If a company called Works and Lentz, Inc., has been calling, you may be wondering if the company is a legitimate debt collector or some sort of scam.
Works and Lentz, Inc., is completely legitimate, and it won’t stop calling unless you pay off the debt — or take some other action to deal with this problem.
In this post, I’ll explore your best options for dealing with W&L.
About Works & Lentz of Tulsa, Inc.
Founded in 2001, Works and Lentz, Inc., is a third-party debt collector headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This company also has an office in Oklahoma City.
Works and Lentz has a staff of about 110 employees and annual revenue of around $13 million.
Very few people enjoy hearing from debt collectors, and W&L is no different. W&L has amassed a number of complaints in its two decades of debt collecting.
Currently, W&L has about 25 complaints filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and three complaints with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). They’ve also been sued in civil court several times.
Consumers have accused Works & Lentz of ignoring the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) which protects debtors from harassment and the Fair Credit Reporting Act which protects consumers from inaccurate credit reporting.
Specifically, Works & Lentz has been accused of failing to validate debts, calling multiple times a day, and reporting inaccurate information to credit bureaus.
If you experience FDCPA violations when dealing with Works & Lentz, Inc., you should also file a complaint with the CFPB.
If you are overwhelmed by dealing with negative entries on your credit report,
we suggest you ask a professional credit repair company for help.
Why Is Works & Lentz on My Credit Report?
Before it can pursue you for debt recovery, Works and Lentz must first open a collections account which will appear on your credit reports with the major credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.
This collections account is damaging to your credit score, and it can stay on your credit report for seven years.
When it first appears, a collection account could knock up to 100 points off the credit score of someone who had excellent credit.
A lower credit score means you’ll have fewer options for borrowing money when you need a car loan, credit card, or mortgage.
Even car insurance rates, in most states, consider your credit history.
Fixing your credit is the main objective for most of our readers who have gotten acquainted with Works and Lentz, Inc.
Getting rid of the negative information from Works and Lentz can get your credit score back up to speed — especially if the W&L entry is the only negative item in your history.
Luckily, there are tried-and-true ways to accomplish this.
Often, the methods don’t include logging on to the Works and Lentz payment portal and paying off the debt.
In fact, paying the debt may reduce your chances of getting this company off your credit report.
How to Get Works & Lentz, Inc. off Your Credit Report
If you want to remove a collection from your credit report, you will need to follow the four steps outlined below.
1. Request Written Communication
No matter what a debt collector says on the phone, you need to get your agreements in writing — especially if you plan to make payment on W&L’s online payment portal.
Collections agencies are motivated by the profit which comes when you pay on old debts. Agents tend to be agreeable as long as you’re agreeing to make payment.
Then, after you’ve paid, the agency may not remember the agreements you’d discussed. That’s why it is important to request Works & Lentz, Inc., communicate with you only in writing.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) gives you the right to ask for communication strictly via U.S. Mail.
This helps you hold debt collectors accountable for the agreements they make with you. You can hold onto each piece of mail to help back up your case if they begin overwhelming you with letters.
Plus, it’ll stop those phone calls.
HOW TO REQUEST CONTACT ONLY BY MAIL
Requesting written communication from Works & Lentz, Inc., should be easy enough.
Next time they call, simply ask for them to contact you only through registered U.S. Mail moving forward.
If Works & Lentz, Inc. begins pushing back, tell them that they are in violation of the FDCPA and that you plan to file a complaint with the CFPB.
2. Write a Debt Validation Letter
This next step could get your debt removed with minimal effort.
You’ll need to write a letter to Works & Lentz, Inc. asking it to validate your debt.
Debt validation, also known as debt verification, is another right that you have under the FDCPA.
Its purpose is to allow you to review the information W&L has to ensure you are making payments on a debt that is valid and – most importantly – yours.
In the past, creditors held consumers responsible for inaccurate negative items, lowering credit scores without justification.
