Are you dealing with an avalanche of phone calls? Demanding letters? Or have you discovered Wakefield collections on your credit reports? If so, you’re in the right place.
Wakefield & Associates is a first and third-party debt collection agency. They’re headquartered in Aurora, Colorado and have additional call centers in both Missouri and Tennessee.
They’ll collect and service a wide swathe of types of consumer debt accounts including: healthcare, education, property management, financial services, and more. The purpose of this article is to share the four steps to dealing with this situation, while protecting yourself, your rights as a consumer, your credit, and your pocketbook.
The first thing we need to share is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). This is federal legislation passed by Congress with the intention of regulating the debt collection industry, and it’s worth reviewing in detail at your convenience.
In short, it says debt collectors are required to be honest, up-front, and not deceptive. Additionally, it says debt collectors are supposed to treat you with that modicum of respect and dignity that every human being deserves. And yes, the FDCPA is violated just about as often as our drug laws in this country.
Does Paying Off Wakefield Collections Improve Credit Score?
Listen, when most people discover they have debt in collections their first question is if I pay off collections will it help my credit? You’d think so. It makes sense.
But it won’t. You see, the only thing that happens when you just pay collections and nothing more is a change in the status of that item on your credit reports. It’ll be changed from an unpaid collection to a paid collection.
A paid collection is still a negative item to have on your credit reports. And it’s virtually guaranteed to cause you to have a bad credit score. Anthony Sprauve, a spokesman for FICO, says collections on your credit report can damage and drag your credit score down by as much as 100 points.
You see, the key to improve your credit score is to remove this Wakefield collection listing from your credit reports. In full disclosure, for some folks after first performing the necessary due diligence, and the four steps in this article, may discover the easiest way to remove this Wakefield collection listing is to pay it off.
Wakefield & Associates Collection Weapons
We need to share the legal collection weapons Wakefield and Associates can use to collect this alleged debt. In addition, to the phone calls, and letters, they’re also going to report negative information on your credit reports.
It’s also very likely the total balance on your account will be aggressively inflated. Debt collectors can and often will charge you a sky-high interest rate, and believe it or not, they can even charge you collection fees. And these can be substantial.
Please, don’t stick your head in the sand with the forsaken belief that Wakefield & Associates will just go away. You see, if they’re unable to collect payment, they have two options.
First, they can turn around and sell your account to yet another debt collector. This new debt collector, of course, will begin calling you, sending letters, and they’ll report more negative information on your credit reports.
Alternatively, and this is a frequent result of unpaid collections, is they can sue you. As in they’ll file a civil lawsuit against you. If this happens, you should be notified with a court summons.
It’s vital that you appear, because most people don’t. And if you fail to appear, then the judge has no choice but to award a default judgement against you, and in their favor. This is also true, if they win their case.
Their goal is to win a judgement against you, because then they’ve really got you by the short and curlies. Because this can result in wage garnishment, liens being placed against you and or your property, and even asset seizure.
Not to mention a judgement on credit report files, will obliterate your credit score, and virtually overnight. For full details, check out your local legislation, because every state has unique laws.
Wakefield & Associates, Inc.
10800 E Bethany Dr
Aurora, CO 80014
Phone number: 1-800-864-3870
4 Steps For Wakefield & Associates
1. Request Debt Validation
The very first step when dealing with debt collectors, is to request debt validation. This is your right as a consumer, granted by the FDCPA. Essentially, when we request debt validation, we’re saying prove this is truly my debt.
After all, we didn’t do any business directly with Wakefield & Associates. They just showed up one day, demanding we pay them. And requesting validation requires them to do their job, and show evidence this is, in fact, your account, everything’s legit, and they own the collection rights to this debt.
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 request, and they received it.
You see, they’re required to respond by providing you with the documents, paperwork, and evidence that proves this debt is yours. This paperwork will also show you all the details about the account including who the original lender or creditor was, the dates of account activity, the total balance, and much more.
If they fail to validate your debt, then in compliance with the FDCPA, you’re no longer legally responsible for payment. As in this debt is legally forgiven. Further, they’re supposed to contact all three credit bureaus to have them remove collections from credit report files, concerning this account.
2. Statute of Limitations
If Wakefield & Associates does 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 forever.
