Finance Globe

U.S. financial and economic topics from several finance writers.
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With Creditor Letters, Certified Mail is Best

Letter writing has become a little outdated thanks to email, text messages, and social media. But, writing a letter is sometimes the best way to deal with issues with creditors and other credit businesses. In fact, certain laws require you to communicate problems in writing for the creditor (or credit bureau or debt collector) to be held to their responsibilities.

When you’re writing to creditors, debt collectors, or a credit bureau, go beyond a stamped envelope and send your letter via certified mail. This will give you the paper trail you need if you have to take further action because the creditor didn’t respond in time or they allege you didn't send the letter in time.

What is Certified Mail?

Certified mail is a service from the United States Postal Service that gives you both proof of mailing and proof of delivery. Certified mailings all have a tracking number that allows you to verify when the mail was sent and delivered. While recipients are required to sign for certified letters, you don’t automatically get a copy of this signature. Instead, the USPS keeps the signature on file and it can be requested if necessary.

The certified mailing fee is currently $2.95 (as of January 2012). Prices may change so check with your local post office or for the latest rates. You must visit the post office to send something via certified mail.

Why Does It Matter?

You might send a letter to your creditor disputing a billing error, to a credit bureau disputing credit report errors, or to a debt collector requesting debt validation. In certain circumstances, law requires the business to respond to you within a specific amount of time. You may be able to file a lawsuit if the business doesn’t respond within that timeframe.

Beyond a lawsuit, the certified mail serves as proof that you sent the letter at a specific time. For example, credit card billing error disputes should be sent within 60 days from the date the statement containing the billing error was mailed. A certified mail receipt would settle any questions about whether you sent the letter in the correct amount of time.

Beyond Certified Mail

Certified mail provides you with what you’d need to resolve questions about the timing of your letter and the creditor’s response. You could go a step further and add a return receipt request to your letter. The return receipt provides you with proof of delivery along with the recipient’s signature. (With certified mail, only the post office gets the signature.) You can choose to receive the signature via mail or email, mail is more expensive.

Whenever you write a letter to your creditor or other credit businesses, be sure to send it certified mail and keep a copy of the receipt for your records. Sure, there’s an extra cost, but consider it insurance that will protect you from the unexpected.

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Sunday, 05 February 2023

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