Account Control Technology (ACT) is a large, aggressive, debt collection agency. They have over 800 employees and five offices nationwide.
They’re headquartered in Woodland Hills, California. And collect on a wide swathe of types of consumer debt including: financial services, education, government, utilities, telecom, cable, and many more.
If you’re currently dealing with Account Control Technology or have simply discovered them on your credit reports, you’re in the right place. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is federal legislation.
This is what regulates debt collectors behavior: what time of day they can call, what they can legally say, who they can share your information with, and much more. It’s wise to familiarize yourself with this.
In addition to the harassing phone calls, and demand letters, Account Control Technology is also going to report negative information on your credit reports. Along with charging you a sky-high interest rate on your balance, and collection fees.
This is legal and part and parcel of the debt collection industry. If they’re unable to collect payment, they can sell your account to yet another collection agency.
This new agency will start calling you, sending letters, and they’ll report even more negative information on your credit reports. And the most common result of unpaid collections is a civil lawsuit.
In other words, they’ll sue you in a civil court for the alleged debt. This can be Account Control Technology or another collection agency. Their goal is to get a judgement against you.
Because this allows them to potentially garnish your wages, place liens against you and or your property, and even asset seizure. The exact collection methods will vary by state, so investigate your local legislation for the specifics of exactly what they can do in your state of residence.
Look, when most people discover they have a debt in collections they immediately pay it off believing this is how to improve credit score information. This is what Account Control Technology wants you to do!
Just paying off collections will not fix your credit score. All it’s going to do is change the status of the collection mark on your credit reports to a paid collection. This is still a bad credit mark and it’s going to lower your credit score.
Account Control Technology, Inc.
P.O. Box 8012
Canoga Park, CA 91309
How To Pay Off ACT Collections
1. Request Debt Validation
The first step when paying off ACT collections or any collection agency is to request debt validation on your account. This is your right, granted by the FDCPA.
You should make your request in writing and using certified mail, return receipt requested. This will give you evidence, they received your validation request.
Essentially we’re asking Account Control Technology to first prove this is actually your account. After all, we didn’t do any business directly with ACT.
They’re required to respond by providing you with documents and evidence that proves this is, in fact, your account, they own the rights to it, the balance, the original lender, etc. If they fail to validate your account, then it’s legally forgiven.
2. Statute of Limitations
Listen, for many types of consumer debt you’re not legally responsible for payment forever. The statute of limitations is legislation that puts a time window on how long consumers are legally responsible for payment.
This is a state law, and does vary so investigate your local listings. Generally, this time window is about six years from the date of last activity.
If your account is validated, you’ll want to search the documents they send you to find your date of last activity. In addition to what type of account is your debt for?
One of the dirtiest debt collection industry tactics is to re-age consumer accounts. Often this is done illegally and it’s so they don’t have to forgive your debt. There are countless reports of companies trying to collect on debts long past the statute of limitations expired.
It’s important to note, Account Control Technology is a huge collection agency that performs a lot of work on defaulted federal student loans. Federal student loans and federal taxes are a few of the exceptions to the statute of limitations.
To clarify, if you’re in default on student loans through the federal government or guaranteed by the federal government, this debt can last forever. It’s exempt and not governed by the statute of limitations.
However private student loans, credit cards, telecom, cable, utilities, medical collections, and the overwhelming majority of types of consumer debt are regulated by the statute of limitations. Once this time window runs out, it only means the debt is no longer legally binding.
In other words, they can still report negative information on your credit reports about the account. And you may even still be sued for the debt. However, if you are sued, the statute of limitations expiration is your defense in court.
It’s not uncommon for collection agencies to sue consumers for debts way past the statute of limitations, and even winning. This is because most people, don’t show up in court to defend themselves from lawsuits filed by collection agencies.
This results in a default judgement, largely because the evidence isn’t even examined if the defendant doesn’t appear in court. The worst part is a judgement on credit report file will obliterate your creditworthiness, not to mention potentially jeopardizing your wages and assets.
