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What is the 30-Day Dispute Period?

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When you receive written notice of a debt that is allegedly due and owing, you have 30 days to dispute it. If you decide to lodge a dispute, you must do it in writing within 30 days of receiving the debt notification, not the postmark date or the date on the letter.

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The 30 day dispute period is not a grace period. Unless you dispute the debt, the debt collector is allowed to continue to attempt to collect the debt from you. Thus, it is wise to dispute the debt as soon as possible after receiving notice of the debt.

It is important to understand that the collection agent may report the alleged debt to a credit reporting bureau. The collector may also send you notification of the debt simultaneously with serving you a collection lawsuit. Even if you have already disputed the debt, if you are served with a lawsuit you must still appear in court. Thus, you should contact us to determine what defenses are available to you and to enter an appearance on your behalf to prevent a default judgment from being entered against you.

Remember, There Are Numerous Actions a Debt Collector Is Prohibited From Taking Against You Including:

  • Lying about who they are or who they’re collecting the debt for
  • Harassing you or threatening you with violence
  • Using profane language
  • Contacting you with a postcard
  • Claiming you owe more than you do
  • Mailing you something that looks like an official document if it is not
  • Falsely claiming they work for a credit reporting agency or that they are an attorney
  • Alleging you are guilty of a crime
  • Telling you they will file a lawsuit against you if they don’t intend to sue you
  • Providing another party false information about you
  • Informing others (or threatening to inform them) about your debt
  • Threatening to have you arrested
  • Claiming they will post your name on a list of debtors
  • Depositing a post-dated check early
  • Threatening to seize your assets unless the creditor or collector has the legal right to seize it

If you have received notice of a debt or you are being harassed by a collector, we can help. The attorneys at Fitzgerald & Campbell represent California consumers in all types of debt collections cases.  If you have been served with a collection lawsuit or you believe that you have been subject to an illegal debt collection tactic, we can help.  Contact us for a consultation by calling (844) 431-3851 or emailing us at

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