AFNI Inc. is one of the most well-known debt collection agencies in the United States and their debt collection practices have been anything but ethical in the past. If you’ve received a collection letter or telephone call from AFNI, you should be prepared to exercise your rights as a consumer to make sure that the debt in question is legitimate.
AFNI Inc. and Unfair Debt Collection Practices
In the past, AFNI Inc. has been convicted of many types of unscrupulous debt collection practices. They have attempted to collect debts that consumers did not owe, and they have attempted to collect debts with excessive (and illegal) fees added on to the original balance.
Because these debts are often many years old, unsuspecting consumers paid just to make the debt “go away” instead of standing up for their rights. Unfortunately, when people pay for debts that they don’t owe, it only encourages collection agencies like AFNI to continue their scamming efforts.
If possible, you should contact the original creditor directly in order to confirm or validate a debt. You should do this before admitting to owing any debt to AFNI or any other debt collector or collection agency. If the original creditor can’t validate the debt, chances are good that AFNI will not be able to do so either – and this means that you do not have to pay.
If you can’t get in touch with the original creditor, your first step in protecting your rights when contacted by AFNI Inc. is to request debt validation. Specifically, you want to send them a debt validation letter requesting that they validate the debt by providing specific information such as the account number, the amount owed, and any contracts that you signed with the original creditor.
Additionally, you should ask for proof that AFNI is authorized to collect the debt on the original creditor’s behalf – this is a good practice when dealing with any collection agency, but it is especially important when dealing companies like AFNI, who have already been found guilty of violating consumer rights and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
AFNI Inc. – Protecting Yourself from Unscrupulous Debt Collection Agencies
If AFNI can’t provide proof that you owe the debt within 30 days and if they aren’t authorized to collect that debt, then legally they cannot place any derogatory information on your credit report. So your next step is to check all three of your credit reports (read more here) and dispute any negative information that AFNI has placed in your credit file.
You want to be certain that these negative items are removed as soon as possible – if AFNI confirms that the information is correct without providing you with any validation information, they are in violation of federal law and you should contact the FTC.
In general, if there is no debt validation, then the matter will end there. But what if AFNI does confirm that you owe the debt and they are authorized to collect? Well, the next step in that instance is to see whether or not they can legally collect the debt based on the age of the account.
Each state varies on the statute of limitations for collecting on a debt – anywhere from 4 to 7 years is typical. Once you know the statute of limitations on the debt, you will know if AFNI has any recourse to collecting the debt – if the statute of limitations is past, they cannot sue you, and if you request in writing that they stop contacting you about the debt, they must comply.
Additionally, debts past the reporting limit – typically 7 years for most debts – cannot legally be reported on your credit report. So be certain to watch any debts that may be past the statute of limitations for collecting the debt, but not past the reporting limit. You want to be sure those negative items are handled properly and removed after the required time has passed.
AFNI Inc. – Play it Safe
If you are easily intimidated by debt collection agencies, you may have better luck dealing with a professional credit repair agency that will speak with them on your behalf. In this way, you have a professional that knows every facet of consumer law working for you, and you no longer have to deal with harassing phone calls and letters.
Whichever approach works best for you, be sure to follow up consistently – collection agencies such as AFNI Inc. count on most consumers to be uneducated when it comes to their rights. By staying informed and working to be sure that the appropriate laws are upheld, you’ll never have to pay money for a debt that you don’t owe.