3. Negotiate a Settlement Agreement
If your account is valid, and within the statute of limitations, your next step is to negotiate a settlement agreement directly with Account Control Technology. The first part of your agreement is your payment offer.
It’s essential to remember what we shared at the beginning of this article. When ACT comes into possession of your account, their first step is to slap you with a very high-interest rate, and collection fees.
In the image to the right, you’ll see a collection letter from ACT to one of our members for a defaulted student loan. You can see circled in the image the principal balance of a little over $56,000, along with the continuing or ongoing interest fee of over $12,000, and a collection fee of almost $13,000.
Our member’s balance increased by almost 50% or just short of $25,000 on a $56,000 debt. That’s absurd. And one of the reasons, you shouldn’t just pay off collections.
Because you can always negotiate to settle your debt for less. They assess these ongoing fees in part to pressure you into contacting them. And they anticipate settling your account for much less than the total balance.
The exact amount you’ll have to pay will depend on the age of your account, and the type of your debt. For example with a defaulted federal student loan, you won’t have as much room for negotiation, as with a credit card charge off.
With most types of debt, you’ll be able to settle your account for somewhere in the ballpark of 20% to 40% of the total balance. For instance, with a $2,000 debt, you may be able to settle for just 30% or $600.
This second part of your agreement is mission critical, because if you just pay right now, you’re only going to change the status of the collection on credit report. It’ll be changed to a paid collection.
This is still going to cause you to have a bad credit score. Anthony Sprauve, a spokesman for FICO, says a collection on your credit reports can damage your credit score by up to 100 points.
We must get Account Control Technology to agree that in exchange for your payment, they’ll stop reporting your account information to all three credit bureaus. It’s a lot easier for them to agree to stop reporting your account information, versus deleting the negative mark.
We’ve discovered virtually no collection agencies will agree to a pay for delete. This is a frequently suggested method of dealing with collection agencies, the idea being you pay them to delete the item from your credit reports.
You’re welcome to try this method, but we can virtually guarantee it won’t be successful. It creates a dangerous precedent, however, they will happily agree to only stop reporting your account information.
4. Remove Collections From Credit Report
Next, we’re going to look at removing collections from credit report files because this item is damaging your credit score. To do this, we’ll need to use more of your consumer rights, specifically those granted by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
This federal legislation gives you the right to challenge and dispute credit report items, you believe are inaccurate, misleading, or made in error. Naturally, we’re going to dispute the ACT collections mark.
You can file your credit bureau dispute online, over the phone, or by mail. Once the credit bureaus get your dispute and deem it valid, they’re required to investigate the item.
During which they’ll contact Account Control Technology and ask them to verify your account. As per your settlement agreement ACT will not verify your account during the credit bureaus investigation.
To comply with the FCRA, this means the credit bureaus must remove this collection listing from your credit reports. This is how to clear bad credit legally by using your consumer rights because any item that can’t be verified must be removed from your credit history.
Many folks are intimidated by collection agencies, and debt collectors want you to be. They want you to be scared, fearful, and anxious because then they have the leverage.
And will use it to squeeze every penny they can out of you. Despite every last alphabet soup law being on the books to protect you the consumer. None of these laws are to protect the credit bureaus or collection agencies, that we guarantee.
At the end of the day, your credit score is a lot like your Grade Point Average (GPA) in glory school days past. It doesn’t matter if you’re acing all your classes, if you’re failing underwater basket weaving, because this negative mark is going to ruin your overall GPA.
This is also true of your credit score. FICO is very transparent and open about sharing this fact. This is why it’s of such paramount importance to clean credit report dings, blemishes, and remove any negative items. We encourage our members to consider professional, legal, and legitimate credit repair companies to help.
Because in 2016 alone, over 9 million negative items were removed from consumer’s credit reports. One of the best firms is The Credit Pros. They’ve helped their client’s successfully remove collections, late payments, charge offs, judgements, liens, and so many more negative credit report items.
Get a free credit consultation with a certified FICO professional by calling toll-free 1-877-418-7596. And for more tips, techniques, and strategies about how to get your credit score up with Dan Willis, sign up for our free newsletter and join our congregation.
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