Southern Management Systems on Your Credit Report? Fight Back and Win

Last Updated:
September 19, 2023

When you check your credit report for any reason, and you see negative information there from Southern Management Systems, it’s going to feel stressful. No one wants negative information on their credit report, especially a collections account, which can cause a huge drop in your score. You might also at the same time be dealing with calls from Southern Management Systems, so what should you do?

The steps you take now can help you protect your legal rights and avoid continuing to deal with the negative impact of Southern Management Systems being listed on your credit report.

What Is Southern Management Systems?

Southern Management Systems is a third-party debt collection company. This third-party debt collector is based in Florida. The process of a debt moving from an original creditor to a third-party collection agency like Southern Management Systems usually involves several steps:

  • First, a person has an account of some kind with an original creditor.
  • When the account becomes overdue with the original creditor, the company might try on its own to collect for a while.
  • After a period of time, usually several months, the company might charge off the debt, assuming they won’t be able to collect it.
  • Original creditors can hire a third-party debt collector to work on their behalf, paying them a contingency fee, or they might sell a debt completely.
  • Third-party debt collectors can report to credit bureaus.
  • There are certain federal laws a third-party collector has to follow.

Who Does Southern Management Systems Collect For?

Southern Management Systems collects for multi-family housing businesses and in the student housing industry. Southern Management Systems collects for some of the biggest property management companies in the United States.

Is Southern Management Systems Legitimate?

Southern Management Systems isn’t a scam. They are a legitimate debt collection company and a member of several professional associations, including the National Apartment Association. The company, also known as SMS, has been in business since 1977.

Despite being a legitimate business, several consumer complaints are currently active against Southern Management Systems. These focus on the following areas:

  • Consumers say they can't get in touch with anyone with the company to fix issues, and they’re generally non-responsive. 
  • Some people say that, in their opinion, Southern Management Systems uses deceptive, unfair, and abusive strategies to collect.
  • There are people who say they were working out what was owed to their landlord, but then abruptly, they started getting communication from Southern Management Systems.
  • Quite a few people say they are not liable for a debt that Southern Management Systems continues to call or contact them about or has listed on their credit report.
  • Numerous people say they were unable to receive any detailed information about the debt they supposedly owed from SMS.

Why Is Southern Management Systems Calling Me?

If Southern Management Systems is calling you, a couple of different scenarios could happen. In one, you might have rented an apartment at some point and became late on your payments, in which case that business hired Southern Management Systems to collect for them.

In another case, there could be a mistake, and you don’t owe a debt, or you don’t owe what Southern Management Systems is reporting you do.

Your Rights When Dealing with Southern Management Systems

You aren't helpless when a debt collector contacts you or reports negative information to credit bureaus. You have rights, and federal laws protect you from unfair practices.

One of these laws is the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), a sweeping piece of consumer protection legislation. The Fair Credit Reporting Act was put into place to ensure that things reported on your credit reports are done fairly, with transparency, and with limits on how to access the information. The law regulates how credit reporting agencies can collect, use and share any data collected in your reports.

It matters how your credit is used for so many reasons. If you apply for something like a loan or credit card, the company is going to do a credit check. Whether you’re approved and the terms available if you are depend on your credit report. Employers can also check your credit report in certain circumstances, and insurance companies can decide whether or not to insure you based on a credit check.

If you’re going to rent a home, your credit will be checked again. Having negative information on your report from Southern Management Systems can be especially impactful in the eyes of a landlord since they specifically manage collections for multi-family properties.

One of your rights under the FCRA is to dispute wrong information or anything inaccurate on your credit report. There are a lot of reasons to dispute something found on your credit report. For example, the debt can belong to another person completely, which is more common than you might think.

There might have been a mix-up somewhere along the way, so your payment dates or balance information are wrong. It might be that you worked out a payment plan with the original creditor already, yet Southern Management Systems is still trying to collect.

Regardless of the reason for a dispute, once one is submitted, under the FCRA, the company receiving it has 30 days to investigate, report its findings, and then update or correct anything that’s, in fact, found to be wrong.

You have other rights along with what’s part of the FCRA when it comes to debt collectors. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) limits what debt collectors can say and do.

They can’t, for example, use harassment, profanity, or threats or misrepresent themselves when they contact you. You can also ask a debt collector to stop contacting you. You are still legally responsible for the debt or disputing it, but you don’t have to deal with nonstop phone calls.

Get Southern Management Systems Off Your Credit Report

If you want to dispute a debt with Southern Management Systems or find out the best next steps you can take to deal with this company effectively, contact Fair Credit. Our team of FCRA attorneys provides free case reviews and can help determine the right steps in your situation, so you aren’t dealing with Southern Management Systems on your own.

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