There are plenty of reasons you might be checking your credit report and potentially not expecting to see anything negative listed there. You could be in the process of applying for credit, for example, or you’re getting ready to buy a home, but when you pull one or more of your reports, there’s a collections account under the name AmerAssist.
What should you do? Why is this on your credit report, and how can you remove it? There are steps you can take, but you have to be careful when it comes to dealing with a company like AmerAssist, to ensure you don’t worsen the situation.
AmerAssist is a debt collector. The process of debt collection is one where an original business or creditor hires a collection agency to work as a third party to collect delinquent accounts on their behalf.
While the specifics of the process can vary, generally, after a borrower misses three monthly payments or more, the unpaid debt might go to a collection agency like AmerAssist. An original creditor might charge off an account, which also shows up on your credit report.
When an account is charged off by an original creditor, the creditor doesn’t believe you’ll ever pay the debt, so they’ve closed the account. Once this happens, you only deal with the debt collector, not the original creditor.
Debt collectors will do whatever they can to get your attention and get you to pay, but there are laws and regulations they have to follow in doing so.
For example, one of the important laws for debt collection is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). This law determines what practices a debt collector can use. They’re legally prevented from being unfair, abusive, or deceptive. Specific examples of things that debt collectors can’t do because of the FDCPA include:
A statute of limitations determines how long creditors or debt collectors can legally file lawsuits for debt recovery. The statute of limitations for this is usually three to six years but can be longer depending on your state.
AmerAssist isn’t a scam. They’re a legitimate debt collection company, but they aren’t accredited by the Better Business Bureau. There are quite a few complaints against this company and many negative reviews. Some of the negative information that people cite in dealing with AmerAssist includes:
AmerAssist collects for a broad range of industries, including:
Along with the FDCPA, the Fair Credit Reporting Act is another broad law that’s important to be aware of if you’re dealing with a debt collector like AmerAssist. The Fair Credit Reporting Act is meant to ensure that your information in consumer credit bureau files is fair, private, and accurate. There are regulations in this law about how credit reporting agencies can collect information, as well as access it, share it, and use it.
The three main credit bureaus in the U.S. are Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Many organizations, including banks, can use the information pulled from the reports maintained by these bureaus when they decide if they’ll offer you financing and, if so, what your interest rate will be.
Any time you apply for something like a car or home loan, a credit card, or any type of credit, there’s going to be a check of your credit history.
A landlord will also likely check this information before deciding to rent to you, and in some states and circumstances, an employer can check your credit before they decide whether to hire you. Insurance companies can even check your credit.
All of these uses for the information make it important that if AmerAssist is calling you about a debt or they’ve reported to credit bureaus, you take the needed steps to dispute the information and have it removed from your credit report. Even if you think the debt is valid, you should still talk to a consumer protection attorney to determine the best way to handle the situation.
There are many reasons why AmerAssist could be calling you about a debt that’s wrong, whether fully or partially. Examples include:
Regardless of the specifics, it’s your right to dispute a debt with AmerAssist, and then within 30 days under the law, they’re supposed to investigate and provide you with results. Then, they should remove or update the wrong information.
While this is a legal requirement, consumers often find it stressful and overwhelming to deal with a debt collection agency on their own. It can even make things worse. For example, acknowledging a debt without talking to an attorney can restart its statute of limitations.
If you want to stop AmerAssist’s phone calls and get them off your credit report, Fair Credit can help. We’re FCRA consumer protection attorneys and can work with AmerAssist on your behalf.