Client Services, Inc. (CSI) is one of the largest contingency collection agencies in the United States. It provides collection services to banks, utility companies, municipalities, county governments, private educational institutions and medical providers, among others. Here’s what you need to know if you’re receiving communications from CSI.
Who is CSI?
CSI is a member of ACA International, which is the association of credit and collection professionals that establishes professional standards for the industry.
Accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) since 2012, CSI currently has an A+ rating, and has received an average number of complaints compared to other large collection agencies. The BBB closed 39 complaints against CSI since mid-2016. The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) has received nearly 140 complaints about CSI since 2016. These 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.
Know your rights
If you are receiving calls or letters about a debt collection account from CSI, it’s important to understand your rights as well as the regulations that govern the behavior of debt collectors. You can take the following steps to protect yourself:
- Only accept appropriate behavior. Collection agency behavior is regulated by the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA). Collectors can only contact you between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. (your time), must identify that they’re a debt collector and cannot lie, threaten or harass you. They also may not contact others about your debt except to find out your current address and must provide you with the name and address of your original creditor. They have to inform you that information you provide will be used toward the collection of your debt and that you can dispute the debt. If you notify them in writing to stop communications with you, they must do so except to inform you that collections have stopped or legal action is pending. You have a year to file a lawsuit against a collector that you believe has violated the FDCPA and can contact a consumer law attorney to assess the viability of your case.
- Request additional information. You are allowed to ask the collector to verify the information provided and to provide additional information. CFPB recommends sending 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. The sample letter on the CFPB website helps you ask for the details that explain why CSI believes you owe the debt, the amount and age of the debt, and the authority CSI has to collect it.
- Dispute the debt. If the information provided is incorrect or the debt is not yours, it is best to dispute it in writing. (You can get a sample dispute letter on the CFPB website noted above.) Be sure to note in your letter that the debt is not yours and request proof to the contrary. CFPB cautions that the collector may still take further action against you if they continue to believe the debt is yours.
- Decide if it is time to resolve your debt. Because your account is only with CSI for a short time, typically 90 days, and they only get paid if they get you to pay, they may be more willing to negotiate a settlement than your creditor was. So, if you are intending to resolve your debt anyway, now could be the right time.
CSI is located at 3451 Harry S. Truman Blvd., Saint Charles, MO 63301-4047. You can contact at (800) 521-3236 or complete an online form.
Read more about contingency debt collectors here.
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