Is AWA Collections flooding your phone and mailbox, claiming you owe money? Or did a new entry from this collection agency just appear on your credit report? Either way, you can take action to minimize damage to your credit score while also stopping the company’s phone calls and letters.
If you’re wondering how best to proceed with a debt collector like AWA Collections, we’ve got you covered.
What is AWA Collections?
AWA Collections isn’t a well-known name, but it is a legitimate company. Short for Adler Wallach & Associates, Inc., AWA is a small debt collector that’s been operating since 1993, according to its BBB profile.
AWA’s corporate offices are on W. Katella Ave. in Orange, California, while its client services are based in Dickson, Tennessee.
You can contact AWA Collections at their mailing address:
100 Church Street
Dickson, TN 37055
If you’re planning to write or call AWA collections, first check out our top tips for how to negotiate and what to ask for.
Steps to remove AWA Collections from your credit report
If you have collections entries on your credit report, you can:
- Write a debt validation letter
- Pay to have the entry deleted
- Hire a professional credit repair company
Write a debt validation letter
According to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), a debt collector can’t require payment from you without first proving that you owe the debt. From the first time AWA contacts you, you have 30 days to dispute your debt and ask for more information.
You might get the negative item deleted from your credit profile using nothing more than a debt validation letter, as this will force AWA to investigate your dispute. If the negative items from AWA relate to an error, sending a debt validation letter should clear up the problem.
However, even if the investigation proves that you do owe the debt, this strategy could still help. Agencies like AWA are third-party debt collectors. This means they might not have access to your original creditor's full records of your debt and so may not be able to prove you owe the money.
If they can't prove you owe the money, they have to update the three main credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion — to delete your negative items. That means they’ll stop calling and sending you letters, too. You could still pay off the balance whenever you're able, but in the meantime, AWA's collections account wouldn't keep pulling down your score.
If AWA Collections finds the documentation it needs to prove you owe the debt, you’ll need to move on to the next step: negotiation.
Negotiate a payment
Let's say AWA has validated your debt or has already been contacting you for longer than a month. In this case, you'll need to make a payment to get AWA Collection Services off your back.
However, paying off the balance won’t be sufficient to remove the item from your credit report; it’ll remain there for up to seven years. Instead, you need to get the collection agency to agree, in writing, to withdraw its collections account from your credit report in exchange for your payment. This is known as a pay-to-delete arrangement.
When you enter negotiations with AWA, start by asking if the agency will accept 50% of what you owe to close your account and delete its negative items from your credit history.
There’s a chance you’ll be able to get the negative item removed at a negotiated rate. However, do bear in mind that many companies do not engage in this practice, as it’s frowned upon by credit agencies.
If you succeed in negotiating a pay-for-delete arrangement, you should see the negative item deleted from your credit report within a month of making your payment. Even if the collections agency doesn’t agree to this arrangement, you may find that it will still accept 50% as settlement of the debt.
Hire a professional credit repair company
If you don't have time to write debt validation letters or call AWA Collections to negotiate a pay-for-delete agreement, you may want to bring in the professionals.
Credit repair companies can handle every element of repairing your credit, even if your problems go deeper than a collections entry or two.
They can work on your behalf to ensure that AWA Collections follows the FDCPA in its dealings with you, and they’ll do what it takes to get them off your credit report — assuming it's possible to do so.
Credit repair companies can also help with issues like:
- Charge offs
Their assistance can be key to recovering from identity theft, which could be the reason for negative entries appearing on your credit report in the first place.
Whatever your credit needs are, take a look at our list of the best credit repair companies to choose one that’s a good fit for you.
How does AWA Collections work?
AWA Collections is a one-stop resource for businesses. Its services include:
- Early out services
- Third-party debt collections
- Litigation filing and judgments
- Credit Bureau Reporting
That means this collection agency could contact you at multiple stages of the process, even if the debt has not yet reached the collections stage.
Companies often hire third-party debt collectors to collect unpaid debts. They may also have purchased your debt from your original creditors for pennies on the dollar.
What kind of debt does AWA Collect?
AWA Collections takes on third-party debt from a variety of creditors, including:
- Government agencies
- Hospitals and clinics
- Banks and other financial service providers
- Public utility providers
- Telecommunications providers
So if you have a past-due balance from just about anywhere, your creditors may call AWA Collections in to help collect your debt.
Why does AWA Collections hurt my credit?
Once your debt reaches the collections stage, a negative item will probably appear on your credit report. Collections entries factor into your payment history, which accounts for a massive 35% of your overall credit score.
These entries will remain on your report for seven years, having more of an effect on your score in the first few years. Along with hurting your credit score, collections accounts can interfere with your day-to-day life. You can expect to receive regular phone calls, letters, and automated messages from AWA until you make a payment.
While it may seem like paying AWA Collections the total amount you owe is the best solution, it won’t help your credit rating.
Dealing with AWA collections
Step one for dealing with any debt collection agency is to learn your consumer rights, which are included in the federal FDCPA.
The FDCPA is a law that has your best interests at heart. It provides you with several protections that ensure debt collectors work ethically.
This means that:
- Debt collectors can only contact you between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. in your time zone
- Collection agencies can’t share information about you with your employer, family, or friends
- These agencies must validate any debts they attempt to collect
- They cannot threaten to take illegal actions against you
AWA has been the subject of a slew of consumer complaints related to the issues above as well as inaccurate reporting, as you can see on its Better Business Bureau profile and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) website.
Communicate in writing
The FDCPA lets you set the terms of your communications with AWA. Specifically, you can request that it communicate with you only in writing. This will give you a paper trail you can refer to later if you need to show proof of any agreements or actions.
In most cases, we recommend avoiding talking to AWA’s representatives over the phone. Write letters instead. However, if you're negotiating a pay-for-delete agreement, as described above, making a phone call can speed up your discussions.
If you succeed in your negotiations, make sure you get your agreement in writing before making any payment. Otherwise, the collection agency could take your money but not keep its promise of removing its negative items from your credit report.
Will AWA Collections sue me?
AWA Collections has the right to sue debtors to collect on a debt. However, ordinarily, debt collectors won't resort to legal action since it tends to cost more than they would receive in payment of the debt.
Just to be clear: A collection agency (or any other kind of debt collector) cannot have you arrested or prosecuted in the criminal justice system. If you feel threatened by a collection agent, you should file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Update: This article has been updated to reflect current contact information for AWA Collections.
Disclaimer: This story was originally published on October 2, 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/