Established in 1986, Wakefield and Associates is a third-party debt collection agency headquartered in Aurora, Colorado.
With over 100 employees and dozens of call centers across the US, the company pays off an annual average of more than $30 million in debt collections—making them one of the more successful agencies in the US.
If you’re one of the many people the agency contacts on a daily basis, don’t fret. We’ll show you how to remove Wakefield and Associates from your credit report so it won’t affect your credit score moving forward.
Ready to fix your credit score? Let’s dive right in.
What Is Wakefield and Associates?
Wakefield and Associates is a third-party collection agency that buys charged-off debt from creditors. It works for a number of organizations, including health care, education, banking, and various other industries.
Wakefield and Associates appear under several different names in a credit score report, including:
- Wakefield Associates
- Wakefield Collections
- Wakefield & Assoc
- Wakefield Payment Solutions
- Wakefield RRC
- Wakefield and Associates Colorado
- Wakefield and Associates Morgan Colorado
- Wakefield Associates Knoxville TN
- Wakefield & Associates Jefferson City MO
Is Wakefield and Associates a Scam?
Wakefield and Associates is a real debt collection agency. It isn’t a scam, despite the company’s (sometimes) back-handed and aggressive tactics. But though the company is completely legitimate, Wakefield and Associates scammers do exist.
In spite (or perhaps because) of their bad customer service reputation, scammers would pretend to be Wakefield and Associates employees to scam you out of your money, uncaring of how they do it.
If someone claiming to be a Wakefield and Associates employee makes contact with you, don’t process a payment through phone or by going through a link.
End the call and contact Wakefield and Associates through email or phone to verify the legitimacy of the call, as well as the debts you owe the company.
Once you’ve verified that it’s indeed Wakefield and Associates making contact with you, you’re ready to go through the next step: removing it from your credit report.
Why Is Wakefield and Associates in My Credit Report?
If Wakefield and Associates is in your credit report, you likely have a charge-off amount that has been transferred or bought by a debt collection agency. Wakefield and Associates is given full permission to contact you and urge you to pay the charge-off amount on the creditor’s behalf.
Wakefield and Associates has developed long-term partnerships with numerous lenders across different industries. The company mostly deals with healthcare-related billing services, but it also works for the following industries:
- Dental practices
- Financial services
- Property management firms
- Education Institutions, including colleges and universities
- Physician practice groups
- Commercial services
Should I Negotiate a Settlement With Wakefield and Associates and Be Done With It?
If Wakefield and Associates is constantly pressuring you to pay your debt, it’s tempting to just negotiate a settlement if only to cease all contact with the company.
But here’s the thing: settling your debt with Wakefield and Associates will simply change your credit report status from “unpaid” to “paid.”
The collection account will still remain on your report for seven years from the date of first delinquency.
This means that although you’ve paid off the amount, your credit is still affected.
Future creditors will see the mark on your report, which will affect your approval for future loans, mortgages, and the like.
Don’t worry, though; all hope isn’t lost. You can still remove Wakefield and Associates from your credit report and clear your score with the right process, as discussed in the next section.
How to Remove Wakefield and Associates from Your Credit Report
When you find Wakefield and Associates on your credit score, there are things you should and shouldn’t do.
Let’s start with the things you SHOULDN’T do:
- Panic: Panicking inhibits your ability to think clearly and logically.
- Delay: Immediate action is the key to success. The faster the situation is resolved, the less risk of damaging your credit score.
- Ignore: Ignoring the situation won’t miraculously make it disappear. If anything, it could make things worse.
- Believe what they say: Debt collectors are notorious for lying and making false threats to force you to pay your debt. Don’t be fooled by these attempts.
- Apply for new lines of credit: Deal with one thing at a time. If you apply for a new line of credit, it’s considered fraudulent behavior.
Now that we’ve discussed what you shouldn’t do, here’s what you SHOULD do:
Step 1: Know Your Rights
Debt collectors are known for their aggressive behaviors and tactics.
From repeated phone calls to legal threats, there’s little they wouldn’t do to collect your debts—and sometimes, they cross the line.
It’s your responsibility to draw a line to this aggression and know your rights.
According to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), debt collectors can’t and shouldn’t:
- Make contact before 8 am or 9 pm.
- Make contact with your workplace or employer.
- Make contact with your friends or family members.
- Disclose your debts to anyone but you
- Threaten bodily harm.
- Threaten you with imprisonment or seizure of assets.
- Threaten to ruin your reputation or your property.
- Use profane language.
- Publicize your debts.
Debt collectors often put on an intimidating act to “force” you into paying your debts but remember: collection agencies usually don’t have the legal authority to put you in jail or issue arrest warrants without a court order.
Similarly, collectors are prohibited from continuously or repeatedly calling you with the intent to oppress, harass, or abuse. Collectors violate your rights if they call you more than seven times within a seven-day period, or after engaging in a phone conversation about your debt within the same time period.
