Summary: Use these steps to remove IC System from your credit report, stop all of those harassing calls, and put that debt in your past.
You already know a good credit report can unlock more opportunities in life. But what happens when a collection agency like IC System drops in to ruin an otherwise fabulous day?
If this happens, there’s just one thing to do: you must take action, and fast.
Fortunately, there are proven ways to get collection agencies off your back and limit the damage to your credit.
What is IC System Credit Collection Services?
IC System is a collection agency. They collect overdue accounts in a variety of industries, although the company focuses on unpaid balances for healthcare, dental, government, utilities, and communications.
If they’re showing up on your credit report, their name might confuse you.
While the actual name of the business is IC System, most people refer to them as IC Systems. This minor difference isn’t a big deal as long as you know it’s the same company.
What to Do If You Hear From IC System
If you’re getting calls and letters from IC System, one of your credit accounts has gone into collections. The original creditor has either sold your account to IC System or retained the collection agency to get you to pay.
Dealing with collection agencies is stressful, and collection accounts can hammer your credit. You could even be sued.
Don’t ignore this problem. It won’t go away. Here’s what you can do.
1. Know Your Rights
The rights of debtors and the obligations of debt collectors are spelled out in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Here are some key points.
- A debt collector cannot call you before 8AM or after 9PM.
- A debt collector cannot call your place of employment.
- If you have a lawyer, the collector must communicate with your lawyer.
- A debt collector may not communicate with your friends or family members or tell them about your debts.
- Debt collectors cannot threaten to harm you, your reputation, or your property, or use profane language.
- Debt collectors must identify themselves and the company they represent. They cannot claim to be law enforcement or other officials.
- A debt collector cannot threaten you with imprisonment or seizure of assets.
For a full review of your rights under the FDCPA see this summary from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
2. Validate and Verify the Debt
A debt collector must supply the following information to you within five days of the first time they contact you.
- The amount you owe.
- The name of the creditor.
- A notice that you have 30 days to dispute the debt.
This is called debt validation and the information is usually contained in a debt validation letter.
If you do not dispute the debt within 30 days, it is presumed valid. Always dispute debts. To dispute the account you will send a debt verification letter. Send the debt collector a certified letter asking for the following.
- How much you owe.
- The name and address of the original creditor.
- Proof that you owe the debt.
- The date of the original debt.
- Proof that the collector has legal standing to pursue collection efforts in your state.
Send the letter to the IC System by certified mail.
Remember the difference between a debt validation letter, which the collection agency sends to you, and a debt verification letter, which you send to them.
Once you receive the debt validation letter you have 30 days to send your debt verification letter.
If the collector cannot verify the debt they must cease contact with you and notify the credit bureaus that the debt is unverifiable and should be removed from your credit record.
The law says they must contact all three major credit bureaus to have them remove the collection account from your credit report.
Remember the Statute of Limitations
Always check the date of the debt against the statute of limitations in your state. If the statute of limitations has expired, the collector cannot pursue legal action against you.
The statute of limitations clock begins on the date when the debt was first reported as delinquent.
Remember that making a payment or acknowledging that the debt is yours can restart the statute of limitations.
The expiry of the statute of limitations will not remove an account from your credit record. If the statute of limitations has expired or will expire soon there’s a good chance that the seven-year period of appearance on your credit record is also nearly up.
If the statute of limitations is nearly up your best bet might be to just wait it out.
3. Get IC System to Quit Calling
You could get as many as 15 calls per day, according to a Consumer Credit Card Market Report.
That’s way too many.
But you can’t just call them and ask them to stop.
Follow these simple steps to stop the calls.
- Write a “stop contact” or “cease” letter telling them to stop contacting you.
- Make a copy for yourself and mail the original to IC System.
- To prove you sent the letter, send it by certified mail with “return receipt requested.”
Make sure you follow these exact steps.
If you do, the National Consumer Law Center states, “the collector can only acknowledge the letter and notify you about legal steps the collector may take.”
When you stop the phone calls, you get some breathing room. Remember that you still owe the debt, and the collector can take legal action.
Then you can tackle the next step.
4. Contest the Debt With the Credit Bureaus
If you believe that you do not owe the debt or that the collection agency has failed to validate the debt, you can file a dispute with the credit bureaus. You will need to dispute the account separately with each credit bureau.
Credit Reporting Bureau Mailing Addresses
|P.O. Box 740256 Atlanta, GA 30374-0256||P.O. Box 9701 Allen, TX 75013||P.O. Box 2000 Chester, PA 19016-2000|
You can also dispute it online:
The credit bureau must investigate and verify your debt. If they cannot, they must remove it from your credit record.
Remember that even if the debt is removed from your credit record, the collection agency can still pursue collection efforts.
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5. Settle With A Pay For Delete Agreement
While occasionally the collection debt isn’t yours, most of the time, it is. If that’s the case, a settlement is one way to resolve the situation.
Remember that debt collectors pay, on average, 4 cents for every dollar of debt that they buy. That gives you room to negotiate. A collector can accept less than you owe and still make a profit.
An article from U.S. News & World Report found that collection agencies will settle for between 40-60% of the balance – which could mean thousands of dollars saved.
You might offer 10% of your balance to see what they say.
They’ll probably ask for more, but don’t let them push you around. With a little negotiation, you can reach an agreement you’re comfortable with.
Pay for Delete
A collection agency may agree to remove your account from your credit record if you settle your debt. This is called a “pay for delete” arrangement.
When you discuss a settlement, ask the collection agency representative if they will delete your record if you pay. Send a formal “pay for delete letter” to confirm the arrangement and ask for a written commitment.
Remember that you cannot compel a credit bureau to remove a legitimate account from your record. It will be recorded as paid, but it may remain on your credit report for seven years from the date when the account first became delinquent.
A pay-for-delete arrangement is a gamble. It may not work, but it’s worth trying. If the settlement is accepted you will no longer have to deal with the collection agency, and that’s a big plus.
6. Consider Getting Help from the Pros
While you can negotiate on your own, it can be difficult.
If you get stuck on any part of this process, or if you’re not up for the challenge of dealing with this issue yourself, you’ll want to consider getting help from a credit expert.
Get Professional Help
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Jumping through hoops to get your credit report spick-and-span isn’t always easy.
Just remember to always communicate with IC System in writing.
Otherwise, the representative you speak with could go back on the terms you discussed, and you won’t have any solid proof to fall back on.
Whether you got a letter in the mail, want to stop calls from them, or if it popped up on your record, you have options.
And imagine how much better you’ll feel with this removed from your credit report!