AmeriCollect Can Damage Your Personal Credit Score – Here is what you can DO ABOUT it.
Debt collection companies specialize in recovering debts that the original lenders have given up on.
Americollect is no different.
They typically purchase delinquent accounts from lenders in the healthcare, utilities, check collection and cellular industries.
They buy the accounts for a small fraction of their true value, gambling that they will be able to secure repayment in full and turn a profit.If you fall too far behind on your bills, it’s quite likely that one or more of your accounts could be sold to a collection agency such as Americollect. If that happens, it’s important to know what to expect, as well as what to do.
First of all, you can expect the debt collection agency to call you frequently.
Some agencies call every day; some call more than once per day. It just depends how aggressive their collection strategy is and how valuable your account is to them.
Debt collection agencies will also send tons of mail. This will get pretty tiresome, but it’s important to keep on opening the mail and glancing through it, so that you don’t miss anything important such as a notice of legal action.
In order to get you to pay off your debt, the collection agent may attempt to shame you, browbeat you, scare you, or take whatever emotional tack he or she thinks might be effective. This is one reason why conversations with debt collections are o unpleasant!
You may be offered a payment plan. Be sure you consider all the fine print, because what sounds like an easy monthly payment may incur so much interest and fees that you will end up paying far more than the original balance of your debt over time.
If after all this you still haven’t paid, the debt collector will probably report your debt as a collection item to the credit bureaus. This can result in serious damage to your credit score–just one collection item can lower your score by 100 points.
Collection items can be especially frustrating because sometimes they are not even valid. In other words, the debt collector may have reported an inaccurate, invalid, or expired debt to the credit bureaus. Because the credit bureaus have no outside verification process, they basically accept whatever the debt collector tells them.
As a final resort, debt collectors may take you to court seeking a credit judgment against you. If they are successful, they will not only place another black mark on your credit history, they will also have the chance to seek further legal actions. These actions could include garnishing your wages, placing a lien on your home, or seizing your assets.
Fortunately, there are a number of steps you can take in order to fight back against debt collectors and keep them from ruining your credit forever.
First of all, you need to be aware of your rights as a consumer. Your rights are protected by two important laws: the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
Under the Fair Debt Collection Act, debt collection companies may not:
-contact you before 8 am or after 9 pm
-call you just to harass you
-call your employer or workplace “looking” for you if they’ve been told not to
-call you directly once they’ve been informed that you’ve hired a lawyer
-threaten your family
-make groundless threats of legal action.
If a debt collector threatens to garnish your wages, place a lien on your home, or seize your assets, take it with a grain of salt. In order to back up their threat, they must first open and win a court case against you, then get the legal action approved by a judge. Most of the time, this process is just too much trouble and the debt collector does not actually intend to follow through. It’s just a fear tactic, and as such it is illegal.
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, debt collection agencies are forbidden to report false or inaccurate information about you to any third party. This includes the credit bureaus. This law is probably the most useful in terms of getting bad collection items and charge offs removed from your credit history.
Believe it or not, debt collection agencies often make huge mistakes regarding the debts they attempt to collect. I’ve heard many stories of debt collectors targeting the wrong individuals, pursuing debts that were expired, and attempting to collect invalid amounts.
If this happens to you, you can initiate a debt validation process. The debt validation process requires the debt collection agency to prove to the satisfaction of the law that you owe the debt and the amount that they have accused you of. If they can’t prove it, you don’t owe it.
And if you don’t owe it, obviously it must be removed from your credit report. The trick is that debt validation must be initiated within 30 days of receiving your first collection notice from the debt collector.
When it comes to dealing with companies like Americollect, there are few ground rules you would do well to follow. First of all, don’t try to make friends with the debt collection. It’s just not going to happen! Talking to a debt collector about anything besides repayment is a waste of time.
If you have a valid complaint, don’t discuss it over the phone. Put it in writing and send it certified mail so that you can prove the debt collector received it. Lastly, bear in mind that if you do decide to pay the debt collector, your credit will not be automatically repaired.
In order to repair your credit, the debt collector must notify the credit bureaus that the collection item or charge off is no longer valid. Be sure to get them to agree to do this for you (in writing) before you being repaying the debt.
Perhaps the best thing you can do in a debt collection situation is hire a lawyer. Many people resist doing so because they are afraid of the expense.
However, when you consider all the time and aggravation a lawyer can spare you, it is well worth it. Plus, hiring a lawyer has the added benefit of stopping the debt collectors from contacting you directly.
When looking for a lawyer or a credit repair service, beware of schemes that expect a big payment upfront. Payment should be reasonable and related to work accomplished.
If you’re being targeted by debt collection companies like Americollect, and you have even the slightest doubt as to the validity of the debt in question or the legality of the debt collector’s actions, don’t hesitate to get professional help! Invest a little bit in professional credit repair now, and your credit score will thank you later.