If you’re hearing from ACS Inc. about an old debt, be careful.
While there is a legitimate debt collection agency with these initials, there have also been scams going around using this name.
Before taking any action, you’ll need to first make sure you’re dealing with the actual collection agency and not a scam artist hoping you’ll send a check or hand over your bank account number.
In this post, I’ll discuss the best way to deal with the real ACS Inc. and how to make sure you’re not falling prey to attempted fraud.
What is ACS Inc?
ACS Incorporation is a collection agency that helps lenders and other creditors collect payments on defaulted loans.
ACS will use incessant phone calls and strongly worded letters to encourage you to make a payment on your old debt.
Frequent phone calls and letters can be annoying, especially in the age of automation, but it hurts worse when ACS Inc. appears on your credit report, pulling down your score and limiting your chances of borrowing money for years.
But this appearance in your credit history is also a useful clue:
- If ACS Inc. is on your credit report, you are dealing with a legitimate company and not a scam artist.
- If there’s no entry for ACS in your credit, report this scam to the Better Business Bureau and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — and then ignore the threatening letters and phone calls.
ACS Inc Scams
A lot of the scams related to this company referenced a payday loan provider (ACE Cash Services).
If you’ve never taken out such a loan (and I suggest you never do), you’re dealing with attempted fraud and should report this to the BBB and the CFPB.
Here’s yet another way to tell if someone is scamming you: Look at the email address connected to the inquiry.
If it ends with gmail.com, yahoo.com, hotmail.com, or a similarly common domain name, you’re likely dealing with attempted fraud.
A real company will have its own email server: realcompany.org for example.
The real ACS Inc is a medium-sized debt collection company headquartered in Lewiston, Maine.
It helps collect a number of consumer debts, including payments on credit cards, car loans, utility payments, and cable or internet accounts.
If you are overwhelmed by dealing with negative entries on your credit report,
we suggest you ask a professional credit repair company for help.
Complaints Against ACS Inc
ACS Inc is not popular among its customers, but few collection agencies are.
ACS has been the subject of numerous complaints over the past several years.
Currently, ACS Inc has 40 complaints with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and nearly 200 with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
Most of these complaints cite the agency’s violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
If you are having issues with ACS Inc or another debt collector, you may consider filing a complaint against them as well.
Brush up on your rights under the FDCPA to find out if ACS Inc is overstepping their bounds.
How to Remove ACS Inc From Your Credit Report
If you have no clue where to start when dealing with ACS Inc, you’re not alone.
Read on to learn the best steps to take to remove the collection from your credit report and begin rebuilding your score.
Most of these steps can also help weed out the real company from any potential scams.
Ask for a Goodwill Deletion
If you have paid off your old balance, you might expect ACS Inc. to disappear from your credit history. It won’t.
The best you can hope for would be for your payment to prompt a change from “unpaid collections” to a “paid collections” account.
Unfortunately, this change won’t make much difference to your credit score. To help your credit, you’ll need the negative information deleted entirely from your credit history.
One of the best ways to get this kind of deletion is to ask. That’s right. You can simply ask ACS Inc. for help by writing a goodwill letter.
This works especially well when you have a good reason for being late on your payments or failing to pay off your balance before it went into collections.
SEND A GOODWILL LETTER
To receive a goodwill deletion, it will help your case to prove to ACS Inc that your past-due debt was a rare blunder and that you’ve since resolved the issue and paid off your debt.
You’ll state your case in a letter written to ACS, Inc.
If you suffered a layoff or medical emergency which caused you to fall behind on your bills, mention that in the letter.
Tell the truth, of course. You may need to show some evidence for the claims you make.
Dealing with a debt collector is aggravating and frustrating, but don’t let this frustration show through in your letter.
Don’t avoid responsibility or blame the original creditor. Just acknowledge you made a mistake and have corrected it.
ACS Inc would be doing you a favor by granting you a goodwill deletion, so it’s important that you keep your tone polite but confident.
If this works, ACS Inc. will delete its negative information off your credit history within a couple months.
Validate the Debt
A goodwill deletion will not work for you if you have not already paid ACS Inc or the original creditor.
In this case, you need to request that the agency validate your debt as required by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
This is an important step because it will immediately weed out scam artists who only want to make a quick buck off of you.
If you’re dealing with a real debt collection agency, the agency will be able to show proof that you owe the money.
Proof can include documents from the original creditor with account numbers and dates of previous payments.
