There is a way to control how debt collectors communicate with you and at the same time, lay a foundation for a reduced settlement or an “accord and satisfaction” – “payment in full”. If you use the method, and the collector continues to contact you, then they will be in violation of state and federal debt collection laws and their violations = statutory damages in your favor. This method works whether the debt collector is a creditor or a lawyer for the creditor.
Send a letter, certified mail keeping a copy for yourself, controlling the means of communication. In the letter, tell the the creditor:
Dear Sir or Madam:
I received your letter (or telephone message) of (insert date), in which you demand payment on the referenced account. I do not admit that I owe the debt. Even if it was determined that I am responsible for the debt, I cannot make any payment. In my present economic circumstances, I have no income or assets from which to pay. (You may add pertinent information that will prove to the creditor that you do not have any income from which to pay the debt. This may include, for example, the fact that you are living on a Veteran’s Pension, SSI or ADC, and/or the fact that you rent your home and do not have a car.)
I hereby notify you in writing that I dispute the debt. I ask that you cease all communication with me, except to send along copies of all proofs applicable to your claim including a computation of fees, costs, and interest rates applicable. Upon receipt thereof, I will review the information and follow-up with your office to notify you of my further intention.
If you continue to make efforts to communicate with me, other than as directed herein, you will provide the foundation for a lawsuit will subject you to penalties including attorney fees, as provided in the Acts. Furthermore, your communication may also constitute a violation of the Michigan Consumer Protection Act with associated penalties and fees.
This letter will serve as written notice of a legitimate dispute of the debt. A legitimate dispute is a necessary foundation for an accord and satisfaction, which can be a check for less the full amount, tendered as “payment in full“. Please email me for questions about how to tender a check as “payment in full”.