This only applies to phone calls, however; debt collectors can still contact you via emails, text messages, or private social media messages.
When a debt collector contacts you within the appropriate time, he should provide identifying information right off the bat, such as his name, the company he works for, the company address, the phone number, and, if applicable, his professional license number.
He should also validate your name, the amount you owe, and reiterate your FDCPA consumer rights.
If you have a lawyer, the collection agency should contact your lawyer directly instead of contacting you.
Step 2: Validate and Verify Your Debt
Regardless of the agency, debt collectors are legally required to send you a Notice of Debt or a debt validation letter within five days of their first official contact. Without the letter, the company’s request for collection is not valid and thus isn’t collectible.
Since Wakefield and Associates deals with hundreds of third-party debt accounts per day, there’s a chance that the company doesn’t have the right documentation to validate its claim.
It’s possible that you were targeted completely by mistake, either from the company’s end or from your original creditor’s end.
Perhaps you’ve already paid the full amount to your creditor but it wasn’t recorded, resulting in the account being sent to a third-party collection agency like Wakefield and Associates. As someone who’s worked in the debt collection field before, I’ve seen this happen countless times.
To make sure you’re on the right track, always request a Notice of Debt before further making contact with Wakefield and Associates. Unless the letter is in your possession, Wakefield and Associates doesn’t have any legal right to continue making contact with you.
Without sufficient proof, the company will have to remove the collections account from your credit report.
Step 3: Request for a Validation Letter
If you’ve not received the Notice of Debt within five days and the agency has yet to remove the credit account from your report, take matters into your own hands and send a debt validation letter.
According to Federal law, you have exactly 30 days to request Wakefield and Associates (and any other collection agency) to validate your debt. This is you leaving a paper trail; with this, the company can’t say you “just ignored” the matter.
For the uninitiated, a debt validation letter is a letter that requests verifying documentation from an agency, proving that you do, indeed, owe them this money.
If Wakefield and Associates doesn’t respond to the letter you sent but still contact you about the debt, the company is in direct violation of the FDCPA. You can report this failure to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), or your state’s attorney general.
Debt collection agencies are required to send you a response within five days, but some respond within 30 days or not at all.
If you’ve not received the letter within 30 days, you can demand the company be removed from your credit history. The same is said if the validation letter you’ve received doesn’t provide any proof of your debt.
Step 4: Negotiate a Pay-for-Delete Agreement
If Wakefield and Associates were able to verify your debt via verification letter, or you’re outside the mandatory 30-day period of sending a letter, you can opt for a pay-for-delete agreement with the company.
The legality of pay-for-delete agreements is still up for debate to this day. It’s more or less prohibited under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, so it shouldn’t be viewed as a get-out-of-bad credit card. However, some agencies—yes, even Wakefield and Associates—have this option as long as you fulfill specific conditions.
As the name suggests, a pay-for-delete is an agreement in which a borrower agrees to pay off his/her collections account in exchange for credit report erasure.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, debt collectors pay about 4¢ of debt they buy. This gives you a bit of room to negotiate. Some collection agencies even settle between 40 to 60% of the balance and still make a profit, saving you thousands of dollars.
When requesting a pay-for-delete, start your negotiations between 10 to 50% of the full amount you owe and go from there. The company will likely ask you for more, but don’t let them push you around.
With a bit of negotiation, both you and the company can hopefully reach an agreement you’re comfortable with. And once you’ve paid the agreed amount, the collection account should disappear from your credit report within a month.
Step 5: Contact a Credit Repair Company
If you don’t have the patience to negotiate or talk to debt collection agencies, the next best thing—apart from hiring a lawyer to deal with your finances—is to hire a credit repair company.
Credit repair companies are a saving grace to people with a lot of unsettled debt. They have a lot of experience with debt collection agencies, so they can easily handle your communications with Wakefield and Associates.
Leave it to credit repair companies to negotiate settlements, dispute claims, and deal with the legal side of things. Their end goal is to improve, correct, and remove collection information from your credit report—in exchange for payment, of course.
Step 6 (Optional): Submit a Goodwill Deletion Letter
If none of the above mentioned methods work, it’s worth sending a goodwill deletion letter to Wakefield and Associates as a last resort.
This strategy doesn’t have a high rate of success. However, some agencies honor your request as long as you have supporting documentation.
In the goodwill letter, include details explaining why you were late for payment or can’t make a payment, as well as the recent hardship you’re experiencing (unexpected family emergency, health issues, recently fired from a job, etc.).
Be completely honest and, at the end of the letter, politely ask if they could remove the collection account from your credit—or ask for ways to remove it.
There you have it; my top tips on how to remove Wakefield and Associates from your credit report.
Remember, before you do anything, make sure to know your rights and verify the validity of the company’s claims.
If Wakefield and Associates aren’t able to produce a validation letter after your request, you’re in no legal position to continue contact.