If you have suffered from a debt collection agency pursuing you over an unpaid debt, your credit score could also be affected.
Knowing the different debt collection agencies, which they typically collect for, and your rights will help to protect you against scammers and unethical practices from legitimate companies.
This article will focus on Afni Collections to give you all the information you need should you have any dealing with them. We will also provide you with details on Afni Collections credit report removal.
About Afni Collections
Dating back to 1936, Afni Collections is a debt collection agency located in Bloomington, Il, U.S.
They operate across the Midwest and will typically work with healthcare, insurance, satellite, cable, and telecommunications companies to recover the debt.
Afni Collections are also known as Afni, Afni-Bloom, Afni Inc, and Anderson Finanical Network Inc.
As well as offering debt collection services, Afni also provides customer service solutions. This means they will typically work on behalf of another company to provide a service for them.
Is Afni Collections Legitimate?
If you have been contacted by a company you have had no previous dealings with, it can be disconcerting and is always worth investigating.
Afni collections is not a scam, and you will likely be aware of owing a company money. They should also advise you what the source of the debt is so you can check.
They are a legitimate collection agency and should follow a certain code of conduct set by the professional bodies they are a member of, including the ACCP.
It is possible that scammers can impersonate legitimate debt collection agencies, so verification is essential. You should never use the contact details provided by the initial contact. Search online or use the following information to verify the identity of who has contacted you.
Afni Phone Number – (866) 352 0479
Afni Website – www.afnicollections.com
Afni Address – PO Box 3097, Bloomington, IL 61702-3427
How Does Afni Collections Work?
If your debt has been transferred to Afni Collections to deal with, you will be provided with an account number. You will then be able to speak with them to work out a debt repayment plan that suits you.
You will be able to sign in and manage your account, giving you more control and access to deal with your debt.
How does an Afni account work?
Logging into an Afni account is straightforward. You can do this using the Afni account number provided to you on any communication and by using your final four social security number digits.
Your account will allow you to;
- Check the balance
- Make payments
- Create a payment plan
- Report problems
- Download and print account details and receipts
Disputes can be raised by calling Afni Collections directly, sending a letter, or submitting a dispute through the account.
Are there differences between collection types?
Yes, there will be differences in debt collection regarding a medical bill. If you see medical debt on a credit report, the following implications may be pertinent to your case;
- The debt will be months old – There will typically be a waiting period of between 60 and 120 days. After this, the medical institutions will sell the debt on to debt collection agencies.When the debt has been received by the debt collector, credit bureaus will wait 180 days to add this to your credit report. This will allow you to either set up payment plans with the collection agency or agree on arrangements with an insurance company.
- Afni Collections will own your debt – If your medical bill debt shows on a credit report, it is likely that the debt will have been sold to the collection agency because medical institutions won’t typically report to credit bureaus as a rule.
- Medical collections will not be as damaging to credit reports – Medical bills that are sold to collection agencies will affect your score, but they won’t be as damaging as other types of debt. This is due to the way VantageScore and FICO have developed credit scoring models.
Will Afni Call Me?
Yes, Afni will call to discuss the outstanding debt. They should also send you a debt validation letter after contact. If you have not received this yet, request it when you speak to them.
Debt collectors must send a debt validation letter within five days of contacting you in accordance with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The letter must contain;
- How much is owed
- Your name
- Information regarding your rights to dispute the notice of the debt within thirty days of getting the letter
- Information stating that any dispute received in writing will result in evidence of the disputed debt being mailed to you within 30 days
- Information stating that you will have 30 days from receiving the letter to write and request the address and name of the healthcare provider or lender that sold the debt to them
Will Afni continue to contact me if I don’t settle the bill?
Yes, Afni Collections agents will continue to make contact with you until you pay them or make an agreement. This can be frustrating, but Afni are restricted on how they are permitted to contact you.
Harassment by debt collectors is restricted under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
It is illegal for Afni to;
- Make multiple calls on any one day
- Phone you after 9 pm or prior to 8 am
- Contact you while you are at work if you have made it clear you can’t receive calls when working
- Send pre-recorded or automated messages asking for payment
- Discuss your debt with third parties, including coworkers, friends, or family
- Intimidate or threaten you with credit damage, arrest, legal action, or general harm
- Provide false information regarding the amount owed or attempt to get more than is due
- Threaten you with jail or make accusations that you have broken laws
If you are concerned by the actions of Afni representatives, you should start to keep a record of calls and letters. Recording calls can also help you build a case should take legal action.
