Are you getting a flood of phone calls, or letters from Coast Professional? Have you discovered negative information on your credit reports?
If so, you’re in the right place. Coast Professional, Inc. is a large, third-party debt collection agency. They were founded in 1976.
Their corporate headquarters are located in Geneseo, New York with their main offices in West Monroe, Louisiana and additional satellite offices nationwide. They specialize in servicing government, and higher education debt.
This includes federal and private student loans, tuition, housing charges, taxes, licensing fees, and many more types. According to their website, they provide services to over 200 government institutions, universities, and guaranty agencies.
The purpose of this article is to share what exactly Coast Professional can do to collect this alleged debt. Along with how to exercise your rights as a consumer, and protect yourself, both your money and your creditworthiness.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is federal legislation passed by Congress with the intention of protecting you and all consumers from aggressive debt collectors. This is the rules and regulations.
In brief, it says debt collectors are required to be honest, up-front, and straightforward. They’re not supposed to lie, deceive, or manipulate. And they should provide you with a modicum of respect and dignity.
Of course, the FDCPA says much more, and it’s worth a detailed review at your convenience. Full disclosure, this federal legislation is broken just about as often as our drug laws. Every year debt collectors are fined by our government for violating the FDCPA.
Will Paying Off Coast Professional Collections Help My Credit?
The most pressing concern for many folks is will paying off collections help my credit? It makes sense, and it should. But as of 2018, no it won’t.
You see, the only thing that happens if all you do is pay collections, and nothing more, is a change in the status of that item on your credit reports. It’ll be changed to a paid collection.
This is still a negative, damaging item to have. And it’s guaranteed to lower your credit score. Anthony Sprauve, a spokesman for FICO, says collections on your credit reports can damage and drag your score down by as much as 100 points.
Listen, the key to get your credit score up is to remove this negative item from your credit reports, entirely. And for some folks, this may require paying off collections, but only after first performing the necessary due diligence and following the four tips in this article.
Coast Professional Collection Methods
Naturally, you’ll be receiving phone calls, letters, and Coast Professional will also report negative information on your credit reports. They can also inflate your total balance by charging you an astronomical interest rate, and even collection fees.
This can make your total balance balloon overnight. One of our members, recently shared with us, a $50,000 student loan debt leaped up to almost $80,000 between interest rate fees, and collection fees. This was on a federal student loan with a different collection agency.
Nevertheless, this is part and parcel of the collection process. Their hope is to pressure you into contacting them and taking action on the debt. It’s a scare tactic.
If they’re unable to collect this debt, they have two options. First, they can resell the account to yet another debt collector. This new debt collector will, of course, begin calling you, sending letters, and they’ll report more negative information on your credit reports.
Or alternatively, they can sue you. The goal here is to win a judgement, because then they’ve really got you by the short and curlies. Judgements can potentially result in wage garnishment, liens placed against you and or your property, and even asset seizure.
For full details, investigate your local legislation, because every state has unique laws. By the way, if you have a federal student loan in default Coast Professional can garnish your wages without a judgement. Moreover, a judgement on credit report files, will annihilate your credit score.
Coast Professional, Inc.
214 Expo Circle, Suite 7
West Monroe, LA 71292
Phone number: 1-318-807-4500
4 Consumer Tips For Coast Professional
1. Request Debt Validation
The very first step for all consumers dealing with debt collectors is to request debt validation on your alleged account. This is your right as a consumer, granted by the FDCPA.
In essence, we’re saying to Coast Professional you first prove this is my debt, show me the paperwork, and then we may be able to discuss payment. After all, we didn’t do any business directly with them, they just showed up one-day demanding money.
It’s most effective to make your debt validation request in writing, and send it using certified mail, with return receipt requested. This way you’ll have evidence you made your validation request, and they received it.
You see, they’re required to respond by providing you with the paperwork, documents, and evidence that proves this is your account. This paperwork should show you all the details about the debt, such as who the original creditor was, the principal balance, the dates of account activity, etc.
If they fail to validate your debt, then in compliance with the FDCPA, you’re no longer legally responsible for payment. And this failure to validate, can be for any reason, as simple as them misplacing your paperwork.
On a side, this actually happened in 2017, misplaced paperwork, resulted in billions of dollars in student loans being in dispute. According to a New York Times article these loans specifically totaled up to $5 billion, the full article is worth checking out, because these aren’t the only student loans to have had issues during the collection process.
If your debt is not validated, Coast Professional is also supposed to contact all three of the credit bureaus to have them remove collections from credit report files, regarding this debt. This is one way to clear credit report dings, blemishes, and negative information from Coast Professional.
2. How Old Is The Account?
If they do validate your debt, our next step is to review this paperwork in detail. We’re looking for your last date of account activity.
