In our modern day and age, it is normal for people to have some kind of debt. A study carried out in 2019 found out that 3 out of 10 people believed that having a credit card, taking out a loan, or using an overdraft was a necessary part of everyday life. 

Some debts that end up on our plate may seem out of order, though. If you’ve got a reason to believe you don’t owe what the creditor says you owe, you can dispute the debt. Read on to find out how to dispute a debt and win.

Disputing a debt – the basics

If you believe that you don’t owe the creditor what they say you owe, you can dispute the debt. A disputed debt is basically a disagreement between you, the debtor, and the creditor, about whether you owe the debt, or whether you owe all that they say you owe. 

A dispute regarding whether the debt exists, or whether the amounts on the debt are correct, can actually be taken up in court too. However, before you go about disputing the debt, you should familiarise yourself with the many conditions and situations that might dictate whether you are able to dispute your debt. There are several instances where you may not be able to, so read on to find out more about how to dispute a debt.

Before you dispute the debt

There are several different criteria that you should know with regards to disputing a debt. If any of these apply to you, then you will be able to dispute the debt, and potentially win too.

Being underage when you signed the original creditor’s agreement

If you were underage when you signed the original agreement, this would make the agreement invalid in the eyes of the law. The legal age for signing any kind of monetary agreement is 18, so if you were under the age of 18 when the agreement was first signed, you’ll be able to dispute the debt.

The agreement is incomplete or has information that isn’t correct

The original creditor will be responsible for ensuring that the agreement you are about to sign is correct and there isn’t any information missing. If you can prove that there is missing information or anything else untoward, you may be able to dispute the debt.

You didn’t understand the agreement at the time of signing

If you can prove that you didn’t understand what you were signing and what it might entail, you could be eligible to dispute the debt. Legally, the creditor would have to have provided clear data and information about what you were about to sign, with all specifications duly noted.

You didn’t even sign the agreement in the first place

As these kinds of monetary agreements are legal documents, your signature is essential, and any document without your signed approval becomes void. If you didn’t sign the agreement for whatever reason, you will be able to dispute the debt. If your name isn’t on the agreement at all, you will also not be legally responsible for paying back the loan either, and you can dispute the debt.

Debt Dispute Letter

If you can prove that one of the above criteria has been met, then you will be eligible to dispute a debt. The next steps you need to take in knowing how to dispute a debt is to send a debt dispute letter to the debt collection agency that is in charge of dealing with your debt. 

This letter not only demands they prove that you owe the money they say that you owe, but also that you owe the amount they say you do. It also demands that they send you documents and any other information that can prove that you do indeed owe the money that the debt collection agency says you owe.

This kind of letter is very similar to a Prove the Debt letter and does just about the same thing. You can find a handy template for a Prove the Debt letter following this link, which you can repurpose for your debt dispute letter too. If you are being hassled by a debt collection agency, sending a debt dispute letter can make them slow down, so whatever happens, it’s worth sending one just to make sure.

FAQs

So how to dispute a debt? Well, take your first step with your debt dispute letter. If they can’t prove it’s yours, you’ll also win the dispute. Make sure that you send the debt dispute letter as soon as you can as well. 


Below, we’ll go through some of the more commonly asked questions about how to dispute a debt and win.

If I win my debt dispute, will I have to pay?

No. If the debt collection agency or original creditor is not able to prove that the debt is yours, and you dispute a debt and win, you will not be legally obliged to pay. If you meet any of the criteria listed above, you also won’t have to pay, as long as you can prove it.

If I dispute a debt and win, can my debt be written off?

Yes. In some cases, your debt could actually be completely written off if you successfully dispute it and win. If you have the information to prove that you never accepted liability for the debt, or you meet the criteria outlined in this article, your debt could actually get written off.

Will I still have to dispute a debt if it is statute-barred?

A statute-barred debt is a debt that has exceeded its limitation period and can no longer be collected. So, if your debt is over six years old, (the standard limitation period for most debts) you might not have to pay it. This also means you won’t have to dispute it, as the debt is already void.

I didn’t win my debt dispute, and I’m struggling financially – where can I get advice?

Admitting that you can’t settle a debt can be really hard work, but with so many people in the UK who have debts, you’re not alone. And if you did dispute a debt and didn’t win, you’ll have to pay up. If you’re having trouble finding the funds to settle the debt, and need to speak to someone about your finances, there are several charities and companies that offer free, confidential advice. These include the following:

About the author

Scott Nelson

Scott Nelson is a financial services expert, with over 10 years’ experience in the industry, including 6 years in FCA regulated companies. Read more
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