, including county __________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

Length of time at that address _______ years

Previous address(es) (for last 10 years) __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________

Work telephone numbers __________________ ____________________

Cell/home phone numbers __________________ ____________________

Facsimile number __________________

E-mail address __________________

Web page (if any) __________________

Former name(s) __________________ __________________ __________________ ________

Your position ______________________________

Other litigation you are involved in: _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________

INFORMATION ABOUT WHOEVER IS CAUSING THE PROBLEM

Name ________________________________________________________________

Is your opponent a business? ______________________________________________

Form of your opponent's business (corporation, partnership, sole proprietorship, etc.) ______________________________________________________________________

Place of doing business __________________________________________________

Address, including county _______________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________

Telephone numbers __________________ ____________________

Contact person at the opponent ______________________________________

Other officers or officials of the business: ______________________________ _______________________________ ______________________________ _______________________________ ______________________________ _______________________________

Are you aware of any litigation your opponent is involved in? _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________

Annual sales or income $_________________

What does your opponent or your opponent's business make or do? ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________

INFORMATION ABOUT THE INCIDENT (WHY ARE YOU GOING TO A LAWYER?)

Describe the incident: ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________

How much damages have you suffered? $________________________________

How much have you budgeted for if you have to sue? $___________________________

Are there written documents related to your contracts or agreements with your opponent? _____________________________

Is there any correspondence between you and your opponent? ________________________

Are you aware of any claims your opponent may have against you? If so, please explain: ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________

What outcome do you want from seeing the lawyer? Do you just need someone to stop bothering you about an unfair debt, for example, or do you need to recover money? ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________

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