You’ve just checked your credit because you want to make a big purchase, open up a new account, or you just want to make sure everything is accurate. In doing so, you see a collections account under the name Valley Empire Collection. You’re probably wondering why it’s there and how you can get it off. You could also be getting letters, phone calls, or other forms of communication from Valley Empire Collection.
Valley Empire Collection is a third-party debt collection service. Debt collectors aren’t original creditors, so it can become confusing for a consumer. If they hear from a company they’ve never done business with or see the name on their credit report, it’s frustrating because they often have no way of knowing who the original creditor was.
Third-party debt collectors like Valley Empire Collections will either work on a contingency fee basis for original creditors or buy debt. When a debt collector works on a contingency fee basis, they’re paid by the original creditor if they’re able to collect. When agencies buy debt, they do so at a fraction of what it’s worth, and once they own it, try to collect as much as they can on it.
This company is not a scam—they are legitimate, and they’ve been providing debt recovery services since the 1970s. Even so, that doesn’t mean that just because they think someone owes a debt, they actually do.
There are frequent mistakes in debt collection, so you might be getting calls about a debt that’s not yours to begin with, or the collection agency could have something in particular wrong about the debt. For example, maybe they have the wrong payment dates or balance information.
Most people don’t realize how many opportunities there are for debt collectors to get things wrong. If a company hands over a debt, its own files could have had incorrect information.
Debt collectors also often use tactics like skip tracing to try and find out the identity of people they’re collecting from because they may not have all the information about that person. A debt collector could, just as one example, find you because you have a similar name to the person who actually owes a debt.
Along with debt collectors getting it wrong, incorrect information is often listed on people’s credit reports, highlighting the importance of taking advantage of your free annual credit reports. You want to make sure that you check your credit report for errors on a regular basis.
Valley Empire Collection isn’t accredited by the Better Business Bureau, and there are a number of complaints against the company. Consumers allege that the company didn’t follow the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act in many cases.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is a federal law that prevents debt collectors from acting in certain ways. For example, calling someone about a debt before 8 in the morning or after 9 at night violates the FDCPA. Using threats, deception, or harassment are violations of the FDCPA, as is not ceasing calls when asked.
If a debt collector misrepresents who they are or what you owe or calls you repeatedly in a short window, they’re violating the FDCPA.
If you’re getting calls from Valley Empire Collection, it’s most likely because they believe you owe a debt.
There are a lot of companies that Valley Empire Collection, also known as VEC, collects for. The industries they collect for include medical and dental, government collections, and utilities. They also collect for banking businesses and on legal judgments and open contracts.
If you’re getting letters or calls from this debt collector, you shouldn’t talk to them directly until you first speak to a consumer protection attorney. Doing so can worsen your situation. The statute of limitations can restart on a debt if you acknowledge it with a collector.
You might also think you can settle with them, and they’ll delete negative information from your credit report. Unfortunately, after paying settlements to debt collection agencies, consumers are often still left with the negative account on their credit reports.
Talking to a consumer protection attorney first can help you make sure you’re safeguarding your legal rights and taking the best steps forward, given your specific situation.
Consumers have three separate credit reports because there are three bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and Transunion. The information tends to be similar between the three reports, but some creditors or collectors will report to one bureau and not the others.
What’s contained in your credit file is important because lenders and financial institutions check this information before extending credit. You could be prevented from buying or renting a home, depending on your credit history and score.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is federal legislation related to your credit information and how it can be accessed and used. For example, if a lender doesn’t extend credit to you because of something they find during a credit check, they are required to let you know why.
Consumers also have the right to dispute anything wrong on their credit report because of the FCRA. When a dispute is submitted, the company that receives it has 30 days to investigate and make needed changes or updates.
While a consumer can submit a dispute to Valley Empire Collection on their own, when they work with an FCRA attorney, they can handle the process from start to finish, ensuring it’s efficient and done correctly. Without an attorney on your site, it’s hard to get debt collectors to respond and take you seriously.
If you’re tired of dealing with Valley Empire Collection, Fair Credit can help. Our FCRA attorneys offer complimentary case reviews any time you’re dealing with a debt collection agency.