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"Junk Debt" Buyers are collection agencies that purchase bad debt! They are working for themselves because they now "own" the debt.

"Contingency" collection agencies work as agents for another company to collect a debt. A junk debt buyer may also be in the contingency collection business OR they may contract with a contingency agency. Junk Debt Buyers are a multi-billion dollar industry and are responsible for a large number of debt collection and credit reporting violations.

Top Junk Debt Buyers (Some of these companies may be owned in part by others):

  • Asset Acceptance (AAC)
  • Sherman Acquisitions/Sherman Financial Group
  • Portfolio Recovery Assoc
  • Asta Funding
  • Encore Capital Group (parent of Midland Credit Mgmt)
  • Allied National/Interstate Risk Management Alternatives (RMA)
  • JBC & Associates
  • Arrow Financial Services
  • RJM Acquisitions
  • CAMCO (Capital Acquisitions & Managment Company)
  • Excalibur
  • Cavalry Portfolio Services
  • Unifund Group
  • Phoenix Asset Acceptance
  • First Select Corporation (part of Providian)
  • Collins Financial Services
  • Oliphant Financial Corp.
  • OSI Portfolio Services
  • NCO Financial

Important Note:* These companies have been the subject of recent FTC legal actions and penalties for illegal/abusive collection practices.


Four Typical Junk Debt Buyer Violations

Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) and the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) violations typically practiced by junk debt buyers.

1. Re-aging Accounts:

Junk debt buyers attempt to force settlement on "time barred" or "Expired Statute of Limitations" accounts. The actual date that the debt becomes delinquent is supposed to be reported to credit reporting agencies under FCRA/FACTA within 90 days of the delinquency.

WARNING! Debt reporting re-aging is the practice of reporting a bad debt account as more recent than it really is. Re-aging causes the FICO score to drop dramatically since the scoring model interprets the re-age as a more recent default.

Junk Debt Buyers press for payment of some amount to bring the debt back under the statute of limitations after which they can sue you and have a chance of winning.

It is important to note that State statute of limitations (SoL) for collections are different from FCRA/FACTA statutes of limitations for reporting the debt on your credit report.

2. Misreporting the legal status:

(e.g., an open charge-off that was actually discharged in bankruptcy) and also misreporting the "open date" and "date of last activity" on an account are two favorite "illegal tactics"!

WARNING! Junk debt buyers purchase debts that are outside the statue of limitations for lawsuit (legal enforcement of the debt) but not outside the statute of limitations on your credit report! They like to report this debt as a revolving account, which is illegal.

3. Various Code Violations:

(e.g. consumers not being notified that their calls are being monitored or recorded) are also likely violations in almost all fifty states.

4. Multiple Listings of the Same Debt:

Junk debt buyers are often responsible for multiple reporting of the same debt as these change hands among buyers and sellers. Usually, these same debts are reported by the original creditor as well. Thus you could have the same debt reported multiple times! Increase your credit score by disputing and deleting these duplicate accounts.


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What to do if you are contacted by someone claiming to own one of your past debts:

  • Don't assume you are wrong - assume instead that your rights are being violated
  • Keep all letters, account statements, and court records (even from 15 years ago)
  • Do not provide the collection agency or junk debt buyer with updated personal information
  • Never acknowledge a debt with a collector or agree to any payment until the collection agency validates the debt (past billing statements are not considered proof)
  • Never accept credit card "offers" that come with an offer to settle a debt or that request payment in any other way
  • Monitor your credit reports. Get your free annual credit reports!

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