Collect America is Just One Of Many Debt Collection Groups That Can SCREW Your Credit Score For 7 Years UNLESS You Take Action to Defend Yourself
Has Collect America (aka CACV or CACH) Hurt Your Credit?
If a debt collector like Collect America (aka CACV or CACH) reports your debts to the credit bureaus, you can end up with negative credit items on your credit history that can keep your score down for up to 7 years.
Who is Collect America (aka CACV or CACH)?
Collect America, which also goes by the initials CACV or CACH, is a debt collector working in the state of New York.
Like other companies in the debt collection industry, they can be extremely aggressive in their attempts to get consumers to repay their debts.
They will subject you to endless rude phone calls, send tons of mail, and lower your credit score. They may even try to scare you by threatening to sue you over your debts.
How to Contact Collect America
3385 Bailey Avenue, Ste #8
Buffalo, NY 14215
Telephone: Calls Routed Through GA Numbers – (404)-492-7970 or (404)-287-0204 or (678)-392-1168 or (770)-881-7088 or (716)-462-4971
Collect America calling you? Don’t fret yet.
Debt collectors will purchase your debts from their original lenders, hound you for repayment, and then report those debts to the credit bureaus if you refuse to pay them off.
With three sets of company records in play (original lender, debt collector, and credit bureau), it’s no surprise that mistakes can happen and sometimes invalid debts wind up going into collections and eventually even ruining your credit.
Fortunately, there are a number of ways for you to protect yourself against debt collectors such as Collect America who may be pursuing invalid, inaccurate, or unverifiable debts.
The first step is to determine whether your debt might be out of bounds for collection. Examples of debts that can’t be collected on include:
- Expired debts. If your debt is too old, the statute of limitations on it will expire. This means that you are no longer legally responsible for the debt, and no one can attempt to collect on it.
- Debts not in your name. Obviously, you are not responsible for someone else’s debt. However, sometimes the records get mixed up as debt collectors attempt to track down their targets, and you may find yourself receiving calls or letters at your address that are intended for a prior resident.
- Debts incurred due to identity theft. Ideally, you would have noticed that identity theft had occurred, contacted the original lender, and resolved the situation long before the thief’s debts went into collection. Even if you had resolved the situation previously, it may have been inadvertently mis-marked in the lender’s records or mistakenly sold into collections.
- Debts previously discharged in a bankruptcy. For the most part, declaring bankruptcy clears all your debts. If for some reason a debt pops up again later on, you just have to prove it was part of the bankruptcy in order to get it cleared off your record again.
- Debts previously paid to the original lender. Again, this is an example of a clerical error on the lender’s part resulting in the sale of an invalid debt.
- Debts whose balances don’t match your records. The debt collector has purchased your debt as is from the original lender, so the balances on the two accounts should match.
If you believe your debt is invalid or inaccurate, the very first thing you should do is send a debt validation letter. The trick is that you must send this letter within 30 days of receiving your first official collections notice.
Many people waste time arguing with the debt collectors or trying to chase down the original lender, and miss out on this important opportunity.
A debt validation letter notifies the debt collector that they must provide legally acceptable proof that all the details of the debt in question are accurate.
They must prove that you are the individual named by the original lender, that the balance is accurate, that the debt is within the statute of limitations, and that they are licensed to collect on this debt in your state.
A huge side benefit of the debt validation process is that while the debt collector gathers the necessary legal paperwork, they must suspend all collection efforts. This means that they can’t call or write to you about the debt until they’ve proved they have a right to do so.
Plus, you can request an additional 30 days to review whatever information they end up providing as their proof. So, in sum you can end up with quite a nice stretch of collection-call-free days.
Your debt validation letter should also notify the debt collector that you are aware of your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
You can inform them that if they violate this act by harassing you, making illegal threats, or contacting you at all before the debt validation process is complete, you will take them to court over it.
A well-worded debt validation letter can be all it takes to get debt collectors off your back, especially if your debt is not that valuable to them. They may just decide to cut their losses and leave you alone.
Be sure to use a quality debt dispute template, or, even better, hire a lawyer to draft a personalized letter just for your case. The letter must be sent via certified mail with delivery confirmation so that you can prove that it was received within the 30-day period.
A collection item can remain on your account for up to 7 years, and it will lower your credit score by up to 100 points.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act states the debt collection companies may not report false information about you to any third party. This means that they can’t legally report a debt to the credit bureaus if that debt is invalid for any of the reasons we talked about previously.
Of course, debt collectors violate this law all the time–whether intentionally or unintentionally, we won’t speculate. The important thing is that you can call them on it and get the bad items removed.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act protects you from unscrupulous debt collection practices, like calling before 8 am or after 9 pm, calling just to harass you, or making groundless threats of illegal actions like wage garnishment and arrest. If you’ve experienced any of these things, Lexington Law can help you build a case against your debt collector.