Do All Debt Collection Agencies Work in an Ethical Way?
Afni is a legitimate company registered with The Association of Credit and Collection Professionals. However, they have settled lawsuits regarding the violation of consumer rights in the past.
They must follow the FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) so understanding your rights is a fundamental part of ensuring you have been treated fairly.
Is Legal Action Against Afni a Viable Option?
You can take legal action against Afni Collections if they have violated your rights according to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. You will be due $1,000 for every violation as statutory damages, and more for damages that are a direct result of any violations.
Collecting evidence of violations will help your case, and Afni Collections would be liable for court costs and attorney fees.
How to File a Complaint Against Afni
If you believe that Afni Collections have violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act or behaved illegally, reporting them to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, your State Attorney General, or the Federal Trade Commission is advised.
These professional bodies will advise further and let you know if you have a case to take action against Afni Collections.
You will also be able to contact the BBB (Better Business Bureau) via their website and file a complaint. The BBB is an independent organization that would contact Afni to raise your concerns.
If you are thinking about speaking with the BBB, it is worth noting that they are not a part of the U.S. Government, so they might not be able to achieve a satisfactory outcome. You might also forfeit the ability to pursue court action against Afni Collections if the dispute is passed on to an arbitrator.
How to Remove Afni Collections From a Credit Report
Removing Afni Collections from your credit report is possible. Removing medical collections can be done with these steps;
Record all contact
You should keep details of all communications you have with Afni Collections. The best way to do this is by communicating only by letter, and dating letters and sending them by recorded mail is also recommended.
You have a legal right to ask debt collectors to cease contact completely, which can result in more issues. A better option is opening a good dialogue that can be verified and traced.
Contact your insurance company
Medical collections that have been paid will be automatically removed from credit reports as of July 1st, 2022. This means that your Afni Collections debt will be removed if your insurance covers it. If not, it can still be removed by you paying the debt.
Issue debt verification letters
When you send a debt verification letter, the debt collector is legally obligated to prove the debt. This means that scammers will be detected, or if it is a legitimate company, but they can’t provide this evidence, they would have to delete the debt from your credit records.
Sending a debt verification letter is also a great way to get Afni Collections to cease contact, as they are not permitted to do so until they have provided this evidence.
The following step will help you if your debt is older than a few years or Afni Collections are unable to provide adequate evidence. The steps following this will help if Afni can provide the evidence requested.
Send a credit dispute letter
If Afni Collections are unable to provide adequate evidence or the debt is beyond the statutory limit of seven years, you will be able to write a credit dispute letter and send it to Equifax, TransUnion, or Experian.
You should include all your supporting evidence to the Credit Bureaus, who will take up to 30 days to respond. If they do not respond to you within this timescale, they will be obligated by law to remove the debt.
You will also be able to send a letter to Afni Collections to cease contact if the debt is time-barred or invalid.
Debt statute of limitations will differ depending on the state you live in. This will typically be from 3 to 6 years. You will be able to contact your state attorney general or check their website for this information.
Make a goodwill deletion request
If you have paid the collection account, requesting goodwill deletion is sometimes possible.
This can be done by sending Afni Collections a letter that explains thoroughly the reason for the debt and includes records proving you pay bills on time. You should also provide examples that show how it is negatively affecting you.
Contacting Afni Collection by phone to request this is also a possibility, but there is no guarantee the person you contact will be able to make this decision.
Debt collectors are not obligated to do this, even after payment has been made. Sending a letter won’t always work, but it won’t do any harm.
Negotiate payment for deletion
If you have not paid the debt yet, you can try to speak with Afni Collections and negotiate an agreement for pay-for-delete. This differs from the previous option that deals with debt already paid off.
Sending them a letter will be the first step. You must get written confirmation of any agreement.
You should then monitor your credit reports for a few months after clearing the debt to ensure the collection has been removed. If it has not, contact Afni Collections and provide a copy of the agreement if necessary.
