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Is your credit score suffering because of debt in collections?
Debt collectors can add stress to your everyday routine, calling constantly, sending letters, and even worse, damaging your credit.
If you’ve been contacted by Atlantic Credit & Finance about late payments, you probably have a lot of questions.
In the guide below, we have the answers you need to deal with Atlantic.
We’ll tell you a little more about Atlantic Credit, how debt collection works, and what you can do to get the collections agency off your credit report, stopping their calls in the process.
What Is Atlantic Credit & Finance?
Atlantic Credit & Finance isn’t a household name, leading many consumers to question whether or not it’s legit when they find it on their credit report.
However, Atlantic Credit & Finance, LLC, is a legitimate debt collection agency.
They’ve been operating since 1996 and are headquartered in Roanoke, Virginia, with an additional office in St. Cloud, Minnesota.
You can find Atlantic at the agency’s main office address:
Atlantic Credit & Finance, Inc.
111 Franklin Road SE
Roanoke, VA 24011
What Debts Does Atlantic Credit & Finance Collect?
Atlantic is a part of Encore Capital, a large corporation that purchases consumer debts from a long list of industries.
That means Atlantic could be contacting you about any of the following common types of debt, and potentially others:
- Auto loans
- Credit card bills
- Medical bills
How Does Atlantic Credit & Finance Work?
New to debt collection? Here’s how it works.
If one of your payments, your phone bill, for instance, slips through the cracks, your service provider will send you reminders about paying it for a while.
But if their attempts don’t work, they will eventually turn your debt over to a debt collector.
Sometimes, companies pay collection agencies to aid them in getting people to pay their balances. Other times, they sell the debts to them at deep discounts.
The latter is likely the case with Atlantic.
Once the agency buys your debt, they can hound you with robocalls, messages, calls from representatives, and letters until you make payment.
At the same time, they’ll report your delinquency to one or more of the credit bureaus.
This results in a collections entry on your report, which can do some major damage to your payment history, potentially leading to a steep drop-off for your score.
Collections entries can have serious repercussions over time because, unlike hard inquiries, which fall off your report after two years, these entries stay on your report for 7 years.
Many consumers make the mistake of just paying off their debt and assuming it will be deleted from their report as a result.
Unfortunately, paying your balance, even in full, won’t get it deleted. We’ll show you what you need to do to have the account wiped from your report below.
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How to Deal with Atlantic Credit & Finance
Collections agencies are known for pushing the boundaries in their collection attempts, using borderline harassing techniques.
They also get called out for faulty reporting, as you can see from complaints filed against the agencies with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Better Business Bureau.
Many people aren’t aware that they are protected by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
The FDCPA sets standards for how debt collectors interact with consumers.
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For instance, it keeps collection agents from calling you late at night and early in the morning. It also restricts them from contacting your loved ones, coworkers, or anyone else regarding your debt.
Moreover, it lets you decide how you wish to communicate with Atlantic. It’s always advisable to communicate with debt collectors in writing.
Not only does it halt the agency’s frustrating phone calls, but it also allows you to document every encounter you have with the agency, which can help you get them removed from your credit report.
3 Ways to Remove Atlantic Credit & Finance from Your Credit Report
Now that you know more about who Atlantic is and how the FDCPA protects you from harassment, here are a few strategies to get the collections account off your credit report for good.
- Ask for validation
- Negotiate a pay-for-delete agreement
- Hire a credit repair company
1. Ask for Validation
The easiest way to get a collections agency off your report is also free.
The FDCPA allows you 30 days to dispute a debt.
If you send Atlantic a debt validation letter in that timeframe, they’ll have to provide you with details proving that your debt is legitimate.
Individuals who are being contacted by Atlantic by mistake should absolutely send a letter disputing the debt to clear up the error.
But they aren’t the only ones who should.
Atlantic is a third-party collections agency. Sometimes documents get lost in the shuffle and these agencies don’t have the information they need to prove their collections attempts are legit.
In both cases, if Atlantic can’t furnish you with your account information, the bureaus will remove the entry from your account, and the agency will stop contacting you.
Bottom line: If it’s been less than a month since Atlantic first contacted you and showed up on your report, it can’t hurt to submit a debt validation letter, whether your debt is legitimate or not.
2. Negotiate a Pay-for-Delete Agreement
Debt validation isn’t guaranteed to work. If a collections agency is able to present you with evidence of your debt, or you missed out on the 30-day window for dispute, you still have options.
Your second-best strategy is to arrange a pay-for-delete agreement.
As stated earlier, paying off your debt does not mean that a collections entry will be removed from your report.
The only way to get it deleted (outside of debt validation) is to get the agency to agree to have it removed.
In a pay-for-delete situation, you’re essentially paying the agency an agreed-upon amount to have the collections entry deleted from your report.
The best part of this type of arrangement is that you can probably get the agency to agree to accept a lower amount than what you owe them to satisfy your account.
Third-party collection agencies like Atlantic buy debts for pennies on the dollar, so settling for a negotiated amount is still a profit for them.
Try negotiating to pay half of what you owe. The agency could agree to report your payment to the credit bureaus and have the entry deleted in exchange.
Just be sure to negotiate with the agency in writing to ensure that both sides keep their promises.
Monitor your credit closely after you make a payment. Your score should be updated within 30 days.
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3. Hire a Credit Repair Company
If you aren’t eager to communicate with Atlantic one-on-one, but you’re ready to stop their calls and get them off your credit report, a credit repair company can help.
These companies provide expert, tailored services to help you rebuild your credit, whatever might be bringing it down.
They can easily dispute inaccuracies and negotiate with agencies to ensure that collections accounts don’t stay on your credit report for long.
More than that, they can assist you in repairing your credit in the wake of other serious credit issues, such as:
If your credit needs some major improvement and you don’t know where to begin, paying for a credit repair service is a no-brainer.
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