If Hunter Warfield, Inc., has appeared on your credit report, you probably have an old debt. It’s likely that Hunter Warfield bought the old debt from your original creditor. Alternatively, Hunter Warfield could have received your name and contact information by mistake when it bought a bundle of old accounts from an apartment complex you once lived in. Either way, this debt collector based in Tampa, Florida now wants you to pay.
A collections account wreaks havoc on your credit report, damaging your credit score for up to seven years. Below, you'll find our guide to removing Hunter Warfield from your credit report and getting your credit score back on track.
What is Hunter Warfield?
Hunter Warfield is a debt collection company. That means it buys a variety of debt, including:
- Medical debt
- Credit card debt
- Unpaid utility bills
- Property management debt
The agency may appear as “hwarfield” on your credit report.
When Hunter Warfield buys an old debt, the third-party debt collection agency pays a low rate — pennies or nickels on the dollar. When you pay the debt, the agency makes a profit. Every penny you pay, in addition to Hunter Warfield's debt-purchase price, goes directly to the agency's bottom line.
If Hunter Warfield has appeared on your credit report, you've likely already heard from one of its agents. This agency has a reputation for incessant telephone calls. This is one reason why so many people dread working with collection agencies.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has received nearly 2,000 complaints about Hunter Warfield, while the Better Business Bureau (BBB) has received more than 430 in the last three years. Most of these complaints cite harassment, inaccurate reporting and failure to validate debts.
Remove Hunter Warfield from your credit
Removing negative entries from your credit report is the best way to get your credit score back on track. A collections account could pull down your credit score by as much as 100 points. If you follow these directions quickly and thoroughly, you may be able to remove Hunter Warfield's negative credit items without paying anything. Or, if you do owe some money, you could remove this negative credit mark by paying just a fraction of the balance due. Removing collections from your credit report will help you build credit faster.
Here are the steps if you're ready to learn how to remove Hunter Warfield from your credit report:
- Know your rights
- Get everything in writing
- Validate the debt
- Dispute the debt
- Establish payment methods in advance
- Negotiate a settlement
- Seek professional help
Know your rights
The idea of sending letters to a debt collection agency may sound inefficient and overly complicated. Nevertheless, you should communicate only through letters when dealing with Hunter Warfield.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) gives you the right to choose how Hunter Warfield communicates with you. So, you should insist it only communicates with you through letters. This is because when you talk to a debt collector over the phone and come to an agreement, the debt collector may fail to document the agreement, and the conversation may as well never have happened. Once you've held up your end of the bargain and made your payments, the collections agency needs to hold up its end, and documentation keeps them accountable.
Additionally, debt collectors aren't legally allowed to:
- Contact you at work if you tell them it's against your company policies
- Text or email you if you ask them not to
- Withhold details about the debt
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a vital law to familiarize yourself with, as it lists in detail your rights to debtors. You can take legal action against a debt collector if they violate these laws.
Get everything in writing
Unless you have your agreement in writing, the debt collection agency can forget or choose to ignore it. Essentially, it’s your word against theirs. Hunter Warfield Collections has one of the highest recovery rates in the debt collection business, so you can expect its revenue recovery strategy to be aggressive. If your agent insists on making phone calls, inform the agency that it is violating the FDCPA and hang up.
Demand everything in writing from this point on, and keep every piece of communication you receive from Hunter Warfield. Every correspondence serves as evidence when you enter the negotiation process. These communications also serve as a tool to prevent additional harassment, as an agent will not break the law in a letter you could forward to the CFPB.
Validate the debt
There is no reason to pay a debt that isn't yours. That’s why you should make sure that you actually owe the debt before paying it. You can do this through a validation process.
Ask for documentation
The first step in the process is to send a debt validation letter to Hunter Warfield. Debt collectors obtain inaccurate debt all the time. It's part of the business model. They aren't worried about accuracy because they bought the debt, and your payment will translate into profit.
Sadly, many consumers don’t realize they never actually owed the debt to begin with. These consumers will pay an alleged debt in hopes of stopping the harassing phone calls. However, the FDCPA gives you the right to verify whether an alleged debt belongs to you. This ensures a third-party collection agency has accurate information.
If the debt isn’t yours, the agency will have to dismiss it. You won’t have to pay, and Hunter Warfield will have to remove the negative credit items within 30 days.
Do not ignore Hunter Warfield when they first contact you. This will only make things worse. After Hunter Warfield first contacts you, you have only 30 days to send a debt validation letter. If you wait longer than that, they are not obliged to respond to you.
When you send the debt validation letter, request a return receipt so that you can verify the agency received your letter. You should hear back in about 30 days with documents and proof that the debt is yours. If Hunter Warfield can’t validate your debt, they must contact all three major credit bureaus and remove the debt. This will solve your problem.
Check if the statute of limitations on the debt has expired
While not every state has statutes of limitations for debt collections, many do. These laws prevent debt collectors from pursuing any debt that is over a certain age. States with these laws generally limit the collection period to three to six years.
