If you forget to pay a bill, the original creditor may move the debt to collections. This means you’ll start getting phone calls from a debt collector like AAA Collections. The agency will open a collections account on your credit report, and this entry will notify the credit reporting agencies of your delinquency and tell future lenders and creditors that you have a history of nonpayment, severely impacting your financial future.
Collections accounts are damaging to your credit score and can prevent companies from approving you for loans and credit cards. It’s important to remove the entry from your report before it causes serious damage to your score. Read on to learn how to remove an AAA Collections collection entry from your credit report.
What is AAA Collections?
Founded in 1986, AAA Collections is a small collection agency based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. It specializes in collecting on behalf of companies in the healthcare industry in the U.S.
Is AAA Collections legitimate?
AAA, or Advanced Asset Alliance, is a legitimate business, but this doesn’t mean that customers enjoy working with it. AAA Collections currently has over 45 consumer complaints filed against it with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and 12 with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Many complaints relate to inaccurate reporting or a lack of response to debt verification requests. If AAA Collections is harassing you, filing incorrect information regarding your debt or committing any infractions under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), consider filing a complaint as well.
Steps to remove AAA collections from your credit report
Even if you pay the debt, a collections account can remain on your credit report for up to seven years. You can follow these basic steps to remove AAA Collections from your credit report.
- Know your rights
- Write a debt validation letter
- Negotiate a pay-for-delete settlement
- Hire a professional
Know your rights under the FDCPA
Debt collectors tend to take advantage of customers who aren’t aware of their rights under the FDCPA. The FDCPA is federal legislation that prevents debt collectors from harassing, abusing and deceiving consumers. It prohibits a collection agency from the following practices:
- Abusing you verbally
- Calling your family or friends
- Lying about its identity
- Misrepresenting information about your debt
Write a debt validation letter
The most crucial step to removing a collection entry is to send a debt validation letter. You can send it to AAA Collections at the following address:
3500 S 1st Avenue Circle Suite 100
Sioux Falls, SD 57105-5800
Debt collectors don’t always have complete or correct information about the debt, and the FDCPA gives you the right to request verification that the debt actually belongs to you before you make payments on it. You must act fast because you must send a debt validation letter within 30 days of the first time AAA Collections contacts you. Be sure to send it via certified mail so you can verify the agency has received the letter.
Once AAA Collections receives your letter, it must send proof that the debt belongs to you within 30 days. If it can’t validate your debt, it must dismiss the debt and contact all three major credit bureaus to remove the negative entry from your credit report without you having to pay a dime.
Negotiate a pay-for-delete settlement
If AAA Collections verified that the debt belongs to you, you can negotiate a pay-for-delete settlement. In this settlement, you agree to make payments on the debt in exchange for the agency removing the collection from your report with the three major credit bureaus. AAA Collections will almost always settle for less than the full amount because it likely paid a low price to acquire the debt. To make a profit, it only needs to collect more than it paid for the debt.
You can start by offering to pay half the debt and negotiate until you can agree on the terms. Then, request that AAA Collections provide the official agreement in writing. Do not make a payment until you receive this agreement in the mail.
Once the contract arrives, you can make your first payment. After 30 days, check your credit report with all three major credit bureaus. If the collection is still on the report, reach out to AAA Collections and remind it of your agreement.
Work with a professional
You can also hire a credit repair company to remove an AAA Collections entry. Credit repair companies specialize in identifying and removing damaging entries from your credit report. They can also review your overall financial habits and help you improve your scores through better money management.
While credit repair companies are an excellent resource for those dealing with debt collectors, some are simply not worth your hard-earned cash. That’s why it’s important to work with a reputable, trustworthy company like Credit Saint. Credit Saint understands the industry and will use its knowledge to help you get your credit score back on track.
Dealing with AAA Collections
Rebuilding your credit score isn’t easy, but it’s certainly worth it. One of the most important steps is cleaning up your credit report and getting rid of entries that drag your score down so that you can regain credibility in the eyes of potential lenders.
Update: This article has been updated to reflect the current number of BBB and CFPB complaints against AAA Collections and to give current contact information.
Disclaimer: This story was originally published on September 30, 2020, on BetterCreditBlog.org. To find the most relevant information concerning collections or credit card inquiries, please visit: https://money.com/how-to-remove-collections-from-credit-report/ or https://money.com/get-items-removed-from-credit-report/