Editor’s Note: Diversified Consultants, Inc., went out of business in 2020. CEO Charlotte Zehnder cited the Covid-19 pandemic as a catalyst for the Jacksonville, Florida-based company’s closure. Read more here.
We’re leaving this post active because its advice pertains to other debt collections agencies as well as DCI. If you had an account in collections with DCI, the company probably sold the debt to another debt collection agency.
If Diversified Consultants, Inc., (DCI) appears on your credit report, one of your utility or telecom accounts has probably gone into collections.
A collections account can harm your credit score for up to seven years – even if you pay off the debt right away. To limit the damage to your credit history, you should deal with Diversified Consultants, Inc., swiftly and firmly.
Read on for our guide to dealing with DCI and other debt collection agencies.
Table of Contents:
What is Diversified Consultants?
Diversified Consultants is a legitimate debt collection agency based in Jacksonville, Florida, with branch offices in Louisville, Kentucky, and Tualatin, Oregon.
By “legitimate, “we mean DCI is not a scam.
With over 1,000 employees, Diversified Consultants is one of the largest debt collectors in the United States. In 2019 alone, the agency made over $60 million in revenue.
DCI specializes in collecting overdue bills in the telecom industry. If you have an old cable or Internet bill from AT&T or some unpaid utility bills from a while back, it’s possible the utility providers turned your account over to Diversified Consultants, Inc.
DCI may appear on your credit report as a variety of names. Here are some of the common names that they may use on your credit report:
- Diversified Consultants
- Diversified Credit
- Diversified Consultants Sprint
- Diversified Consultants T-Mobile
- Diversified Consultants Chicago
- Diversified Consultants Comcast
No matter which name you see, DCI is trying to collect a debt on behalf of the original creditor which is why you may see the same debt appear two times on your credit report.
Dealing with this problem directly should help delete both entries, but you may have to contact the credit bureaus to confirm the removal.
While we’re discussing DCI (www.dcicollect.com) in this post, much of this advice could be useful with any third-party debt collector.
How to Remove Diversified Consultants From Your Credit Report
Even if you pay off the debt, a collections account will not disappear from your credit report. It will stick around to damage your chances of getting affordable financing for years to come.
To get DCI removed from your credit report for good, follow these basic steps:
Keep Written Records of Your Interactions
The FDCPA gives you the right to request how and when a debt collection agency contacts you. You should request to send and receive all correspondence, in writing, via U.S. Mail.
Debt collectors are notorious for making an agreement over the phone but not following through. Without the agreement in writing, you can’t prove you entered an agreement. So demand written communication, and keep a copy of each and every letter you send or receive.
Verify that the Debt is Yours
Collection agencies like Diversified Consultants get bad information more than you might think. Your debt amount may be wrong. You may have already paid the debt to the original creditor. Your personal information such as your address or phone number may be inaccurate.
Or you may have no connection to the debt whatsoever. Maybe the original creditor sent your contact information to the debt collector by mistake.
This is why it is imperative to confirm that the debt is actually yours before making payment agreements.
You can do this by sending a debt validation letter along with a Section 609 A Form to DCI. You’re requesting the debt collector prove their information on file is correct.
You have 30 days from the first time Diversified Consultants contacts you to mail your validation letter. If you send your letter after the 30-day time frame has passed, you may not hear back on your debt validation request.
Make a Pay-For-Delete Agreement
Once you confirm the debt is yours, try to establish a pay-for-delete agreement. This agreement means Diversified Consultants will delete the collections account from your credit report in exchange for your payments on the debt.
Once again, ensure you have the agreement in writing before you make any payments. Agreements over the phone are not sufficient. Establish the agreement in clear language with set terms so that Diversified Consultants can’t claim it didn’t know about the agreement to remove your credit blemishes.
Once you have the agreement in place, make your payments until the debt — or until the agreed-upon percentage of your debt — is paid off. Check your credit report 30 days after you make your first payment. You should find the Diversified Consultants entry cleared from your credit report.
If the entry is still there, reach back out to Diversified Consultants and remind them of the agreement you entered. This company is usually pretty good about deleting entries from credit reports as greed. If they don’t follow through, have the written agreement handy to force their hand.
If this doesn’t work, file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Visit consumerfinance.gov or call (855) 411-2372.
Have a Professional Remove the Collection
Sometimes, you’ve just had enough. All the letter writing seems too overwhelming. When you’ve reached this point, check out Lexington Law Credit Repair.
This law firm can help you get inaccurate data removed within a couple months. They charge by the month, along with an initial set-up fee.
Most of the time, a firm like Lexington Law can get stuff removed from your credit report a lot quicker than you could do by yourself.
Does Diversified Consultants Have Any Complaints Against Them?
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has received more than 4,000 complaints about DCI. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has received about 900 more complaints about the company.
People filing complaints say DCI has violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The FDCPA protects consumers from consistent and abusive harassment from collection agencies.
The FDCPA defines harassing behavior by a debt collection agency as:
- Phone calls before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
- Failing to respond to debt validation letters.
- Lying about their identity or amount owed.
- Trying to collect a debt that does not belong to the consumer.
It’s against federal law for DCI or any other collection agency to violate the FDCPA. You should get familiar with your consumer rights before interacting with staff from any collection company.
Keep detailed logs of your calls and interactions with the agency. If the agent violates the FDCPA in any way, you may be entitled to $1,000 per infraction. This involves legal counsel, but it may be worth it if you feel particularly targeted.
Why is a Collections Account on My Credit Report a Big Deal?
Removing a collections account from your credit report can breathe new life into your credit score. The presence of a collections account on your credit report can damage your score for up to seven years after the account entered collections.
Your credit report is the number one source potential lenders use to learn whether you are responsible when it comes to making timely payments. Lenders and other financial services providers prefer borrowers with established credit and no history of collections or loan defaults.
Having a collections account on your credit report tells potential lenders or financial service providers that you didn’t pay a debt for so long the original creditor turned to a debt collection agency — costing it time and money along the way.
New lenders don’t know you personally so most of them have to assume your credit history tells the whole story. They’ll respond by denying your loan application or approving it with punitive interest rates.
Buying a house or a car or trying to start a small business — in other words making any purchase large enough to require financing — may become impossible.
Are You Dealing With Diversified Consultants?
Dealing with collection agencies and credit reporting bureaus induces anxiety in many of us. No one wants to see missed calls from debt collectors.
But this problem won’t go away by itself. Yes, the statute of limitations may expire after three years, but this just means you can’t be successfully sued by the creditor. It doesn’t mean the negative mark disappears from your credit history.
Facing the problem head-on will make it go away faster. Waiting only limits your options.
Clearing collection account entries can be accomplished with three easy steps. As long as you follow the guidelines above, you should be able to clear them from your credit report within a couple months.
Be sure to check out our other articles to learn how to boost your credit score and set yourself up for financial success.