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A bill was sent to the wrong address and is now in collections: What do I do?

Updated on 03.01.2023
bill sent to wrong address now in collections

You have rights if a bill is sent to the wrong address and winds up in collections

You can take several actions if a bill goes to the wrong address and ends up in collections.

Is it possible you can owe a debt and be entirely unaware of it? Emphatically, yes. Can a debt collector call you out of the blue about a debt for which you received absolutely no notification? Again, yes. 

This could be the case even when letters and other forms of communication were sent to inform you of the bill, but you didn’t receive them. The fact you didn’t get the notices sent by your creditor, which caused the bill to wind up in collections, doesn’t mean that the debt has vanished.

This post discusses your rights and steps you can take in the event the notices were sent to the wrong address and you’re suddenly faced with a collections account.

What to do when a bill was sent to the wrong address and winds up in collections

When you’re facing this situation, the law allows you to take some actions. Let’s consider these actions.

Request proof and confirmation of the debt

There’s a chance the debt in question is not yours. There’s also the possibility that the said debt is an old debt brought previously by other collection agencies. Even worse, the debt could be a result of a credit check error or identity theft issue. 

You need to exercise your right and request verification of the debt. The right stemming from the Fair Credit Reporting Act is inviolable, and the collector must comply with the law.

Upon initial contact from the debt collector, the process swings into action. The debt collector is obligated to furnish you with details about the debt and a statement of your rights within five days. After receiving the initial contact, you have 30 days to request a confirmation of the debt. The confirmation shows who incurred the debt and when it was incurred.

If the initial contact letter sent to you by the collector ends up at the wrong address, the collector would be held to have run afoul of the law.   

Additional steps 

If the debt is confirmed, you can go ahead and pay it. If the debt is not substantiated, the collector has to stop contacting you.

Keep in mind the ultimate goal is to get your account out of collections. Therefore, you benefit from checking your credit report. Consult with your original creditor to tackle debt in collections for which you received no prior notice. 

Since the law seeks to ensure fair and accurate reports, you can dispute the collections accountwhich is actually a credit reporting error. This will save your credit score from the ravaging effects of missed payments.

Bills that are sent to the wrong address and end up in collections can prove tough to untangle. Additionally, the debt collectors might resort to various forms of harassment or violate the law to recover the debt. You need an attorney to help you deal with these hassles.

Reach out to us right away if you need help.

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