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Writing a debt collector? Here's a form letter

It's a relief to pay a long overdue debt. If a collection agency has gotten involved in your case, extricating yourself from the burden can be a bit more complicated.

Although a collection agency has your number, there's still room to negotiate about how much you'll have to pay. It's a tricky proposition, so make sure it's done correctly. Maximizing your credit report's integrity and your sanity, while negating the risk of being hunted down for the rest of the original debt, are among the priorities.

In the karmic sense, you have to pay your debts. On the other hand, if you've gone through a long dry season, putting food on your table has to come first. It's in your best interest to get a good deal, or, to at least find out if the collection agency would be amenable to striking a bargain.

To that end, you can use the following form letter to kick off negotiations. Just copy the body of the letter into a blank document and replace the words in brackets with your personal information.

For added convenience, click here to download an interactive PDF version of the letter. Type your information into the indicated fields, print it out and mail away. Copy the body of the letter into a blank document on your computer and keep the parts you like while adding your own information.


CERTIFIED MAIL - RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED

[Name of collection agency]
[Address of collection agency]
[Address line 2]

RE: Your Client: [name of creditor]
[Account #]

Dear Sir or Madam:

I am writing about my account named above.

I have experienced financial difficulties that affect my ability to pay this debt. I would like to recover control over my financial situation. However, I am unable to pay all of my current debts in full and do not foresee the ability to do so in the future. Therefore, in an effort to resolve all of my debts, I am offering to pay [ ] percent of every debt at this time. With regard to the [name of creditor] debt, that would mean that out of the $[amount owed] you have listed as owing, I will pay the sum of $[calculate dollar amount] within 30 days after you return the attached agreement to me. An additional condition is that this debt will need to be listed as "paid in full" with all credit reporting agencies.

Please review the agreement below and, if it is acceptable to you, have the appropriate individual sign it and return it to me. I will then forward the payment to you within 30 days of the date I receive the signed agreement. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or would like to discuss my proposal further. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,


__________________________
(Signature)
__________________________
(Date)
On behalf of _________________________________________________
(creditor)
I agree to accept the sum of $_____________ in full satisfaction of the account of
_______________________________ provided that I receive that amount
(debtor)
within 30 days after I return this letter to _____________________________.
(debtor)
I will also report the debt as "paid in full" to all credit reporting agencies.
 
_________________________________________________________________
(Signature) (Date)
____________________________________________
(Name typed/printed)
____________________________________________
(Title typed/printed)
Bankrate.com's corrections policy
-- Updated: Aug. 24, 2006
 
 
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