Afni is one of the largest contingency debt collection agencies in the U.S. and provides services to companies in the telecommunications, satellite and cable, healthcare, and insurance industries. While Afni s a member of ACA International, the association of credit and collection professionals that establishes professional standards for the industry, the company has a concerning number of complaints – far more than other agencies. If you are contacted by Afni, here’s what you need to know.
The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) has received 2,635 complaints about Afni since 2013. The complaints include attempts to collect debt that was paid or was not owed, inappropriate communication tactics, false statements or representation, and failure to provide adequate verification information.
While Afni has been accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) since 2007 and has an A+ rating, the BBB has closed 460 complaints against Afni since mid-2016.
Know your rights with Afni
Given this high number of complaints, it’s wise for you to know your rights when dealing with Afni. The first thing to understand is that there are rules the agency must follow when communicating with consumers. If Afni is attempting to collect a debt from you, it must abide by the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA). These regulations dictate that a collector can only contact you between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. (your time), must identify that they’re a debt collector, provide the name and address of your original creditor and let you know that any information you provide will be used toward the collection of your debt.
The collector can’t lie, threaten or harass you and they can’t contact others about your debt except to find out your current address if they do not have it. Also, if you request in writing that they cease their communications with you, they must honor that request except to inform you that collections have stopped or legal action is pending. If you believe an Afni collector has violated the FDCPA, you can file a lawsuit against them for up to a year. A consumer law attorney can assess the viability of your case.
Verify Afni’s information
Even if the collector abides by the FDCPA regulations, you still have steps you can take to protect yourself. You can start by requesting that the collector verify the information provided to you and also provide additional information. The CFPB recommends making this request within 30 days of receipt of the collection letter as this is when, under the FDCPA, you have the strongest legal grounds for your request. You can get sample letters on the CFPB website.
Dispute an incorrect debt with Afni
If you find that the information provided to you is incorrect or the debt is not yours, you can dispute it and the collector is required to let you know this. It’s best to dispute it in writing (you can access a sample dispute letter on the CFPB website noted above). In your letter you should indicate that the debt is not yours and request proof to the contrary. The CFPB does warn that the collector may still take action against you if it continues to believe you’re responsible for the debt.
If the information is correct and the debt is yours, you may want to consider settling your debt while it is with Afni. If you intended to resolve your debt anyway, now could be the right time because Afni knows they only have your account for a short time – typically 90 days – so they may be motivated to negotiate a settlement.
Afni’s headquarters is located at 1310 Martin Luther King Dr., Bloomington, IL 61701-1465. The mailing address is PO Box 3427, Bloomington, IL 61702. You can call customer service at 866-352-0479. You can also manage your account online: www.afnicollections.com.
How Resolve can help
If you have received letters or calls from Afni, now’s a good time to consider your debt resolution options. You can use Resolve’s free online platform to assess your options or contact our debt experts to consult with you for free. Get started here.