Within your lifetime, you may have a period of financial distress. Especially in the current pandemic, COVID 19, medical bills, credit card bills, and other financial service bills may start to pile up.
If you’re unable to pay your original creditor, your debt may pass to a debt recovery agency, earning a collection letter and possibly a stain on your credit report.
The credit bureau agencies, Experian, Transunion, and Equifax may lower your credit score by 50 points or more, resulting in higher interest rates for any future lending ventures.
Credit Collection Services, known as CCS for short, is one of the largest debt collection agencies in the United States, based in Massachusetts.
This company is a part of the CCS Companies, so when you look at your credit report, you may see a collection account with the creditor listed as “CCS”, “CCS Collections”, “CCSUSA”, “Credit Control Services”, or “Credit Collection Services”.
If you’re getting hassled by CCS, which represents many high-profile American creditors, you should know about their shady tactics when it comes to debt collection and credit reporting.
That said, by taking the right steps, you can stop the annoying and distressing calls.
How to Remove CCS From Your Credit Report
Now, let’s get into the details. Right off the bat, whether you’ve been getting phone calls from CCS or received a letter from Credit Collection Services, send a debt verification letter to the company which requests “snail mail” communication only.
Why? This ensures that there is always a written record of what transpires between you and CCS. Sending a letter through certified mail, which requires a signature upon delivery, provides proof that CSS received the letter.
With phone calls, there won’t be a record. Snail mail is the best way to protect yourself.
1. Have Them Prove the Debt is Yours
Now, let’s move forward to the next step, which must be completed within 30 days of the first time that CCS got in touch with you.
Keep this deadline in mind and act fast. Things will be harder for you if you don’t.
Send the company a letter asking them to show you proof that the debt in question is rightfully yours. It’s perfectly legal and proper to make this request, generally called a Debt Validation Letter.
Why ask for proof?
CCS is a debt purchasing company, and most likely purchased the debt. This means that you’re not dealing with the initial creditor. Since CCS bought the debt, the company may not be able to prove that it’s a valid debt. The company may lack data related to the debt. Or possibly, the debt data isn’t complete or is inaccurate. It is not uncommon for companies to mix up contact information.
If Credit Collection Services is unable to validate your debt, the company will be mandated by law to stop trying to collect on the debt. The company will also need to remove the negative entry from your credit report. We have the contact information for CCS below:
- Mailing address: 725 Canton Street, Norwood, MA 02062
- Phone numbers: (617) 965-2000 or (877) 870-1000
- Website: https://www.ccsusa.com
- Office Hours: Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Despite earning an “A” from the Better Business Bureau, CCS earned over 475 complaints to the BBB regarding inaccurate reporting or false reporting. There are also over 270 complaints filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, stating the same grievances.
2. Negotiate to Remove the Collection
Sometimes, the debt validation letter doesn’t work out. The company may be able to validate the debt, making you legally responsible to repay the debt. Unfortunately, this means the negative entry remains and that the company is free to continue contacting you, with a mind to getting money from you.
If the debt validation letter didn’t work out, don’t give up hope. Keep in mind the end goal of all collection agencies is to get money. To negotiate, you should offer to pay half of what you owe or settle on a payment plan, upon the condition that Credit Collection Services will remove the negative entry from the credit report upon receipt of your payment.
CCS may haggle with you. Always negotiate and do everything else in writing…never, ever do it over the phone!
If an agreement is reached, avoid granting the company access to your bank account. Instead, mail a check, but again, through certified mail to maintain a paper trail for your protection. Thirty days afterward, follow up with a letter to make certain that the negative entry has been taken off of your credit report. If it hasn’t been, send yet another letter requesting that this be done.
3. Hire a Professional
Lastly, if you’re the type of person who would rather have a professional credit repair company handle it and just be done with the whole thing, I suggest you check out Lexington Law.
Not to mention, they usually remove collections a lot quicker. Check out their website.
Knowing Your FDCPA Rights
Harassing calls from a debt collection company tends to trigger a range of unpleasant emotions, from anxiety, fear, anger, frustration, and beyond.
Unfortunately, a lot of people who get these calls just don’t understand their rights. The truth is, debt collectors actually have a set of rules they have to follow when attempting to collect on a debt.
The Federal Trade Commission or FTC enforces these rules, collectively known as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and prevents debt collectors from harassing you.
Therefore, if you’re contacted by a debt collector, simply state that you understand your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
Here’s a brief bullet point list stating your rights:
- It’s illegal for them to suggest that they can have you arrested or imprisoned
- They are not allowed to harass or threaten you in any way
- If you state you’re not allowed to receive calls at work, they can’t harass you at your job
- CCS must provide documentation proving the validity of their claim at your request (Debt Verification)
- They cannot send letters with the appearance of an official government or court letter
- They may not threaten you with legal action, whether wage garnishment or harm to your credit without following through
- Calling can only happen between the hours of 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. in your timezone, not theirs
With this in mind, I’ll walk you through the process of removing Credit Collection Services (CCS) from your credit report.
Tips for Dealing with CCS
When you type up the letter, again make sure that you mention the fact that you’re aware of your rights as they are outlined in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Debt collecting services are required to provide proof of your debt, which oftentimes can be difficult for them to do.
Also, there is a statute of limitations placed on your debt, limiting the amount of time the credit reporting agency may sue you for repayment. Each statute varies from state to state, so be sure to research your state’s specific laws concerning credit suits.
Snail mail simplifies everything. It’s all there in black and white. If trouble arises, such as a lawsuit directed at you via CCS, you’ll have your paper trail. So, make sure that you send the debt verification letter. It’s really important!