If you’re reading this, you’ve probably seen the name Americollect appear on your credit report or in your voicemail inbox — or both.
When you forget or can’t afford to pay a medical bill, your hospital or doctor’s office may send your past-due balance to a debt collection agency such as Americollect.
Along with the phone calls and letters, you’ll likely get a collection account in your credit report where it can hurt your credit score for up to seven years.
Paying Americollect the amount you owe could cancel the debt, but it won’t improve your credit score.
To remove Americollect from your credit file, you’ll need to dispute the debt or negotiate a pay-for-delete agreement.
The guide below will tell you more about how Americollect works and show you how to get the agency off your credit report, stopping their phone calls along the way.
What Is Americollect?
Chances are good you’d never heard of Americollect before coming across this name on your credit report.
Americollect isn’t a household name, but it is a legitimate debt collection agency that specializes in medical debt.
Americollect, Inc has been collecting past-due balances for hospitals, doctor’s offices, and labs since 1964.
Headquartered in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, Americollect has named itself “the ridiculously nice collection agency.”
“Nice” is a relative term for a debt collection service. Regardless of their cordiality, Americollect agents still have one goal: to get you to pay off your old medical debt.
When you make a payment, Americollect profits. I’m pointing out this fact because you can use it as leverage in Step 2 below.
3 Ways to Remove Americollect from Your Credit Report
Unpaid medical debts don’t have to haunt you year after year, limiting your borrowing power and keeping you from reaching your financial goals.
With the three strategies here, you can get a collection agency deleted from your credit report.
1. Mail Americollect a Debt Validation Letter
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act requires debt collectors to show proof of the debt they claim you owe — if you request the validation within 30 days of your first contact with the debt collector.
Using this debt validation letter template, you may be able to get a collections entry removed from your credit report without paying a dime.
Since these agencies are third-party debt collectors and not the original creditor, they don’t always have all of their debts on record with 100 percent accuracy.
If Americollect can’t provide documentation for your debt, you could make a case that the agency removes the account from your credit report.
You can also insist the company stop contacting you.
Whether you actually have unpaid medical bills or wound up on Americollect’s radar by mistake, you should always seek debt validation as a first step.
Just make sure to act quickly and send a debt validation letter as soon as you notice Americollect on your report or get a call from them.
If you don’t send the letter seeking validation within the first 30 days you’re effectively admitting the debt is yours.
2. Negotiate a Pay-for-delete Agreement
If Americollect has been hounding you for more than a month or the agency has already validated your debt, you should try for a pay-for-delete agreement.
As I said above, simply paying off the debt won’t help your credit score. But you could help your credit score by asking Americollect to remove your negative credit information in exchange for your payment.
A debt collector makes its money by receiving payments on an old debt.
So, since you’re proposing a plan that would include payment, Americollect should be motivated to listen to your idea.
You could even ask Americollect to accept a fraction of the total amount of your unpaid medical bills in exchange for a guarantee that the negative entry will be removed from your credit report.
Here’s the catch with pay-for-delete agreements: You have to take the time to get the agreement in writing before you pay anything.
When you do pay, I suggest writing an old-fashioned check if you still have some. It’s better not to give a collection agent your bank account or credit card numbers.
Once you get a written contract and pay the agreed-upon amount, the negative entry should be deleted from your credit report in a month’s time.
If there’s been no change to your report after 30 days, you should send a follow-up letter to Americollect, reminding them of your agreement and including a copy of the pay-for-delete contract.
3. Hire a Credit Repair Company
Dealing with any debt collector can be stressful. But negotiating with Americollect can be even more stressful because you’re discussing medical debt which means you’ve probably been ill or have been frustrated by a health insurance company.
Sudden illnesses like Covid-19 or chronic conditions that change your way of life can generate tremendous debt.
If you don’t have time or energy to negotiate with Americollect, you could hire a credit repair company instead.
Credit repair companies can negotiate on your behalf. They’ll charge you a monthly fee and an initial set-up fee in most cases.
In exchange, the credit repair company can get your credit score back on track quickly and efficiently, even if your credit situation is complex.
How Does Americollect Work?
If you’re hearing from Americollect or another debt collection agency, your medical provider has hired the agency to collect a debt from you.
In some cases, the hospital, doctor, or lab sells your old debt to the collection agency.
In either case, the agency has a right to contact you and seek repayment, using the contact information on file with your health care provider.
In addition to the collection calls and letters, Americollect will also report your debt to one or more credit bureaus, resulting in a collections entry on your credit report.
This type of entry can drop your credit score and continue to hurt it for seven years with the damage slowly subsiding after the first three years.
See the steps above for getting Americollect removed from your credit history.
If you’re hearing from this company, know that it’s not a scam and that having a collection account in your credit history will likely damage your credit score.
Dealing with Americollect
If you’ve visited www.americollect.com you’ve probably noticed the company describes itself as “ridiculously nice.”
This agency follows federal laws, and compared to many other agencies, Americollect gets fewer complaints. But it’s still a collection agency.
Between the Better Business Bureau (BBB), the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the Federal Trade Commission, Americollect has several hundred complaints from people who owe past-due balances.
Americollect complaints tend to include:
- Inaccurate reporting of debt to the three credit reporting bureaus.
- Failure to validate debt when requested by the consumer.
- Contacting customers at inappropriate phone numbers such as work or cell phone numbers.
These issues often persist because customers aren’t familiar with their rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
If you think Americollect has violated your consumer rights, you can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. You can also find local law firms that specialize in debt collection.
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
This federal law restricts the hours during which Americollect can contact you and bans them from contacting other people to coerce you into making a payment, among other things.
One of the best benefits of the FDCPA is that it allows you to stop Americollect from calling altogether.
You can, and should, inform debt collectors that you prefer to communicate by letter instead of over the phone.
Putting everything in writing is a wise move that can help to ensure the agency follows through and deletes the collections entry from your credit report when you reach an agreement.
However, keep in mind that stopping the collection calls won’t eliminate the debt. You’ll still need to deal with the problem.
Contact Information for Americollect Inc.
Americollect is located at 1851 S. Alverno Road in Manitowoc, WI, but you should send written correspondence to:
PO Box 1566
Manitowoc, WI 54221