Debt collectors can easily mess up your day if they happen to call you in the morning. This is because they have been trained to use all tactics available to collect what you owe on behalf of themselves or their clients.
These tactics are not always legit, and in most cases, consumers have complained of harassment.
Harassment by debt collection agencies is prevalent, and most consumers have consistently complained about this. Unfortunately, most people do not know or even understand their rights when it comes to debt collection.
In this review, I have highlighted Central Credit Services LLC, which is a debt collection agency. I shall tell you who they are, how they operate and go a step further to explain to you the first thing you should do when they contact you, which is to request for a validation of the debt.
Let’s get started;
Who are they?
Central Credit Services or CCS, is a debt collection agency, based in Florida.
This company was founded in 1987 and incorporated in 2013. Radius Global Solutions, however, acquired them, and now operate as one of their subsidiaries.
Radius Global Solutions is a leading provider of customer relations, accounts receivables, and revenue cycle management solutions. They also incorporate debt collection as part of their agreement when they acquired CCS.
50 West Skippack Pike,
Ambler, PA 19002 United States
Central Credit Services LLC
9550 Regency Square Blvd., Suite 500A
Jacksonville, FL 32225
Contact CCS/Radius Global using the form located on their website.
What do people complain the most against Central Credit Services Inc.?
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) reports having closed more than 156 complaints against Central Credit Services in the last three years. This company’s rating on the site is A+.
Majority of the complaints included the following;
Collection of debts past SOL:
A consumer complains that the collection agency came after him for an old debt that was past the Statute of Limitation (SOL). He also claims that he repaid the bill through a debt consolidation program long time back!
The statute of limitation refers to the amount of time you are legally responsible for repaying a debt. Generally, the required length of time is seven years from the last activity on that account. Once this time window runs out, then following the statute rules, the debt is legally forgiven. In other words, what we are saying is that your responsibility on the debt ends there.
This is also the time in which the debt is removed from your credit report.
Calling the wrong person for collection:
A person says the CSS called him for a debt which his daughter owed and disclosed all her financial information to him. He was in no way responsible for the debt.
Collection of debt which is paid off:
The Company is said to come after debts that have already been paid off. A customer says that they were trying to collect a credit card debt that was paid off. He even has a letter from the original creditor stating the debt had been repaid.
Rude behavior of employees:
A person complains that the employees of this company are very rude and they hang up on customers without notice. He was so frustrated with the behavior of the company representatives that he had to call the Attorney General’s office to complain against them.
What should you do when CSS contacts you?
When the company contacts for payment of a debt, you must proceed with care, as this is where they will be able to catch you.
The first thing you need to do is not pay anything at all.
Why you ask?
Because, debt collection agencies usually scour the internet, online databases, and phone books looking for addresses of everyone with the same name as you, and then they start sending them threatening letters. They send these to everyone!
So, just because you have received a letter from a collection agency, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they have a valid claim against you, and it may be completely erroneous.
Remember that they usually purchase debt from other companies, and they can easily get mixed up. They may not have proper documentation either, or they may be contacting the wrong person altogether.
So, what should you do?
Request for a Debt Validation:
The biggest coup of the FDCPA is that it will empower you to request debt validation on your account. This is essentially how you say – show me the evidence or proof of your legal claim to collect this money from me.
Under the rules of the FDCPA, you have every right to have your debt validated. This means that as a consumer, you can demand that the creditor reporting the information proves that the account really belongs to you.
A debt collector also has the responsibility of proving that they have the legal right to collect on the debt they are asking you to pay.
Requesting validation comes with a variety of benefits and can hopefully lead to getting the collection completely dismissed.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about the debt validation so you can get started today.
What is debt validation?
Once your validation letter is received, the debt collector must stop all collection activity, including reporting and verifying, until they supply proper validation of the debt.
Although no time limit is specified for them to validate, they cannot continue collecting until they provide such information.
Sometimes, collection agencies will stop collection activities and return the account to the original creditor rather than validate it, which is perfectly legal.
Either way, not being able to communicate with you provides plenty of incentive for the debt collector to resolve the validation issue.
Often, a debt collector may not have the appropriate records it needs to collect the debt from you legally.
Or perhaps you already settled the collection, but the collection agency is harassing you anyway. Or maybe they’ve accused you of owing on a debt you don’t owe. It’s also possible that the amount owed is incorrect.
Validating a debt can address all of these reasons so that you aren’t subject to incorrect collections.
Why is it important to validate a debt?
