Having an unpaid debt that has been sold to a debt collection company is a situation that nobody wants to find themselves in. This is because it involves receiving multiple phone calls throughout the day, constant emails and letters, all of which demand you to pay for bills that you cannot afford.
Receivable Management Services LLC, or RMS, is one such company, whose primary goal is to provide debt recovery services for its clients. They offer their services to a wide range of industries such as medical, insurance, finance, telecommunications, and retail.
The primary purpose of reviewing this company is to enable you to understand your rights as a consumer, and how you can easily deal with debt collectors when they call you.
Is Receivable Management Services Legit?
RMS, as they are known, is a legitimate third-party debt collection company that aggressively works on collecting debts that are due to their clients. They are headquartered in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and they offer their services nationwide.
They are a unique company that offers their services in both English and French, which is not typical of most companies in the US.
Their site is also very well designed and visually appealing, which makes it easy for most people to navigate and find what they are looking for at all times.
On BBB, – the Better Business Bureau website, they have a rating of A+, which means that most of the customers have reported some favorable interaction with them, but this doesn’t mean that the company hasn’t received some negative feedback and complaints.
The BBB has on record over 120 complaints made against RMS, of which 80 of these have been closed in the last three years.
What does a collection agency mean?
Collection agencies or debt collectors are companies that pursue debts on behalf of their creditors. The work of a company such as RMS is to buy loans from creditors which they have failed to collect, and then embark on vigorous efforts to collect these loans as their own.
These agencies usually employ many different methods to get clients to pay for debts that they owe, which includes sending out numerous letters, emails, and making many phone calls. They may sometimes sue the debtor for payment, or seize their assets, or even garnish their wages.
What type of collection agency is RMS?
There are two main types of collection agencies;
A third-party agency.
Internal collection departments.
For the first 90 – 180 days of your overdue debt, you shall be dealing with your creditor’s internal collections department. This is still your original creditor.
Most companies tend to have these departments within the business, who are trained in debt collections and customer support.
Depending on the company that you owe, you can be able to negotiate for flexible repayment terms with your creditors in order to prevent having negative information reported to the credit bureaus, which would affect your credit report.
My advice would be to try as much as you can to sort things out with the internal department before the debt is sold out to a third party.
Third-party agencies are not part of your creditor’s company, and they may or may not be able to negotiate with you concerning your debt. If your account has been handed over to the collections department, you are already in the process of having some negative remarks on your credit report.
How to deal with RMS when they call you
If you have never dealt with a debt collector, the following tips will help you understand how you can exercise your rights, and what to do when they contact you;
Avoid the telephone
Of course, the first means of communication with a debt collector will be through the phone. Avoid this as much as you can. In short; NEVER talk to a debt collector on the phone. Why? Because nothing good can come of it.
The less they know about you, the better, plus, you cannot keep this as evidence against them, unless you record the call.
You can politely ask them to write you an email and then hang up the call. If they keep calling you after you have requested them not to, do not worry, the consumer protection rights have protected you against this, and you can send them a cease and desist letter, which they are required to honor.
Record phone conversations
If they still insist on calling, and you find yourself in a situation where you must talk to them, then record each call from RMS. In addition, request that the person calling you identifies themselves so it can go on record.
In the other 15 states, you can tape with the other party’s permission. If you tell the debt collector you are going to record, and they keep talking, that’s considered giving consent. Usually, they hang up.
Don’t believe what they say
They mostly make false threats, lie and even misrepresent themselves, so, whatever they tell you to get you to pay the debt. Disregard it immediately, and if you feel that they are threatening you or saying improper things, caution them that you know your rights and you can sue.
DO NOT PAY
This is the most common question, and a misconception, I must say. Most people do assume that if they pay off their debts in collections, they will simply end up having the debt deleted from their credit report and just like magic have their credit score improve.
This is not true.
FICO, the company that is responsible for calculating your credit score, says that – the fact that you have collections listed on your credit report will undoubtedly lower your FICO score, and paying them will simply change the status from unpaid to paid.
The collections entry will still be shown, and as such, it shall still reflect negatively on the report.
The Experian credit bureau, one of the big three credit reporting agencies, says: “Paying the debt won’t necessarily help your credit scores. Accounts that get to the collection stage are about as negative as it gets. Only bankruptcy is worse. As a result, any improvement, especially right away, probably will be minor.” Seems pretty clear, right?
Listen, the secret to fixing credit is getting the item removed from your credit report. And while just paying off debt in collections, without first doing the wise due diligence, and following my tips below, will only result in a change of the status assigned to the item.
Do not ignore Hunter Warfield however when they contact you, because if they are unable to collect the payment, they shall legally sell off your debt to another collector, who will start again from scratch with the phone calls, and letters, and harassment.
They will then sue you for payment of the debt, and if they win, they shall be awarded a judgment. This is very bad for you because it means that they can cause your wages to be garnished, and liens placed on your properties.
Every state has typically unique laws that will investigate the claim in full details. Getting a judgment is very common in these types of debts.
The worst part about these judgments on credit reports is that they will decimate your credit score overnight.
Don’t try to hide money
It’s considered fraudulent to hide money or assets from collection agencies if you owe them.
Don’t apply for new lines of credit
It’s also considered fraudulent to apply for new lines of credit if you are unable to pay your current creditors.
Know Your State’s Statute of Limitations
Each state has a statute of limitations on debt. Once your debt reaches a certain age, it is considered “zombie debt,” and you are no longer legally required to pay it. The age limit varies from state to state, but usually, it’s around 4-6 years.
Debt collectors are still allowed to contact you about these debts, but they can no longer sue you for them, and you are not required to pay them.
What are Collection agencies allowed to do?
The government strictly regulates debt collection agencies, and they are only allowed to collect on a debt that you owe. In the process, they are supposed to ensure that they do not violate your rights in any way.
If you have been dealing with SWC systems and you feel harassed, you must understand your rights as a consumer. Many of these rights have been granted under the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA)
Here are signs that they are harassing you;
If you are receiving multiple calls each week from Southwest Credit Systems.
If you are being called either late at night or very early in the morning.
If Southwest Credit Systems have been calling your friends, coworkers, and neighbors and telling them about your debts.
If Southwest Credit Systems have been threatening you with adverse credit reporting.
If they have attempted to collect more than you owe.
If they have been making criminal accusations against you.
If automated robocalls are being made on your phone in an attempt to collect from you.
If they are using an obscene language when talking to you.
If they have been making attempts to intimidate you.
If they are disguising the fact that they are debt collectors trying to collect a debt
If they are pretending to be attorneys, police officers, or federal agents
If they are threatening to report false information to the credit bureaus
If they are demanding amounts that are inflated by ‘service charges.’
What can you do if you are being harassed?
Federal laws protect you from this type of harassment. 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.
As a consumer, you must be aware of your rights to protect yourself from harassment and intimidation from debt collectors.
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.
Dealing with debt collectors requires a high level of skill, intelligence, and patience. You must never be aggressive or ignore them. This will just make things worse.
You should consult a professional who can guide you through the process of dealing with debt collectors so that they can help you. Remember that what they want most is for the debt to be paid, and in most cases, they are always willing to negotiate.