Many people don’t bother requesting debt verification because they know the debt is, in fact, theirs.
This is understandable, but it also means people miss an opportunity to get the debt removed from their credit report on a technicality.
If Works & Lentz, Inc. has inaccurate information about your debt in their records, they are required to remove their entry from your credit report and stop collections.
This doesn’t mean you don’t owe the money, but it does mean the W&L can’t keep reporting it as accurate to the three credit bureaus.
The CFPB takes inaccurate reporting very seriously, so it’s worthwhile to see if there is anything amiss about Works & Lentz, Inc.’s collection entry.
HOW TO REQUEST DEBT VALIDATION
To formally request debt validation, you must write a debt validation letter.
This letter is also known as a Section 609 letter and asks W&L to confirm the details of your debt.
Please don’t put off sending this letter. The FDCPA protects your right to debt validation for only 30 days from your first notification from a debt collector.
If you wait beyond that, the third-party debt collections agency may not honor your request.
If Works & Lentz, Inc. is unable to provide information about your debt at all, it must remove its account from your credit report with all three major credit reporting bureaus.
Most likely, W&L will send you several documents that list various details about your old account, the one-handed over to W&L by your original creditor.
Go through each page and look for any inaccuracies or omissions.
If you find anything amiss, you can file an advanced dispute with the major credit bureaus to have Works & Lentz, Inc.’s account removed.
3. Negotiate a Settlement
Assuming Works & Lentz, Inc., provided full and accurate details to validate your old debt, your next step is to negotiate a settlement.
Specifically, you need a pay-for-delete settlement.
With this kind of payment agreement, you don’t simply pay online and walk away.
You make your payment contingent upon getting something you need: the collection account removed from your credit history.
This takes a little persistence, but it works more often than you might think because debt collectors want payments more than they want to punish you with bad credit.
And you don’t necessarily have to pay the full amount due.
I recommend offering to pay half the balance in exchange for removing the negative items from your credit history.
You can negotiate the payment amount. You’ll probably have to.
But don’t budge on Works & Lentz deleting its collections account in response to your payment.
Removing the collections account can boost your credit and lower your interest rates when you apply for loans and credit cards later on.
And, like I said in Step 1, get this agreement in writing before you make a payment.
After you settle on terms and conditions, work up a contract that both you and Works & Lentz, Inc. can sign.
Don’t make any payments on the debt until they have agreed to the terms and signed the contract.
Works & Lentz, Inc. should contact the credit bureaus and remove their account once they receive your initial payment.
It takes about one month for the entry to disappear, so monitor your report to ensure that it goes away.
4. Hire a Credit Professional To Deal with Works & Lentz
You may feel uncomfortable taking on a debt collector like Works & Lentz, Inc. all on your own.
Luckily, there are professionals out there that can deal with them for you.
Credit repair professionals specialize in identifying and removing damaging accounts from your credit history.
This goes beyond just collection accounts.
They can help you with judgments, bankruptcies, liens, and more.
Like many industries, there are companies in the credit repair space that are simply not worth the money.
It’s important that you do your research before you hire professional help.
Are You Being Harassed by Works and Lentz Inc. of Tulsa?
People who are contacted by a debt collector will sometimes try ignoring the problem, hoping it will go away.
Or, they’ll complain about the harassment, the phone calls, and the unfairness without taking any action to stop the debt collector.
Or, consumers get spooked by fears of a wage garnishment, lawsuits, or the shame of having their friends and family contacted by a debt collector.
None of this helps, and it tends to make things worse for you down the line.
If you are dealing with Works & Lentz, Inc., don’t delay. Deal with the situation as promptly as you can.
Learn your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and know you have allies with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and with sites like ours who try to shed light on debt collection practices.
If you follow the four steps above, you should be able to remove Works & Lentz from your credit report.
This will save you many headaches in the future when you apply for loans or credit cards.
Everyone has the ability to repair their credit and boost their score.