Understanding the role of a debt collector may seem complicated, but it’s really not. Let’s break it down into a real-life example to grasp the importance of debt collection fully.
Say that Sarah borrowed some money from John. Later, she gets a call from Laura demanding a thousand dollars in payment of Sarah’s debt to John.
How can Sarah be sure that she really owes Laura a thousand dollars, rather than John? Furthermore, how can Sarah be sure that if she pays Laura, her debt to John will be satisfied?
A request for validation helps confirm all these things. First, you’ll know that the debt collector is legally authorized by the creditor to collect money from you.
You can also check to make sure that all past payments have been applied, as well as check the accuracy of any fees applied to the debt.
Finally, you get to make sure that you actually owe the debt that they say you do.
If you fail to validate all of these points, you run the risk of paying a debt that you don’t actually owe, or even paying someone who shouldn’t be taking your money. It’s a safe way for any consumer to protect themselves from countless scammers and unscrupulous collection agencies.
5 Steps to Validating Your Debt
Within 30 days of learning about the debt, send a debt validation letter via certified mail to the collection agency. Sending it certified is very important as it gives you have proof of your request. You should also keep a copy of the letter on file.
Check out our sample validation letters. Sending the demands via Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested gives you proof, in the form of a receipt (“green card”) that your demand was received and on what date it was received.
This can help bolster your case in the event you need to sue the debt collector. While that’s a worst-case scenario, it’s definitely better to be safe than sorry. Once this letter is received, the debt collector must cease attempting to collect on the debt until they supply validation.
If you hear nothing from them, then you should send them a copy of the receipt, the letter requesting validation, and another letter stating that in accordance the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), you will not pay the debt.
The credit agency is required under FDCPA guidelines to stop contacting you and may not attempt to sue you for the outstanding balance.
If they have failed to verify the debt and have sent a notice of the debt to a consumer reporting agency, the notice must be removed.
If not, send a notice of the failure of the validation to each consumer reporting agency that lists the debt. Unless the credit reporting agency can verify the debt, it should be removed from your credit report.
If the debt collector sends you proof they have the right to collect on the debt, the debt is yours, and the amount is accurate, then the debt is validated. They can continue their attempts to collect.
Check the statute of limitations in your state to make sure that the debt isn’t expired. If it is, they may not sue you for the debt, and you can send an expired SOL notification letter to get them to stop their collection attempts. If the debt has not expired, you must take other steps if you wish to dispute it.
There are a few different ways to handle verified debt. You can pay it in full if that’s a realistic possibility for you. You can also try to negotiate a settlement, where you agree to pay only a portion of the debt.
If the collection is listed on your credit report, you can also request pay for delete, which gets the item removed from your report once you pay off what you owe.
Whatever you do, don’t ignore the problem. Do your best to come up with a solution so you can get your finances under control. Simply ignoring the issue won’t make it go away.
A summary of all your rights:
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a legislation that was passed by Congress to regulate the debt collection industry. This act consists of laws and guidelines that all debt collections agencies must follow to ensure that they do not violate the rights of the consumer.
Here are some of their rules on debt collectors;
They prohibit the use of harmful and unfair tactics when trying to collect a debt.
They should not contact anybody who is not the main person that owes the debt.
They shouldn’t threaten you with referral to an attorney, wage garnishment, or harm your credit without an actual intent or act on the threat.
They should not call you at unreasonable times, such as before 8 am, or after 9 pm.
They should not contact you at your place of work if you have specifically asked them not to do so.
They should not place calls to inform on you to your employer or disclose any aspect of your debt to others.
They should not use profane or obscene language during their calls.
They should not send collection letters which appear to be from a government office or a court.
They should not threaten to arrest you if the debt remains unpaid.
In short, it says debt collectors are required to be honest, up-front, and not deceptive. Additionally, it says debt collectors are supposed to treat you with that modicum of respect and dignity that every human being deserves. And yes, the FDCPA is violated just about as often as our drug laws in this country.
In short, I am trying to tell you that a debt must be VALIDATED before you can pay for it. You must never pay for debt until you verify all details belong to you. This is your legal right, and no one can or should deny you this right.
This is the reason for this review. To help you understand your rights, and how you can fight for them not to be violated. Once you realize that you have been violated in any way, you must report this, and even sue the debt collection company.
However, remember that you must also pay the debt that you owe. Once a debt is validated, you will need to get into intense negotiations with the debt collectors and ensure that you come up with a repayment plan, because this debt will keep messing with your credit report and score year after year.