You see, you’re not legally responsible for repayment of most types of consumer debt, forever. The exact amount of time is spelled out in state legislation called the statute of limitations, and this does vary by state.
Generally, it’s about seven years from the first date of delinquency. Once this time-window runs out and expires, so does your legal obligation to repay. As in the debt is legally forgiven.
This applies to private student loans, medical collections, credit cards, utilities, retail, charge off accounts, telecommunications, and many more. However, there are a few exceptions including federal student loans, and federal income taxes.
Beware. The debt collection industry is notorious for re-aging consumer’s accounts, for obvious reasons, to continue to attempt to collect payment. Despite, the legal obligation having expired.
Unless you’re dealing with a defaulted federal student loan like a Perkins Loan, for example, then the statute of limitations applies. Federal student loans are guaranteed by our government, these loans are typically your lowest rate loans. Private loans will usually have, at least, higher interest rates.
3. Negotiate a Settlement Agreement
Assuming your account is validated, and within the statute of limitations time-window, our next step is to discuss how to pay collections and so it will help your credit. There’s two parts to your agreement, and it’s best to get this in writing.
First, we want to negotiate to settle and pay off your debt for less than the total balance. As we shared prior, chances are your total balance has been rapidly inflated.
Frequently, you’ll be able to negotiate and settle for as little as 15% up to about 45% of your total balance. Somewhere in this ballpark. For instance, with a $2,00 debt, you may be able to pay just 30% or $600.
The second part of your agreement is essential. We must get Coast Professional to agree that in exchange for our payment, they’ll stop reporting our account information to all three credit bureaus.
If we overlook this, once we make our payment, we’re going to get stuck with that paid collection item on our credit reports. And that’s going to damage our credit score.
Have you heard about a pay-for-delete approach to dealing with debt collectors? If not, this is a popular internet myth that claims you must first demand the debt collector delete the negative item from your credit reports, and then you’ll make payment.
It sounds great. And you’re welcome to try it, but please, don’t hold your breath. For a myriad of reasons, debt collectors won’t ever make this agreement. It’s more likely we’ll see PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals) opening up a butcher shop.
The much more effective, pragmatic, and an agreement they will make is to stop reporting your account information to the three credit bureaus, in exchange for your payment. On occasion, they may reluctantly agree, but this is something they will do.
4. How To Clear Your Credit Report
In our final step, we’re talking about how to dispute credit report items, because this is how we’re going to clear your credit. We’ve got to get this Coast Professional collection item off your credit report.
We’re going to use more of your consumer rights to do this, specifically the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). This federal legislation enables us to dispute and challenge any item on our credit reports, so long as we believe it’s inaccurate, misleading, or made in error.
We’re going to dispute the Coast Professional collection item. And if this negative mark is on all three of your credit reports, you’re going to have to file three separate credit report disputes. One dispute, for each credit bureau (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion).
There’s three ways to file your credit report dispute online, over the phone, and by mail. Once the credit bureaus get your dispute, they first get to deem it valid or frivolous.
This is another conversation for another time and place. So make sure to sign up for our free newsletter for more credit restoration tips with Dan Willis, and join our congregation.
Once the credit bureaus get your dispute, and find it valid, they’re required to investigate the item. They’ll call it a re-investigation. Nonetheless, they’ll contact Coast Professional and ask them to verify the account.
As per your settlement agreement, Coast Professional won’t verify your account when the credit bureaus investigate. That’s the second part of your settlement agreement.
This means, in compliance with the FCRA, the credit bureaus must remove this negative item from your credit reports. This is how to clean up credit report dings, blemishes, and remove negative items legally and by exercising your consumer rights. And long before seven slow, expensive, and embarrassing years go by.
Look, it ain’t easy dealing with debt collectors. This is an adversarial relationship by default. Moreover, Coast Professional has already gotten in trouble for allegedly providing inaccurate information to borrowers, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
However, toward the end of 2015 Coast Professional was rehired and given an additional $863.5 million worth of student loans. Because they’re said to have taken “corrective action.”
Needless to say, you’re swimming with the sharks. And there’s blood in the water. Please, be very cautious, because debt collectors are not your friend, ever.
When all is said and done, your credit score is a lot like your Grade Point Average (GPA) in glory school days bygone. It doesn’t matter if you’re acing all your courses, if you’re failing The Art of Walking, because this negative mark is going to decimate your overall GPA.
This is also true of your credit score. And why it’s of such paramount importance to improve your credit score, we take action to remove any dings, blemishes, and negative items from your credit reports.
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 successfully helped their client’s 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 better your credit with Dan Willis, sign up for our free newsletter and join our congregation.
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