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If you receive repeated phone calls from Sunrise Credit Services, it’s probably pursuing you for an old debt. Sunrise Credit Services is a legitimate debt collector and not a scam. Old creditors, such as AT&T or a big bank creditor, hire it to collect debt payments from you. It can also purchase a debt to profit off your payments. Either way, it’s legal for it to collect the debt once it opens a collection account on your credit report.

This entry can destroy your credit score and negatively impact future financial decisions. Having a collection account on your credit report is extraordinarily damaging and will impact your score for up to seven years if you don’t remove it. The only way to get your credit score back on track is to remove the collection entry as soon as you can.

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What is Sunrise Credit Services?

Originally founded in 1975, Sunrise Credit Services, Inc. is a debt collection agency or accounts receivable management firm. It employs over 500 employees overseen by its CEO, Diane Doane. It's part of a larger umbrella company, Sunrise Family of Companies, which includes NetTel USA and Sunrise Capital Management, Inc. Its headquarters are in Farmingdale, New York, and it’s a late-stage debt collector, which means it may purchase the right to collect a debt from the original creditor.

Sunrise Credit Services collects a variety of debts, including:

  • payday loans
  • credit card debt
  • installment loans
  • auto loans
  • student loans
  • healthcare debt

Although Sunrise Credit Services is a legitimate debt collector, its customers don’t think highly of it.

Sunrise Credit Services currently has over 600 filed complaints with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and over 250 in the last three years with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). These complaints relate to inaccurate reporting, harassment and other Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) violations. This article will describe what constitutes an FDCPA violation and when you need to file a complaint.

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Steps to remove Sunrise Credit Services from your credit report

So, how do you go about removing a collection account from your credit report? Here are the essential steps to take to ensure that Sunrise Credit Services stops reporting the debt to major collection bureaus:

  • Understand your rights
  • Request a goodwill deletion
  • Validate the debt
  • Negotiate a pay-for-delete agreement

Understand your rights

No one enjoys dealing with debt collectors because they’re often rude and aggressive. Debt collectors, such as Sunrise Credit Services, use questionable tactics to get you to pay a debt. However, many of these tactics are actually unlawful under the FDCPA. The FDCPA is federal legislation that protects you from harassment, abuse and deception from debt collectors. It prohibits practices including:

  • Harassing you by telephone
  • Using profane or abusive language
  • Misrepresenting themselves when communicating with you
  • Reporting false information to credit bureaus
  • Contacting your friends, family or employer regarding your debt
  • Calling before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
  • Calling after you request that they only contact you through U.S. Mail

Most debt collectors assume that customers aren’t aware of their rights and will treat them poorly in order to coerce payments. However, they will stop if you call them out on their bad behavior. This is why it’s important to understand what your rights are under the FDCPA. By educating yourself, you can make dealing with Sunrise Credit Services easier.

Request a goodwill deletion

If you pay off the debt, you should ask Sunrise Credit Services to delete the entry out of benevolence. This is a goodwill deletion, and it’s a common tactic people use when they pay their debt and want to get back into the good graces of creditors. Sunrise Credit Services may agree to do this for you if you’re generally a good customer and have a relatively clean credit history.

To request a goodwill deletion, you’ll need to write a letter explaining your late payment. If you lost your job or source of income for some reason, it’s a good idea to mention this. Anything that can inspire sympathy from the debt collector is worth including in your letter. Make sure you send your letter via USPS Certified Mail to create a paper trail for your records.

Be polite and apologetic in your letter rather than angry and demanding. After all, Sunrise Credit Services could do you a favor by granting you a goodwill deletion. As the old saying goes, you’ll catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

Validate the debt

If your debt is outstanding and the company won’t give you a goodwill deletion, you can try to get the entry deleted on a technicality. You can do this by looking for inaccurate or incomplete information through a debt validation request. Although third on this list of steps, it’s really the first thing you should do when you hear from a debt collector.

The FDCPA allows you to ask a debt collector to verify that the debt belongs to you before you make any payments on it. Unfortunately, you only have 30 days after they first contact you to do this, so don’t procrastinate.

You’ll need to write a debt validation letter and send it via USPS Certified Mail. Debt collectors are notorious for saying anything to get you to pay a debt, so make sure you communicate in writing and not via phone calls. This letter will ask Sunrise Credit Services to confirm various details of the debt, such as the name, date and balance of the debt. It will also ask them to prove that they have authorization to collect the debt.

Sunrise Credit Services should respond to your debt validation letter and provide documentation that proves the debt is yours. Read through these papers with a fine-toothed comb, and make a note of any information that seems inaccurate. If you see anything that doesn’t match up, file a dispute with the three major credit bureaus and demand that Sunrise Credit Services closes the account. This can get you out of paying the debt altogether.

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Negotiate a settlement

If the debt does belong to you, your next step is to negotiate a pay-for-delete settlement with Sunrise Credit Services. A pay-for-delete settlement is when the debt collector agrees to stop reporting your debt in exchange for payment. Sunrise Credit Services may even accept less than the full amount, but this will require negotiation.

  • You may start by offering to pay Sunrise Credit Services half of the total balance and go from there. Once you reach a compromise, ask them to provide the details of the agreement in writing. Tell them that you won’t make a payment until they do so.
  • After you receive the contract from Sunrise Credit Services, make your first payment and then check your credit report after 30 days. You should notice the Sunrise Credit Services entry is no longer present on your credit report. If it’s still there, reach out to them and remind them of your agreement. Let them know that you have proof in writing and won’t make another payment until the entry is gone.

Dealing with Sunrise Credit Services

If all else fails, you can always seek the help of a credit repair company, many of which will offer free case review consultations. A credit repair company specializes in identifying and removing negative entries from credit reports. It handles all negotiations with the debt collector so that you don’t have to. It can also review your current financial habits and show you ways to improve your score through everyday practices.

It’s important to work with a reliable credit report company to ensure that you’re getting your money’s worth. Improving your credit score is a journey, and the aim of this article is to help you along the way.

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Sunrise Credit Services contact information

You can contact Sunrise Credit Services at:

  • Mailing address: 8 Corporate Center Drive, Melville, New York 11747
  • Phone number: 800-208-8565 or 800-645-9824
  • Website: sunrisecreditservices.com
  • BBB Rating: The BBB gives Sunrise Credit Services an A- rating; however, it has over 250 complaints against it on file in the last three years. Customer reviews show a one-out-of-five-star rating, with recent posts concerning Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and FDCPA violations, harassment and invalid credit reporting.

In summary

COVID-19 plunged the U.S. into an economic crisis, and many Americans are choosing between buying groceries and paying rent and other bills. If a collection account appears on your credit report, don't fret. Follow the steps above and you will manage.

Update: This article has been updated to reflect the current number of BBB and CFPB complaints against Sunrise Credit Services. It also updates the BBB current rating and the current contact information for Sunrise Credit Services.

Disclaimer: This story was originally published on September 9, 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/