AFNI Inc. is a collection agency with a global reach working from U.S. branches in Kentucky, Illinois, Arizona, and Alabama.
If you’re getting phone calls or letters from AFNI, Inc., you should know you’re dealing with a well-organized agency.
AFNI has a large infrastructure and plenty of collection officers on its payroll.
This means the calls and letters from this debt collector will likely continue unless you take action.
About AFNI Collections
AFNI Collections is an old and successful collection agency that got its start in Bloomington, Ill., back in 1936.
This company works with some of the biggest corporations in the world, including Verizon, AT&T, and DirectTV along with other leading cable TV and healthcare providers.
Why Do I Owe AFNI Collections Money?
If you start getting bills from AFNI — which also uses the name Anderson Financial Network — it’s likely you owed money to one of AFNI’s clients.
If that client — let’s use Verizon as an example — sells your debt to AFNI, this agency will then start trying to collect your debt.
As I said above, you may not actually owe the money. Occasionally, AFNI gets bad information from one of its clients which implicates you incorrectly.
That’s why you should first validate the debt first.
How Can AFNI Collect the Debt?
Unless you can invalidate the debt AFNI is trying to collect, the agency has several ways to collect money from you:
- Phone Calls: AFNI has the right to call you on the phone number associated with the original creditor. You have the right to request AFNI use a different phone number, and the company must honor your request. And, of course, you have the right not to answer the calls.
- Letters: AFNI can send letters requesting payment. They cannot send unsealed postcards because of privacy concerns.
- Legal Action: AFNI could sue you in civil court seeking a garnishment of your wages as repayment for the debt. You should always respond to a lawsuit to defend yourself. Contact a law firm if this happens. In some cases, the statute of limitations on your debt will have passed, meaning the lawsuit could be dismissed immediately.
How AFNI Cannot Collect the Debt
While AFNI can sue you, call you, and send letters, the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act prevents the company from taking action such as:
- Threatening Criminal Action: The company can’t have you arrested and prosecuted under criminal law as a way to persuade you to pay.
- Threatening Physical Violence: The company can’t threaten to harm you or your family and friends either.
- Harassing Contact: The company can’t call you in the middle of the night or early in the morning. The company must honor your request not to be called at work.
- Shaming: The company can’t discuss your debt with your employer or anyone else or threaten to publish your name on a list of debtors.
- Demand Others’ Debts: The company can’t demand you pay someone else’s debts, including a deceased relative’s debts.
- Bypass Your Attorney: If you’ve hired a lawyer and informed AFNI, the company must call your lawyer and not you about the debt.
- Lie or Misrepresent: The company can’t lie about the status of your debt or the effects of your payment. Getting your agreements in writing is a must. That way you can prove misrepresentation if necessary.
- Threaten to Increase What You Owe: A credit agency can’t add interest or fees on your balance if you don’t pay.
Your state may have additional protections for consumers.
If all of this seems like too much for you to handle on your own,
we suggest that you seek help from a credit repair professional.
Removing AFNI Collections From Your Credit Report
A lot of collection agencies hope you don’t know your rights. They won’t break the law intentionally, but they know consumers who don’t know their rights respond to fear.
They know a consumer who’s afraid will be more likely to read off a credit card number to make a payment and close the collections account right there on the spot.
So you need to know there are rules regulating how a debt collection agency may interact with you. The rules are found in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
Collection agencies have to follow this long list of rules, but it basically boils down to this:
Debt collectors are not allowed to harass you. It’s against the law.
Now that you know your rights, you have to let AFNI Collections reps know you understand these important rights as you interact with this company.
1. Ask for Written Communication Only
First things first: Write AFNI, Inc. a letter stating you know your rights under the FDCPA and that you wish to receive only written communications about this debt in the future.
If AFNI calls you, tell the agent you’ve requested written communication only and that the company should not be calling you.
Beyond avoiding phone calls, asking for written communication has an important purpose: to create a paper trail so you can later prove your agreements to ANFI agents.
On the phone, an agent may make promises other agents don’t know about and won’t keep. When you have a paper trail you can remind the agency of its agreements with you.
Asking for written communication only is always in your best interest.
2. Ask for Validation of Your Debt
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act requires debt collectors to prove the debt is actually yours — if you request that they do so within 30 days of hearing from the agency for the first time.
You could combine your request for debt validation with your request to have only written communication with ANFI. (Mailing address is below.)
In response to your request for debt validation, ANFI must provide proof that your debt is accurate and properly assigned to you.
If it can’t provide this proof, ANFI must remove the negative item from your credit report.
When Is Debt Not Valid?
Collection agencies like AFNI make money by buying consumer debt at a low price — sometimes they pay pennies on the dollar for debt. They always pay less than the actual debt amount.
Then, they make a profit by collecting more on the debt than they paid to buy the debt. Since they buy debt wholesale, collection companies don’t always have complete and accurate information about your debt.
This means AFNI Collections may not have all the details about your debt; the company may not be able to prove it’s your debt.
