If you default on a private student loan or a federal student loan from the U.S. Department of Education, the creditor may transfer your debt to a third-party debt collector, such as Coast Professional, to pursue payments. Coast Professional will then open a collection account on your credit report and start contacting you persistently to coerce payments from you.
A collection account on your credit report can damage your score for up to seven years, even if you pay the debt. To mend your credit score, you must remove the account from your credit report. If you’re experiencing financial hardships and want to get your credit score back on track, this article explains how to remove Coast Professional from your credit report.
What is Coast Professional?
Coast Professional, or CPI, is a professional, medium-sized debt collection company in the U.S. Originating in 2004, its current headquarters are in Geneseo, New York. Coast Professional specializes in recovering government and higher education debt. It may contact you if you fall behind on your student loan or government fine payments.
Is Coast Professional legit?
Coast Professional is a legitimate collection agency, but it doesn’t have a positive reputation with its customers. There are over 20 complaints against it on file with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for 2021 and 60 complaints in the last three years with the Better Business Bureau. These complaints relate to Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) violations, such as the inaccurate reporting of debt information, harassment and failing to respond to debt verification requests.
Steps to remove Coast Professional from your credit report
Unfortunately, paying the debt in full won’t remove Coast Professional from your credit report; the account entry will simply change from active to paid. Future lenders will still see this account on your credit report and consider it when making loan decisions, which is why it’s important to remove it. You can follow these steps to delete a Coast Professional collection account from your credit report.
- Understand your rights
- Verify the debt
- Negotiate a pay-for-delete agreement
- Work with a professional
Understand your rights
Many consumers don’t realize that there are laws, such as the FDCPA, that regulate what debt collectors can and can’t do. The FDCPA restricts debt collection practices to protect consumers from harassment and abuse. It keeps debt collectors honest, professional and courteous, and prohibits them from:
- Contacting you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
- Harassing you or anyone else in regard to the debt
- Continuing to call you after you ask them to stop
- Threatening legal action such as wage garnishment that they can’t or won’t take
- Contacting you at your place of work
- Using abusive, aggressive or profane language
- Misrepresenting themselves when contacting you
- Misrepresenting information regarding the debt
- Ignoring a request for debt validation
Any violation that Coast Professional commits in its dealings with you may entitle you to a statutory damages payment. This might require legal counsel, but it will stop the harassment, and Coast Professional may have to reimburse your attorney fees in addition to paying damages.
Verify the debt
One of the most important steps when dealing with a debt collector is verifying the debt. You can ask Coast Professional to prove that a debt belongs to you by sending it a debt validation letter formally requesting verification of all information relating to the debt.
Make sure you send the letter through U.S. Mail and request a return receipt in case Coast Professional ignores it or claims it didn’t receive it. Debt collectors are notoriously deceitful, so it’s important to have this documentation. To verify the debt, ask for the following information:
- The name of the original creditor
- The amount of the debt
- The age of the debt and the date of the last payment
If any of the information it has on file is inaccurate, Coast Professional must delete the collection account from your report with the three major credit bureaus. This can get you out of having to make payments altogether.
You need to request debt validation within 30 days of your first contact with a debt collection agency. Coast Professional may not respond to your request if it receives your letter after the 30-day period, so send it ASAP if you want to dispute the debt.
Negotiate a pay-for-delete agreement
If Coast Professional validates the debt, your next step is to negotiate a settlement in exchange for deletion. This can stop wage garnishment letters if you act quickly. You’ll need to reach an agreement with Coast Professional regarding how much you’ll pay in exchange for deletion.
Coast Professional has a loan rehabilitation program that requires you to make nine consecutive monthly payments over a 10-month period. The monthly payment amount will vary according to your income, tax documents and additional fees. The balance of the debt is often higher with the extra fees and penalties, so you’ll probably get away with paying less than the full amount. Consider offering to pay half and negotiate from there.
Once you reach an agreement with Coast Professional, ask for the settlement in writing, and don’t make a payment until you receive it. Check your credit report with the major credit bureaus 30 days after making your first payment. If the Coast Professional entry still appears, file a dispute with the credit bureaus, and contact Coast Professional to remind it of your agreement and to inform it that you won’t make another payment until it deletes the entry from your credit report.
Work with a professional
If this is too much for you to handle on your own, you can ask a highly regarded credit repair company, such as Lexington Law, to act on your behalf and remove the negative entry from your credit report.
Coast Professional contact information
You can contact Coast Professional at:
4273 Volunteer Road
Geneseo, NY 14454-9444
214 Expo Circle
West Monroe, LA 71292
Phone number: 800-231-0225
Dealing with Coast Professional
No one enjoys dealing with debt collectors, but there are strategies to make it easier. By taking the necessary steps before you make payments on your debt, you can ensure the deletion of a Coast Professional collection account from your credit report.
Update: This article has been updated to reflect the current number of BBB and CFPB complaints against Coast Professional. Contact information for Coast Professional has been updated and unverifiable information has been removed.
Disclaimer: This story was originally published on July 6, 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/