Verify if the agency is licensed to collect debt in your state
Hunter Warfield advertises that it is licensed nationwide. This firm can almost certainly attempt to collect a debt regardless of the state you live in.
Dispute the debt
After receiving the validation letter, you might discover that the debt is not yours. If this is the case, you have the legal right to dispute the debt. Disputing a debt means contacting each credit reporting bureau and following the steps each requires.
Provide your personal information when writing your dispute letters, including your name, address and phone number. Next, write a short summary about the debt you're disputing and include any supporting documents. The credit reporting bureaus have a legal duty to investigate every debt a consumer disputes.
You can get Hunter Warfield removed from credit if you win the dispute.
Credit reporting bureau contact
You can contact each bureau by phone or mail. The best option is to mail a dispute letter to each one through certified mail. Here is the contact information for the three main bureaus.
You can reach them by phone at 1-866-349-5191 or mail your disputes to:
Equifax Information Services LLC
P.O. Box 740256
Atlanta, GA 30374-0256
You can reach them by phone at 1-888-349-3742 or mail your disputes to:
P.O. Box 4500
Allen, TX 75013
You can reach them by phone at 1-833-395-6941 or mail your disputes to:
Transunion Consumer Solutions
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016-2000
Establish payment methods in advance
The validation letter you receive might prove that it is your debt. You still have a few options if this is the case. First, establish how to pay the debt. Hunter Warfield accepts payments by check or credit card.
Negotiate a payment plan
If Hunter Warfield confirms the debt is yours, the next step is to negotiate a settlement with the agency.
You should negotiate a pay-for-delete settlement.
The collection agency should agree to stop reporting your debt to the three major credit bureaus in exchange for your payment. Notice that this does not say “full payment.” Hunter Warfield does not volunteer this information, but it almost always accepts less than the full amount. Any amount you pay pads the company's bottom line.
You should start by offering to pay half the debt in exchange for deletion. You can work from there to come up with a pay-for-delete agreement that both parties will accept. Once you have both accepted the terms, you should request that Hunter Warfield provides the official agreement in writing. Do not make a single payment until you receive this agreement in the mail.
Once the contract arrives, you can make your first payment to Hunter Warfield. After 30 days, check your credit report with all three major credit bureaus. You should notice that Hunter Warfield has removed the collection entry from your report. If it is still there, contact Hunter Warfield and remind them of your agreement. Getting the debt removed will improve your credit score.
Seek professional help
The steps above could put your financial life on the mend within a couple of months. However, you'll have to be persistent, thorough and determined. When you have a job, a family and other everyday concerns, finding the time to write and mail letters and follow up with credit bureaus add a lot of stress.
If you'd rather not deal with Hunter Warfield directly, you could always look for companies to repair credit to do the legwork. Some law firms also offer assistance with debt collections. Credit Saint has plenty of experience in and success at removing negative entries from credit reports. Credit repair companies won't do anything you couldn't do yourself, but they deal with revenue recovery firms every day and can get results quickly and efficiently.
You'll have to pay a monthly fee plus a one-time setup fee. You will probably spend $500 to $600 over the course of four months to repair your credit score. With the right steps and some time, you’ll have your score back on track. Some credit repair companies offer free consultations. While they don't offer legal advice, they can explain their services, benefits and disclaimers before you hire them.
Does the law protect my rights?
Debt collectors prefer that you don’t know your rights. When you have a shaky knowledge of your rights, you're more likely to respond to your fear with immediate payment. If your anxiety doesn't prompt you to pay right away, debt collectors will keep calling. Every time you pick up your phone, you see missed calls from debt collectors.
When you don't have the money to pay, either because the amount due is overwhelming or you're out of work, you may want to ignore the calls until they go away. You shouldn’t do this. You have rights that allow you to take control of the situation. These laws exist to make sure you don't have to endure abuse, threats and fear-based tactics.
The FDCPA is a federal law that prevents debt collectors from:
- Contacting you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m
- Continuing to call you after you ask them to stop
- Harassing you or anyone else regarding a debt
- Using abusive, aggressive or profane language
- Misrepresenting themselves or information regarding a debt
- Ignoring a request for debt validation requested within the first 30 days
Before dealing with Hunter Warfield or any other debt collection agency, understand your rights under the FDCPA. Arming yourself with knowledge of the law is the best way to protect yourself.
Removing Hunter Warfield Debt FAQ
How do I contact Hunter Warfield?
Is Hunter Warfield a scam?
How did Hunter Warfield get my phone number?
Can Hunter Warfield Collections sue me?
Can a debt collector or creditor prosecute me for old debt?
Fear that the police will arrest you or the debt collector will visit you at home or work can cause you to make an immediate payment. But this payment may not remove the negative items from your credit score. Never make any payments to a collection agency until you have a written agreement that your payment will remove the negative entries from your credit history.
Where can I complain about Hunter Warfield?
If you believe a debt collector has violated the FDCPA, the CFPB could fine the collections agency $1,000 per violation.
Update: This article has been updated to reflect the number of current BBB complaints against Hunter Warfield and provide their current contact information.
Disclaimer: This story was originally published on July 14, 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/