When a debt collection agency buys old debt from a creditor, it doesn’t always get the right documents proving you owe the money.
It’s possible ACS Inc has the wrong balance, dates of account activity, or even name on the debt.
This could mean the debt they are hounding you about was never yours to begin with.
Even if you are sure that the debt belongs to you, you can still ask ACS Inc to validate your debt.
Even if you do owe the money, ACS Inc. may not be able to prove it.
SEND A DEBT VALIDATION LETTER
Begin by writing a debt validation letter, also known as a Section 609 letter, to ACS Inc.
This is a formal request for them to investigate your debt and provide you with proof that the debt belongs to you.
ACS Inc is required to respond to you within 30 days of receiving your letter with any documents they have on your debt — but only if you write your letter within 30 days of hearing from ACS Inc. for the first time.
When ACS Inc. responds with documents, be sure to review each page carefully and look for any mistakes on the record.
If you can prove that ACS Inc is reporting any inaccuracies about your debt, you can submit a dispute with the major credit bureaus.
They will investigate and remove ACS Inc’s account if they find there to be errors in their reporting.
Negotiate a Settlement
If ACS Inc does validate your debt, you’ll need to find another way to remove this company from your credit report.
One of the best ways is to make a payment — a payment with a string attached.
Don’t pay the debt without first using your payment to leverage a negotiated settlement with ACS Inc.
The company needs your payment, and you need its negative credit marks removed from your credit history.
So offer a trade: A payment in exchange for your negative credit entry’s deletion.
This is known as a pay-for-delete agreement. This type of settlement can be difficult to strike with a debt collector, but you can achieve success if you are persuasive enough.
Start by offering to pay ACS Inc anywhere from 30% to 50% of your total balance.
This will create some resistance from them, but you can work your way up and hopefully end up paying less than your full balance.
Here are two super important things to know as you start this process:
- Get the debt collector to agree to completely delete the collection entry. ACS Inc may try to talk you down to changing the account status to paid, but this will still negatively impact your credit score. Make sure the agency agrees to delete the entire account.
- Get your agreement in writing. An agreement over the phone just wont’ cut it. You could make your payment and then discover ACS Inc. didn’t record your deal in your case file and won’t acknowledge it. If that happens, you’ve made a payment that might not even close your account, and it certainly won’t help your credit.
Don’t make a single payment until you receive your written agreement from this agency.
Even when you do have a written agreement, send payment via check or money order — preferably money order.
You don’t want this company having your bank account or credit card number.
Within about 30 days of sending payment, you should notice ACS Inc’s account disappears from your credit report.
If it does not go away within two months, reach back out to them and let them know they need to remove the entry.
Let them know they’ve breached a contract and that legal action will be forthcoming if they don’t fulfill the promise.
Ask For Help Dealing with ACS Inc
Working with debt collectors is notoriously difficult, and not everyone is able to successfully negotiate a deletion.
If you are running into roadblocks with ACS Inc, you may benefit from hiring a credit repair professional.
Credit repair companies specialize in removing damaging accounts from your credit report so your score can improve over time.
They can help you challenge a variety of entries, including collections, bankruptcies, and liens.
Often these kinds of problems keep you from earning a higher credit score which lets you borrow money more easily and at lower interest rates.
Credit repair professionals can remove these problems without you having to intervene at all.
In exchange, you’ll pay a monthly fee, usually ranging from $80 to $120 depending on the company you choose.
Not all credit repair companies are worth the money, so it’s important that you work with one that is reputable.
I recommend Lexington Law to those looking for a consummate professional with a proven track record.
They have over 28 years of experience removing collections accounts from credit reports, and they can help you deal with ACS Inc too.
Your credit history is a lot like your report card when it comes to your finances.
Your credit report tells the history of your financial decisions, including the decisions you’d rather forget.
The best way to improve your credit score is to clean up your credit report.
You can’t do much about legitimate mistakes you’ve made, but you can remove collection accounts and inaccurate data.
Start by getting a free copy of your credit reports from annualcreditreport.com.
Look through each report carefully for mistakes.
You’ll need to share your Social Security number to get your free credit reports, but this site is associated with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) so it’s not a scam.
Always remember that as a United States citizen, you have rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
If you’re being threatened in any way, the debt collector is breaking the law or is attempting to defraud you by scaring you into sending in a payment or sharing your bank account info or Social Security number.
Don’t fall for it. Look into the claim that you owe money and make a payment only if the debt collector proves you owe them money and will help restore your credit in exchange for your payment.