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AFNI Inc. is a collection agency with a global reach working from U.S. branches in Kentucky, Illinois, Arizona and Alabama. If you get phone calls or letters from AFNI, Inc., you should know you're dealing with a well-organized agency. AFNI has a large infrastructure and plenty of collection officers on its payroll. This means its calls and letters will likely continue unless you take action.

About AFNI Collections

AFNI Collections is an old and successful collection agency that started in Bloomington, Illinois, in 1936. It works with some of the biggest corporations in the world, including Verizon, AT&T and DirectTV, along with other leading cable TV and healthcare providers.

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Why do I owe AFNI Collections money?

If AFNI, which also uses the name Anderson Financial Network, starts sending you bills, it’s likely that you owed money to one of its clients. If that client — let’s use Verizon as an example — sells your debt to AFNI, it will then start trying to collect your debt. It is possible that you may not actually owe the money. Occasionally, AFNI gets bad information from one of its clients that implicates you incorrectly, which is why you should first validate the debt.

How can AFNI collect the debt?

Unless you can invalidate the debt AFNI is trying to collect, the agency has several ways to collect money from you:

  • Phone calls: AFNI has the right to call you on the phone number associated with the original debt. You have the right to request AFNI use a different phone number, and the company must honor your request. And, of course, you have the right not to answer the calls.
  • Letters: AFNI can send letters requesting payment. They cannot send unsealed postcards because of privacy concerns.
  • Legal action: AFNI could sue you in civil court, seeking a garnishment of your wages as repayment for the debt. You should always respond to a lawsuit to defend yourself and contact a law firm if this happens. In some cases, the judge could dismiss the lawsuit immediately if the statute of limitations on your debt has passed.

What AFNI may not do to collect the debt

While AFNI can sue you, call you and send letters, the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act prevents the company from taking action, such as:

  • Threatening criminal action: AFNI can’t have you arrested and prosecuted under criminal law.
  • Threatening physical violence: It can’t threaten to harm you or your family and friends.
  • Harassing you: The company can’t call you in the middle of the night or early in the morning. It must also honor your request not to call you at work.
  • Shaming you: AFNI can’t discuss your debt with your employer or anyone else or threaten to publish your name on a list of debtors.
  • Demanding others’ debts: The company can’t demand that you pay someone else’s debts, including a deceased relative’s debts.
  • Bypassing your attorney: If you’ve hired a lawyer and informed AFNI, the company must call your lawyer, and not you, about the debt.
  • Lying or misrepresenting: It can’t lie about the status of your debt or the effects of your payment. You need to get all agreements in writing so you can prove misrepresentation if necessary.
  • Threatening to increase what you owe: A credit agency can’t add interest or fees to your balance if you don’t pay.

Your state may have additional protection for consumers.

If all of this seems like too much for you to handle on your own, you should seek help from a credit repair professional.

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Removing AFNI collections from your credit report

Many collection agencies hope that you don't know your rights. They won't break the law intentionally, but they know that consumers who don't know their rights respond to fear. They know a consumer who's afraid will be more likely to give their credit card number to make a payment and close the collections account on the spot.

So, you need to know there are rules regulating how a debt collection agency may interact with you. You can find the rules in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Collection agencies must follow this long list of rules, but it basically boils down to this:

Debt collectors are not allowed to harass you. It’s against the law.

Now that you know your rights, you must let AFNI Collections reps know you understand these important rights as you interact with them. Here are a few ways you can do this:

  • Only communicate in writing
  • Request debt validation
  • Agree to pay part of what you owe

1. Only communicate in writing

First, write a letter to AFNI, Inc. stating that you know your rights under the FDCPA and that you wish to receive only written communication about this debt in the future. If AFNI calls you, tell the agent you've requested written communication only and that the company should not be calling you.

When you communicate only in writing, you avoid phone calls and create a paper trail, so you have proof of any agreements you make with AFNI agents. On the phone, an agent may make promises other agents don't know about and won't keep. When you have a paper trail, you can remind the agency of its agreements with you. Therefore, it is always in your best interests to ask for written communication only.

2. Request debt validation

The FDCPA requires debt collectors to prove the debt is actually yours — if you request that they do so within 30 days of hearing from the agency for the first time. You could combine your request for debt validation with your request to have only written communication with AFNI. In response to your request for debt validation, AFNI must provide proof that your debt is accurate and properly assigned to you. If it can't provide this proof, AFNI must remove the negative item from your credit report.

When is debt not valid?

Collection agencies make money by buying consumer debt at a low price; sometimes they pay pennies on the dollar for debt. They always pay less than the actual debt amount. Then, they make a profit by collecting more on the debt than they paid to buy the debt.

Since they buy debt wholesale, collection companies don't always have complete and accurate information about your debt. This means AFNI may not have all the details about your debt and may not be able to prove it’s really your debt. So, send your debt validation letter and wait for a return letter.