The exact amount of time you are legally responsible for payment is regulated by state law, and this is called the statute of limitations. And it does vary by state, so for full details check out your local legislation.
Generally, it’s about seven years from the last date of account activity. Once this time window, runs out and expires, then in accordance with the statute of limitations, this debt is legally forgiven. In other words, your legal responsibility ends with the statute of limitations time-window.
This state legislation applies to the overwhelming majority of types of consumer debts including: medical collections, charge off accounts, property management, retail, telecommunications, utilities, and so many more. The few exceptions are defaulted federal student loans, and federal income tax.
Warning. And this is big, the debt collection industry is notorious for re-aging consumer accounts. And for obvious purposes, so they can continue to attempt to collect payment from you, despite your legal obligation ending. This re-aging is frequently done illegally.
3. Negotiate a Settlement
If your account is validated, and it’s within the statute of limitations, our next step is to negotiate a settlement agreement directly with Wakefield & Associates. It’s best to get this agreement in writing, and there’s two parts.
First, we need to negotiate to pay less than the total balance. Often, you’ll be able to pay as little as 15% up to about 45% of your balance. The exact amount will depend on the type of debt in collections, and how old it is. Nevertheless, this is standard operating procedure, and Wakefield & Associates will be thrilled to accept a settlement for less.
The second part of your agreement is mission critical. In exchange for our payment, we must get Wakefield & Associates to agree they’ll stop reporting our account information to all three of the credit bureaus.
Otherwise, we’ll get stuck with that paid collection. As we shared earlier, a paid collection is going to damage and drag our credit scores down, potentially by as much as 100 points.
We need to take a moment to address this popular internet myth of a pay-for-delete approach. If you’re unfamiliar this is where we first demand Wakefield and Associates delete the negative item from our credit reports, and then we’ll make payment.
It sounds wonderful. You’re welcome to try it. Just, please don’t hold your breath. It’s much more likely we’ll see PETA open a butcher shop, before any debt collector will ever agree to a pay-for-delete agreement, despite seeing this hocus pocus all over the internet.
Instead, it’s much more effective and pragmatic to get them to agree to stop reporting your account information to all three credit bureaus, in exchange for our payment. This they will agree to.
4. Remove Wakefield Collections From Credit Report
In this final step, we’re talking about how to dispute items on credit report files, because this is how to get rid of bad credit and specifically remove this Wakefield collection. To do this, we’ll need to exercise more of your consumer rights, this time those granted by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
This federal alphabet soup legislation enables us to challenge and dispute any item on our credit reports, so long as we believe the item is incorrect, misleading, or made in error. If you have this Wakefield collection item on all three of your credit reports with Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion we’ll need to file three separate credit disputes.
One with each credit bureau. There’s three ways to dispute your credit report: online, over the phone, and by mail. Once the credit bureaus get our dispute, they first get to deem it valid or frivolous.
Which 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 find your dispute valid, they’re required to investigate the item. They’ll call it a re-investigation. Nonetheless, they’ll contact Wakefield & Associates and ask them to verify the account.
As per our settlement agreement directly with Wakefield & Associates, they won’t verify the account when the credit bureaus investigate. This is the second part of our settlement agreement from step three.
As a result, and in compliance with the FCRA, this means the credit bureaus must remove this Wakefield collection item from your credit reports. This is how to clean credit report dings, blemishes, and remove negative items legally and by exercising your rights as a consumer.
It’s not easy dealing with collection agencies. The industry is much like the Wild Wild West and many companies are fined by our government every single year for violating consumer rights and federal law.
Even the best, most law-abiding debt collectors have a profit motive directly tied to consumer’s knowledge of federal legislation, our credit system, and to be frank most consumer’s ignorance. Most folks, simply don’t need to know this information.
And debt collectors are hoping you’re one of these people. Because that often means, way more profit for them. While it may feel like you’re David going into battle with Goliath, you do have consumer rights, and every last one of these alphabet soup laws is on the books to protect you, the consumer.
At the end of the day, 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 classes, if you’re failing The Art of Walking, because this negative mark is going to ruin your overall GPA.
This is also true of your credit score. FICO is very transparent about sharing this fact. And this is why it’s of such paramount importance to clear 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, repossessions, foreclosures, 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 credit score up with Dan Willis, sign up for our free newsletter and join our congregation.
Get a FREE Credit Consultation