If you have heard from a debt collector called Southwest Credit Systems recently, you may already be aware of its entry on your credit report.
Having a collections account on your credit report can cause your score to drop for up to seven years — even if you pay the balance of the debt.
To prevent significant damage to your credit score, you need to remove the entry from your credit report entirely.
Bad credit can severely impact your financial future.
What is Southwest Credit Systems?
Southwest Credit Systems, LP is a small, legitimate debt collection agency headquartered in Carrollton, Texas, and it’s not a scam.
It provides accounts receivable management and consumer service solutions for:
- cable companies
- government agencies
- property management companies
- utility providers
- telecommunication companies
It may appear on your credit report under a variety of names such as SW Credit Systems, SWC Group LP or Southwest Credit.
While it’s a legitimate operation, Southwest Credit Systems is not popular among its customers.
It has had over 1,900 complaints lodged against it with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and over 490 in the last three years with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
These complaints are for things such as harassment, inaccurate reporting and failure to validate a debt, all of which are in violation of federal law.
If you experience any of these things, you may also consider filing a complaint.
Steps to remove Southwest Credit Systems from your credit report
Removing a collection entry from your credit report is simple but not easy. Through the steps outlined below, you can clean up your credit report and remove Southwest Credit Systems from your life once and for all.
- Understand your rights
- Request debt validation
- Negotiate a settlement
- Hire a professional
Understand your rights
Most people that deal with Southwest Credit Systems don’t realize that they have certain rights under the law that debt collectors may violate. Understanding your rights ahead of time can help you protect yourself from manipulation and provocation.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is federal legislation that prevents debt collectors from harassing or abusing their customers. It also allows customers to view the information in their credit report and dispute any information that is inaccurate.
Some of the actions that are forbidden under the FDCPA are:
- Contacting you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
- Calling you at work or at a time that you have said is inconvenient
- Contacting your family, friends or employer regarding your debt
- Using harassing or abusive language
- Threatening legal action that they can’t or won’t take
- Misrepresenting themselves when contacting you
- Misrepresenting information regarding your debt
If a Southwest Credit Systems collector commits any of these infractions when contacting you, tell them that they are in violation of the FDCPA and hang up. It's essential that you understand your rights under the FDCPA when you begin dealing with Southwest Credit Systems. Arming yourself with this knowledge can help you as you begin negotiating the details of your debt and credit entry.
Request debt validation
The next and most time-sensitive step when dealing with a debt collector is to request debt validation. You have a right to request this under the FDCPA, and Southwest Credit Systems must comply as long as you reach out within 30 days of first contact.
The debt collection process is not perfect. A lot of information can get lost in the transition from the original creditor to the debt collector. To confirm that Southwest Credit Systems has all the correct information about your debt, you will need to write a debt validation letter and send it to the company. This is a letter that asks for proof that it has the correct information about your debt and is qualified to collect it.
You can also dispute the collection with the credit agency using the advanced dispute method. For this to work, you will need to review a current copy of your credit report. Look closely at the Southwest Credit Systems entry and note any errors about your debt. This can include the balance, account number, date opened or closed, account or payment status or any other information that appears inaccurate.
If you find any information that is inaccurate, you can write an advanced credit dispute letter to demand that the agency removes the collection. This makes it more difficult for the credit agency to verify the collection, and this may cause it to remove the collection entirely.
Negotiate a settlement
If you fail to get the entry removed on a technicality, you may be able to make a pay-for-delete agreement with Southwest Credit Systems.
A pay-for-delete agreement is exactly what it sounds like. You agree to pay Southwest Credit Systems for a fraction of your debt in exchange for it ceasing reporting the debt to major credit bureaus. This can be a long shot, but it is an option that is worth pursuing.
First, you will need to negotiate with Southwest Credit Systems. Tell the debt collector that you will pay half of the debt in exchange for an entry deletion. You will need to go back and forth with them until you reach a settlement.
Once you work out a deal, get the agreement in writing from Southwest Credit Systems. This is important in terms of holding it accountable. If the company agrees to the deal over the phone but refuses to confirm it in writing, it’s almost certainly not going to comply with the arrangement.
After you receive the agreement in writing, make your first payment and check your credit report after 30 days. You should notice that Southwest Credit Systems has deleted the entry from your credit report. If not, reach out to them and the three credit reporting bureaus to remind them of your arrangement.
Work with a professional
If you would rather not deal with Southwest Credit Systems directly, you can always hire a credit repair company to remove the entry for you.
Credit repair companies help people remove inaccurate, incomplete or fraudulent entries from their credit reports. This can help you improve your credit score and get your financial goals back on track. It’s important to work with a reputable company to ensure that you are getting your money’s worth.
Southwest Credit Systems contact information
Here's a little contact information on this United States debt collector:
- Mailing Address: 4120 International Pkwy Ste 1100, Carrollton, TX 75007-1958
- Phone Number: (972) 300-1700, Toll Free: 844-759-1986 or 972-300-1700
- Website: swcgroup.com
- CEO: Jeff Hurt
Dealing with Southwest Credit Systems
Dealing with debt collectors is no one’s idea of an ideal pastime, but it is best to deal with them early on than to suffer the damage to your credit score. Improving your credit score involves good habits and patience. By following the steps above, you can minimize Southwest Credit Systems’ impact on your credit score and blood pressure.
Update: This article has been updated to reflect the current number of BBB and CFPB complaints against Southwest Credit Systems and the current contact information for Southwest Credit Systems has been updated.
Disclaimer: This story was originally published on September 18, 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/