When you receive the response, go over the information they have provided you. If the return letter includes incorrect information or there is important information missing, you can dispute the debt.

For this to work, you have to send the validation request letter within 30 days of initial contact with AFNI Collections. This is a firm deadline, so you should act immediately. If you don't seek validation within 30 days, you're essentially conceding the debt is yours.

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3. Agree to pay part of what you owe

If AFNI validates the debt, or you didn't ask for validation within 30 days, you’ll need to pay something for the credit bureaus to remove the negative credit entry. You can call the collection agency and try to negotiate. As stated above, AFNI Inc. probably bought your debt for a small percentage of the total debt you owed the original creditor. You can use this fact to your advantage because even if you pay only half the amount due, AFNI would make a nice profit from your account.

You could offer to pay 30% or 40% of the amount due, and there's a good chance the debt collector would be receptive to your request. AFNI may counter by asking you to pay 65% of the amount due. At that point, you could settle on paying half the total amount due.

Make your payment with strings attached

Even after you've agreed on the amount you'll pay AFNI, don't make your payment unless it agrees to remove any negative items it has posted to your credit report. At first, the agent may balk at this request, but your payment is your leverage in this negotiation. You should not make payment until AFNI agrees to this stipulation.

Remember, they can't prosecute you or even call you if you've asked them to stop. You have rights, and, ultimately, AFNI simply wants to make money. There's a good chance the agent will agree to your terms.

Get the entire agreement in writing

After AFNI's agent has agreed to your terms, they may ask for your credit card number to process payment. Again, you should not pay anything until you have a letter confirming that AFNI will consider the debt paid in full and remove negative items from your credit report in exchange for your payment. Once you have this agreement in writing, you can then pay the agreed-upon amount. You should pay by check because a cashed check provides legal proof that you've paid the debt, and you should never give AFNI access to your bank account for an Automated Clearing House transfer.

Payment could reset the statute of limitations

It is extremely important to get your agreement in writing and ensure that AFNI agrees to remove negative items from your credit report because, by making a payment on the debt, you're resetting the statute of limitations. Each state sets a statute of limitations on consumer debt. Once the statute expires, the creditor can no longer sue you in civil court for lack of payment. But when you make a payment on the debt, you reset the clock on your debt's statute to day 1, exposing yourself to a broader window for AFNI to take legal action against you.

Therefore, it is essential for you to use your payment to prompt AFNI to close your account and remove negative items from your credit history. After 30 days, you can get a fresh copy of your credit report and make sure AFNI has removed the entry. If it hasn’t, you can contact them again and remind them of the deal you made.

Do you need help with this?

If you would rather have a professional handle the collections agency and do not want to deal with the whole thing yourself, you could use a credit repair company like Credit Saint. Credit repair companies won't do anything you couldn't do yourself, but they work quickly and efficiently. They normally charge by the month, with an initial sign-up fee.

A credit repair company will take care of you, and it will usually get the collections agency to remove the negative items from your credit report more quickly than you could. Check out their website.

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FAQs about AFNI Inc.

What is AFNI Collections?

AFNI Collections has been in business since 1936. Often, AFNI buys old debt from cable TV companies and telecommunications firms like AT&T and Verizon, as well as from medical providers.

Is AFNI a legitimate company?

AFNI is legit; it's not a scam. If you're hearing from this company, it believes you owe money and won't stop contacting you and lowering your credit score, unless you deal directly with the problem. It employs over 7,700 people and has the resources to keep track of your case.

Where can I file a complaint about AFNI?

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) rates AFNI A-, but it bases this rating on the company's responsiveness to complaints — not to customer satisfaction. You can file complaints with the BBB, but if you believe AFNI has violated the law, you should report your experience to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which regulates debt collections.

Does AFNI report to all three credit bureaus?

Yes; your credit report at Experian, Equifax and TransUnion can include negative items from AFNI, pulling down your credit score with all three agencies. These negative items will also affect your FICO score.

Why does the same debt appear twice on a credit report?

Debt collection agencies buy debt from your original creditor. But if the original creditor reported your account as a charge-off, your credit report would include this negative item even after the creditor sells the debt. As a result, the same bad debt can impact your credit score twice. To fix this, you may need to send dispute letters to the credit bureaus informing them that you have resolved the debt.

What is AFNI Collections' contact information?

Phone: (866) 352-0479

Address for debt validation or dispute letters:

  • AFNI Collections
  • P.O. Box 3097
  • Bloomington, IL 61702-3427

Physical address AFNI headquarters:

  • 1310 Martin Luther King Drive
  • Bloomington, IL 61701-1465

Website address:

Update: This article has been updated to reflect AFNI’s number of employees, current BBB rating and their current contact information.

Disclaimer: This story was originally published on October 28, 2017, 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/