Some 30 million Americans have an average $1,500 of debts in collection, according to estimates by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Debt buyers pay an average of only four cents on the dollar, and they often aggressively pursue the debtors without proper documentation of the accounts. Third-party debt collectors generated 155,640 complaints to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in 2011, up from 96,102 in 2009. Individuals targeted by collectors should talk to the lender as soon as possible to work out a plan to keep the debt current. Nonprofit credit-counseling firms may also provide help, such as working with consumers on a budget and helping negotiate repayment plans. False threats and harassment are illegal; borrowers can request in writing that collectors stop contacting them. However, this will not resolve the debt; and a collector could still take the debtor to court. Keeping detailed records can help borrowers if they are sued; and if they are not sure the debt is theirs, they should dispute the debt within 30 days of being notified. The FTC reports that debt buyers often do not share relevant information with consumers about the debts they purchased, such as the original lender or the date of the last payment. About 1 million debts per year are disputed. If they dispute the debt or go to court, debtors should negotiate, get the results in writing, and understand the relevant laws in their state.