Have you been getting so many phone calls from Wakefield and Associates that you dread the idea of answering your phone?
Are you receiving letters in the mail about a debt you might owe?
Wakefield and Associates is a debt collection agency. If they are contacting you they have either purchased an unpaid debt from one of your creditors or one of your creditors has hired them to collect from you.
An account in collections is bad news. Your credit score will take a beating and you will be harassed. You could even be sued.
Your credit score has likely taken a hit already but it’s still not too late to try to remedy the situation. Here’s what you need to know to get Wakefield and Associates off your back and out of your credit report.
Is Wakefield And Associates Real?
This is a valid question to ask if you’re never heard of this company before. It’s not uncommon for illegitimate debt collection companies to contact consumers and claim they owe a balance.
Wakefield and Associates is legitimate and has been in business since 1986. The company is headquartered in Aurora, Colorado with locations in Knoxville Tennessee, and has over 175 employees.
Although Wakefield and Associates has an A rating with the Better Business Bureau, they are not accredited and have also had 377 complaints closed in the past 3 years.
Their website is pretty basic, allowing people to contact their Colorado location or their office in Knoxville TN to make a payment.
The company have quite a few locations across the U.S. and may go by some of these names including:
- Wakefield and Associates Inc
- Wakefield and Associates Morgan Colorado
- Wakefield and Associates Colorado
- Wakefield and Associates Knoxville TN
- Wakefield and Associates Jefferson City MO
What Can I Do?
If you’re hearing from Wakefield and Associates – or any collection agency – there are things that you can (and should) do. There are also two things that you should not do:
- Don’t Panic. It won’t help.
- Don’t ignore the situation. That won’t help either. They won’t go away.
That’s what you shouldn’t do, but what should you do?
Here’s where to start.
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 Wakefield and Associates 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.
Remember that even if you know the debt is yours, the more important issue is whether they know it’s yours.
Because guess what?
If they can’t prove it’s yours, they can’t report it to the credit bureaus.
They might not be able to come up with that proof. Remember, Wakefield and Associates probably purchased your debt, in bulk with a bunch of other debt, from the original creditor.
Who knows what was lost in the shuffle?
The onus is on them to provide proof. If they can’t, they’re required by law to remove it 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. Stop Calls from Wakefield and Associates NOW
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 Wakefield and Associates.
- 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.
Get Your FREE Pay for Delete Letter Template
After much testing, we have put written a great pay to delete letter you can use to get started.
The only major downside is that many debt collection agencies may push back against this idea or say they don’t do it.
It’s best to get the company to agree in writing so they don’t go back on their word.
In recent years, people have had some luck with getting Wakefield and Associates to arrange a phone call to discuss pay for delete agreement, but it seems this company shies away from setting up terms in writing.
It’s worth a try but there are no guarantees.
Hire A Credit Repair Company
If you don’t want to go through all the trouble of writing letters and negotiating with Wakefield and Associates Inc on the phone, you can always consider hiring a credit repair company to help.
A credit repair company is equipped to deal with aggressive debt collectors to help you get the best possible outcome.
The credit repair industry has earned a terrible reputation, and you’ll have to look out for disreputable companies and credit repair scams. There are still some companies that are legitimate and helpful.
Choosing to work with an expert sooner rather than later can save you a lot of time and money in the long run.
Get Professional Help
We analyzed 21 credit repair companies based on price, service, and results, and picked our top three choices.
Wakefield And Associates Lawsuit
If you’re wondering does Wakefield and Associates have a right to sue me, the answer is yes. If you fail to pay back a debt collection company like Wakefield and Associates, there is a chance you could get sued.
If you don’t respond, the judge will probably issue a summary judgment against you. You will be ordered to repay the debt. If you don’t, your wages could be garnished. In some states, your assets could be seized.
Not all companies will exercise their right to file a lawsuit against you, but it’s a harsh reality when dealing with an aggressive debt collector.
Important! Read up on what to do if you get sued by a debt collector to make sure you take all the right steps.
The bottom line is that Wakefield and Associates Inc is not going to go away on its own. It can be draining to receive constant calls from a debt collector, but you can fight back and possibly even get the negative mark removed from your credit.
The key is to know your rights and utilize the tools and resources available to you for negotiation. If you’re ready to get rid of Wakefield and Associates once and for all, there is light at the end of the tunnel.