If you’ve just checked your credit report, what should you do if American Express Collections is listed there? What if you get phone calls from American Express Collections? How do you handle the situation, and what should you know? We outline the steps to take below so that you don’t have to keep worrying about this company and can have it removed from your credit report in many situations.
American Express Collections is the debt collection part of the larger American Express company. American Express, or Amex, is a multinational company that provides financial services. Amex is one of the world’s largest companies, and its headquarters is located in New York City. Amex is perhaps best known for offering consumer credit cards and business cards, but it also offers other financial services.
For example, American Express OPEN is part of the company that offers services to small businesses. Amex works to provide individual and business banking services, and they offer financing options, such as personal loans.
If you start to get calls from Amex Collections or see them listed on your credit report, it may be due to an unpaid bill you have with them. The company can be a first-party collector, meaning its internal collections team is trying to collect a past-due or delinquent debt. Sometimes American Express will also work with third-party collections agencies.
If someone has a debt with American Express that hasn’t yet been sold to a debt collector, they might be able to request financial assistance directly from the company. If you see American Express Collections on your credit report, this is probably no longer an option for you.
If you start to get calls from American Express collections and you don’t believe you have an account or debt with them, you may wonder if it’s a scam. American Express Collections isn’t a scam, but that doesn’t mean that you actually owe the debt they’re calling you about. There are common mistakes that occur in billing and debt collection.
American Express has seen a number of lawsuits in recent years, specifically as far as its debt collection and credit card collection practices. For example, there was a case in 2012 with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
This case ultimately ended with Amex being required to pay around 250,000 refunds and a $27 million fine. A federal investigation as part of this case found that American Express companies violated consumer protection laws at each stage of the customer experience. The findings reported that Amex violated everything from marketing consumer protection laws to laws regarding debt collection.
More recently, in 2016, American Express settled a class action that claimed the debt collectors working for the company were violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act or the TCPA.
Specific actions that can be violations of consumer protection laws, not just as far as American Express is concerned with but any debt collector, include:
Most of the things listed above are consumer protections that fall under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). There are also consumer protections under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. While the FDCPA focuses mostly on the behavior of debt collectors and what they’re allowed versus not allowed to do, the FCRA is primarily about how your credit information is reported to credit bureaus, accessed, and used.
For example, under the FCRA, as a consumer, you have the right to know what’s in your credit file, and you have the right to an annual free credit report from each of the three main bureaus—Experian, Equifax, and Transunion. Also, under the FCRA, if someone takes adverse action against you, such as not extending credit, because of something in your credit file, you have the right to know.
Only under certain circumstances can someone access your credit information. If an employer wants to check your credit before extending an employment offer, you have to give your express written permission for them to do so.
Also, as part of the FCRA, consumers have the right to dispute incorrect information affecting their credit score and listed on their reports.
There are more often errors contained in credit files than people first think. These errors can be related to incorrect balances or payment information, or the information can belong to someone else altogether. There are also many situations where fraud and identity theft are involved.
When someone believes the information is wrong, they can submit a dispute to the company furnishing that to credit reporting bureaus. The company that receives that dispute is supposed to do an investigation within 30 days and correct anything they find is wrong.
While those are consumers’ rights, companies are notorious for being non-compliant. They might not respond to disputes or continue to report or try to collect on something even when a person doesn’t owe it.
These are reasons why working with a consumer protection attorney can be important, especially if you want to remove American Express Collections from your credit report.
If you no longer want to deal with American Express Collections, Fair Credit is a team of consumer protection FCRA attorneys who can help. Contact us for a free case review today.