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Debt to Settle Letter


Debt to Settle Letter

When writing your first debt to settle letter to a collection agency, I was advised to put something like this at the end:


"If I do not receive your postmarked response within 45 days, I will withdraw the offer and request full verification of this debt."


What is the alotted time an agancy has to respond IF you have pulled a free credit report online? I have seen 30 days and 45 days so I am not sure what to put. My gut says 45.


Thank you.

Message 1 of 9
Frequent Contributor

Re: Debt to Settle Letter

Are you referring to an offer to settle a debt letter?

Message 2 of 9

Re: Debt to Settle Letter

Yes. It's going to be a letter requesting the collection agency to remove the collection account in exchange for a lump sum settlement.

Message 3 of 9
Community Leader
Legendary Contributor

Re: Debt to Settle Letter

I have problems with the "if you dont, I will do this.." part of the statement.


The first part is up to you.  You make any contract offer you wish.  If you want to set a 45 day expiration on any terms, that is up to you.


However, what I have problem with is the last part, which states that you will then "request full verification of the debt."

That is an independent issue, unrelated to the contract offer, and most likely not apt to promote much good-will.


As for what impact any such "request for full verification of the debt" might have, I presume they have sent dunning notice.  If so, the consumer has the obligation to make any DV request within 30 days of dunning notice.  Forty-five days from the letter is presumably more than 30 days from dunning notice.


Thus, any DV sent after that time imposes no cease collection bar on the debt collector, and they can choose to simply ignore it, and go on about their business.

Even if they did not send prior dunning notice, sending a DV, even if timely, does not set any period on the debt collector for response, it merely bars them from conduct of further collection activities until such time as they choose to provide the requested debt verification.


Such a statement implies a threat, and is in my opinion, not conducive to good-will. Notwithstanding the fact that it is most likely a toothless threat.

I would leave it out.




Message 4 of 9

Re: Debt to Settle Letter

Thank you so much for your advice. I really appreciate it.

Does this mean there no time limit the collections agency has to respond to letters about settling a debt? Everything I've been researching says they must respond in 30 days from the date it's received. Or 45 if you've pulled a free credit report. Thats why they say send it certified and keep track of the time. I'm nervous about trying to settle a debt with collections for fear they won't want to settle. I'm preparing myself for a long negotiation process and counter offers. It's a bit overwhelming trying to figure all this out.
Message 5 of 9
Valued Member

Re: Debt to Settle Letter

The 30/45 days refers to a Dispute of information found on your report.  The credit bureau has 30-45 days to investigate your dispute and respond by either verifying, updating or removing the disputed information.


Sending a letter for a settlement is not a dispute and would be bound by no time-limit.  The agency you are trying to settle with has no obligation to even respond to a settlement request.  As stated before you are trying to get their GW to negotiate with you and make a settlement.  Putting a date and a threat would  make me want to ignore your settlement and continue collections.


As always YMMV.

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Message 6 of 9

Re: Debt to Settle Letter

Okay. That is great information. Thank you very much.

I am going to avoid sounding so cold or demanding in my request and rather ask that we come to a settlement. Then I will follow up with letters if i don't hear back so I have the documentation.
Message 7 of 9
Senior Contributor

Re: Debt to Settle Letter

I think it's fine for you to put a period of expiration on the offer.  That's just good practice so that you don't have offers hanging out there that could be accepted at some later date when you may have thought it was over and no longer have the money to settle the account.  So saying something like "this offer will remain open for 45 days and will expire on [DATE] unless withdrawn" isn't a problem.  It's the other part about demanding verification that you probably don't want to include. 

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Message 8 of 9
Moderator Emeritus

Re: Debt to Settle Letter

You've been given some excellent advice.  Just remember that the creditors that are reading this are like you.  If you get a hateful, demanding letter, it may tick you off.  You might say, "Well they aren't going to get a dime from me".  So when sending your letter, be polite, be nice.  They are much more likely to deal with you.   I see people post on here all the time,  " I spoke with a really nice person".  Make the creditor think of you that way.   Just my 2 cents though.  Smiley Happy

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Message 9 of 9