Negotiate a settlement
Debt settlement is something you might be able to negotiate with Afni Collections if the debt is old. They may accept a reduced amount to clear the debt.
Debt collectors buy your debt for a fraction of what is owed, with the expectation that they might never recoup the total amount. Contacting them to agree on a reduction can be agreeable to both parties.
Debt settlement agencies are available that can negotiate on your behalf, but they will charge a fee. Alternatively, you can look at your finances and work out an affordable amount before speaking with Afni Collections to negotiate.
You should receive written confirmation of debt settlements before you pay. You should also be aware that any debt settlements you agree on will still stay on credit reports for as long as seven years. They might not be as harmful as other debts, with some lenders looking favorably on your attempt to clear the debt.
Speak with a credit expert
If you have looked at all the options available and feel overwhelmed or uncomfortable negotiating with Afni Collections, speaking with a credit expert can help.
A credit repair company will attempt to remove damaging information from your credit report. Speaking with a credit repair professional can help give you peace of mind and relieve the stress of dealing with collection companies.
How do Afni Collections now own my debt?
If you owe a company money or fall behind in payments, it can take time and resources to manage this debt and try to get payment.
Quite often, in the terms and conditions of the original loan, it will detail what will happen if payments are missed, or you fall behind with payments. One of these options can be that a debt collector is employed to recoup the money.
The original lender would then pay the debt collector a percentage of the amount owed.
Alternatively, they can sell the debt to debt collection agencies for a reduced price. The debt collector will then be able to pursue you for the money owed legally.
This can benefit the original lender as they will get some money towards the debt without further involvement.
How does a debt going to collection affect my credit score?
If the original creditor or lender has passed your debt to a third party, it will usually be because of a failure to make payment.
The lender will make an initial effort to recoup the debt before making this decision. This is because they will not get the total value of the debt by passing it to an outside agency.
Late payments will affect your credit score, and the longer you owe a debt, the more it will damage it.
If a debt has been passed to a third party for collection, it will have a seriously negative impact on your credit history and score. This is because the original lender has been seen to write off the original debt and accept a percentage of what was due, so they don’t have to deal with you any further.
If you owe a company money, working out a repayment plan before it gets to this stage will benefit your credit score. If your debt has already been passed over to collections, it will typically remain on your credit report for up to seven years.
What rights do I have if my debt has been passed to collection?
It can be a disconcerting time being in debt and being pursued by a collections agency, but you are protected under federal law by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
This act is in place to protect the debtor from unethical behavior or harassment.
The act states that you must be contacted within five days and be made aware of what is owed, who the collector is, and what you can do if you don’t think the debt is yours.
You will have 30 days to dispute a debt. The debt collector must then send evidence of what is owed.
You will be protected against nuisance calls at unsociable hours and harassment from the collector, and they will have to communicate with your attorney if you have let them know you are being represented.
How should I deal with Afni Collections?
You should avoid discussing anything over the phone and request all communications be made by letter.
If they continue to call or you have to speak to them by phone, record the call. Most states allow you to record calls without the permission of the other party. If your state does request permission from both, make it clear you will be recording the call and get them to confirm permission.
If you are dealing with Afni Collections, you should avoid trying to hide money or applying for new lines of credit, as both can be illegal.
While you may not want to deal with them, ignoring them won’t make the problem go away, and opening a line of dialogue to resolve the issue is the best thing to do.
If you are dealing with Afni Collections, the chances are you will have missed payments with either a cable, healthcare, insurance, or telecommunications provider. It is always better to deal with the company you have fallen into arrears with before they pass the debt over to a third party, but sometimes it is unavoidable.
If your debt has been passed to Afni Collections and they have started to contact you requesting payment, it is essential that you know your rights and gets all the information you can before making a payment.
Finding out who the debt is from and asking for evidence that it is owed will help to flush out potential scammers and ensure you are dealing with a legitimate business.
Keeping a paper trail of all contact and requests from Afni Collections is also recommended, so asking them to send you letters rather than calls will be beneficial.
If you believe they are putting unfair pressure on you, are harassing you, or are trying to get you to pay more than you owe or a debt that isn’t yours, you are protected and can pursue legal action.