So, send your Debt Validation Letter and then wait for a return letter.
When you receive the response, go over the information that has been provided to you. Are any details wrong? Is any important information missing? If so you can dispute the debt.
For this to work, you have to send this letter within 30 days of initial contact with AFNI Collections.
This is a firm deadline, so take action immediately. If you don’t seek validation within 30 days, you’re essentially conceding the debt is yours.
3. Agree to Pay Part of What You Owe
If the debt was validated, or if you didn’t ask for validation within 30 days, you’ll need to pay something in order to get the negative credit entry removed by the credit bureaus. So now it’s time to call the collection agency and try to negotiate.
As I said above, AFNI Inc. probably bought your debt for a small percentage of the total debt you owed the original creditor. You can use this fact to your advantage.
Even if you paid only half the amount due, AFNI would make a nice profit from your account.
So why not offer to pay 30 percent or maybe 40 percent of the amount due? There’s a good chance this debt collector would be receptive to your request.
It may counteroffer by asking you to pay 65 percent of the amount due. At that point maybe you could settle on paying half the total amount due.
Make Your Payment with Strings Attached
Even after you’ve agreed upon the amount you’ll pay AFNI Inc., don’t make your payment unless AFNI agrees to remove any negative items it has posted to your credit report.
At first, the agent may balk at this request, but your payment is your leverage in this negotiation. Don’t let go of it until AFNI agrees to this stipulation.
Remember, they can’t prosecute you or even call you if you’ve asked them to stop. You have rights, and ultimately AFNI just wants to make money. There’s a good chance the agent will agree to your terms.
Get This Entire Agreement in Writing
After AFNI’s agent has agreed to your terms, he or she may ask for your credit card number to process payment. Again, don’t pay anything yet.
Wait until you have, in writing, a letter confirming AFNI will consider the debt paid in full and remove negative items from your credit report in exchange for your payment.
Once you have this agreement in writing, you can then pay the agreed-upon amount.
I’d recommend paying via check because a cashed check provides legal proof you’ve paid the debt. Never grant AFNI access to your bank account numbers for an ACH transfer.
Payment Could Re-set Statute of Limitations
Getting your agreement in writing — and having AFNI Collections agree to remove negative items from your credit report — matters so much because by paying on the debt, you’re re-setting the debt’s statute of limitations.
Each state sets a statute of limitations on consumer debt. Once the statute expires, you can no longer be sued in civil court for lack of payment.
By paying on the debt, you’re re-setting the clock on your debt’s statute to Day 1, exposing yourself to a broader window for legal action against you.
Using your payment to prompt AFNI to close your account and remove negative items from your credit history is essential.
After 30 days pass, get a fresh copy of your credit report and make sure the entry has been removed. If it hasn’t, contact them again and remind them of the deal you made.
Do You Need Help With This?
Lastly, if you’re the type of person who would rather have a professional handle it and just be done with the whole thing, I suggest you check out Lexington Law Credit Repair, a credit repair company.
Credit repair companies won’t do anything you couldn’t do yourself, but they work quickly and efficiently.
They normally charge by the month with an initial sign-up fee.
They’ll take care of you, and honestly, they usually get stuff removed a lot quicker. Check out their website.
FAQs about AFNI Inc.
What is AFNI Collection?
AFNI Collections has been in business since 1936. Often, AFNI buys old debt from cable TV companies and telecommunications firms like AT&T and Verizon as well as from medical providers.
Is AFNI a legitimate company?
AFNI is legit. It’s not a scam. If you’re hearing from this company, it believes you owe money, and the agency won’t stop contacting you — and lowering your credit score — unless you deal directly with the problem.
This collection agency employs about 6,000 people; it has the resources to keep track of your case.
Where can I file a complaint about AFNI Inc.?
The Better Business Bureau rates AFNI A+ but this BBB rating is based on the company’s responsiveness to complaints — not to customer satisfaction.
You can always file complaints with the BBB, but if you believe AFNI has violated the law you should report your experience to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) which regulates debt collections.
What is AFNI Collections’ phone number?
What is AFNI’s contact information?
You should send debt validation or dispute letters to AFNI Collections at:
P.O. Box 3097, Bloomington, IL 61702
(The company’s headquarters is located on Martin Luther King Drive in downtown Bloomington, IL 61701.)
You can visit the agency’s site at www.afni.com and even manage your account there, but I always suggest dealing with agents over the phone and getting your agreements in writing.
Does AFNI report to all three credit bureaus?
Yes, negative items from AFNI can appear on your credit report at Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion, pulling down your credit score with all three agencies. These negative items will also affect your FICO score.
Why does the same debt appear twice on a credit report?
Debt collection agencies buy debt from your original creditor. But if the original creditor reported your account as a charge-off, this negative item will remain on your credit report even after the creditor sells the debt.
As a result, you could get hit twice by the same bad debt. To fix this, you may need to send dispute letters to the credit bureaus informing them the debt has been resolved.