If you've heard the name Unifin, it's probably in unpleasant situations. For example, Unifin might call you, telling you you owe a debt. They could also be listed on your credit report. If you find you’re in a position where Unifin is affecting you financially, you're protected under certain federal laws like the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), and there are things you can do to stop their calls.
Unifin is a third-party debt collector. Other companies outsource their debt collection needs on past-due accounts to Unifin, meaning the name will be unfamiliar to you. You’ve never had an account with Unifin before.
The industries that Unifin collects in include:
Unifin also collects for government agencies and entities.
Unifin isn't a scam—they are a legitimate company. Unifin is accredited by the Better Business Bureau and is based in Skokie, Illinois.
While Unifin is a legitimate company, there are a number of consumer complaints and negative reviews about them. Hundreds of complaints have been listed with the BBB in just the past few years.
Examples of complaints people have include being contacted by this company about old debts or being contacted about a debt that’s not theirs altogether. Some reviews indicate this company wasn’t fully transparent about who they are and why they contacted consumers. Numerous complaints talk about the fact that Unifin calls people with no debt whatsoever.
The U.S. has three main credit reporting bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and Transunion. The credit bureaus maintain information about consumers' financial history, on-time and late payments, and closed and open accounts.
When you apply for credit, the lender may check your reports with one, two, or all three of these bureaus. They also look at your credit score.
Each year, you're entitled to a free copy of your credit report from the bureaus, which you should always take advantage of to check for errors and red flags of identity theft.
When you owe money to a lender or creditor, they'll report this to one or more credit bureaus if you don't make on-time payments.
When the credit becomes past due, a company often turns it over to a collections agency. The collections agency can also report the account, but they're supposed to take certain actions before doing so under federal law.
Certain types of debt, like medical debts, won't appear on your credit report until a debt collector becomes involved.
If a debt is invalid, you have the right to dispute it. Ideally, contact a Fair Credit Reporting Act to dispute the debt on your behalf.
While you might think a debt collector would always have accurate information and that accuracy would be reflected on your credit report, that's not always the case.
Unifin could have wrong information reported by an original creditor, leading to phone calls or affecting your credit report. It's also possible that information is wrong because of a mix-up with the credit bureau or because you're the victim of identity theft.
There are a couple of ways to stop the calls from Unifin, even if you do owe them money. If you talk to an FCRA attorney first, they can help you figure out the right steps in your given situation.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act is a consumer protection law that broadly gives you the right to accuracy, transparency, and fairness when it comes to your financial and credit information. Under the FCRA, you have the right to know what information is contained in your credit file, and there are limits on who can access it and when.
There are restrictions on how long debt can stay on a credit report. For example, most debts are supposed to expire from your credit report in seven years. For certain types of bankruptcy, it’s 10 years.
You also, under the FCRA, have the right to dispute anything in your credit file if it’s inaccurate or incomplete or have an attorney do it on your behalf.
Debt collectors are prevented from doing certain things, such as using harassment, based on a law called the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
If a debt collector uses not only harassment but threats, intimidation, or intentionally tries to inconvenience you, they’re violating the FDCPA, and a legal professional can work on your behalf.
You may still be legally liable for the debt, but at least you won't have to deal with constant phone calls while you figure out what to do next.
If a debt is valid, it will take seven years from your original delinquency date for that information to be cycled off your credit report.
If you don't owe Unifin money and they're wrongly on your credit report, an FCRA attorney can dispute the incorrect information and handle all communications with the debt collector.
If Unifin or other negative information stays on your credit report and it's invalid, you will experience declines in your credit score. You may be turned down if you try to get new credit accounts, like credit cards or loans. Even if someone approves you for credit, you will probably pay higher interest rates and be offered generally less favorable terms than someone with a higher score.
While you have the legal right to get in-depth information about debts you owe or that a collector says you owe and dispute them, it's frustrating when a company isn't responsive. For example, maybe you requested a debt validation and never received it or disputed a debt but didn't hear back.
These situations happen, and you might have to work with an FCRA attorney to sort the situation out and get your credit information corrected.
In fact, it’s best not to contact Unifin or any debt collection agency on your own without talking to an FCRA attorney first because it can make the situation you’re dealing with worse. For example, if a consumer directly contacts a debt collector, they might inadvertently say or do something that causes the statute of limitations to restart.
If you're struggling with Unifin and are ready to move forward, contact Fair Credit for a free case review. We're FCRA attorneys who can help you exert your rights and move past a difficult situation dealing with a debt collector.