If you see a collection account on your credit report from Avante USA you’ll need to take action.
There is a chance the entry, the phone call, or the letter are an error.
But whether it’s an error or it’s legitimate, it’ll be up to you to deal with Avante USA.
Unfortunately, when it comes to credit reporting and debt obligations, it isn’t innocent until proven guilty.
The way the credit system is set up, if Avante USA says you owe money on a collection account, all parties will assume it to be true until you prove otherwise.
Fortunately, there are ways you can do just that, but you’ll need to know exactly what to do.
Who is Avante USA?
Founded in 2003 and based in Houston, Texas, Avante USA describes itself as an “accounts receivable management firm”.
But according to the Services page on the website, their primary mission is collections.
Among its clients, the company lists credit cards, education, auto deficiencies, commercial and retail, and healthcare receivables collections.
They also have a debt buyer servicing division, in which they work with – and presumably represent – companies that buy debt.
For this reason, Avant USA may be attempting to collect on a debt from an organization you’re not familiar with.
That’s not surprising, since debt buyers purchase debt from original creditors and vendors, at which point the debt is legally owed to the debt buyer.
Put in simple terms, Avante USA may be collecting either for the original creditor or for a subsequent debt buyer.
That will at least somewhat complicate the job of dealing with Avante USA. You’ll have the extra step of needing to determine the original creditor when the debt buyer is involved in the process.
The Better Business Bureau, gives Avante USA a rating of “D”, which is the BBB’s second-lowest rating on a scale running from A+ to F.
Considering the BBB has maintained a file on the company since 2005, it’s clear Avante USA is a legitimate company, in spite of its low rating.
How To Remove Avante USA from Your Credit Report
Here are the essential steps to take when attempting to remove a collection account from your credit report:
Communicate In Writing
The first rule of dealing with any collection agency is: get information but never give information.
The purpose of obtaining information from Avante USA will be to build a case to prove that either the debt is not yours, or it is, but it has been paid in the past.
Avante USA is known to place collections on credit reports without first contacting the consumer.
That means your first contact with the company is likely to be through your credit report. If you see a collection on your credit report, you’ll need to be the one who institutes the first direct contact.
Whatever you do, don’t contact Avante USA by phone. Contacting any collection agency by phone can be a serious mistake.
Collection agents are skilled at getting information from you, and even convince you to make promises. All that works to their advantage, and against you.
Based on the information contained in your credit report, you should contact the agency in writing, preferably by certified mail, so you’ll have a record of correspondence.
Request Debt Validation
You must request a debt validation letter from the company.
The letter furnishes:
- the name of the original creditor
- original amount owed
- date the debt was first incurred
- day it went into collection,
- other information that connects you with the debt
If Avante USA is unable to provide the letter, or they do and it’s not complete, you can challenge the obligation.
You can then demand the company remove the collection from your credit report, and halt further collection efforts.
If they fail to do so, you can send a copy of the partially completed debt verification letter to the three major credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion – and dispute the claim.
Or if Avante USA fails to provide a debt verification letter entirely, you can notify the credit bureaus of their omission.
The bureaus will then have 30 days to investigate your dispute, and if Avante USA fails to verify the debt, the account will be removed from your credit reports.
However, even if the credit bureaus delete the collection information from your credit reports, they may still continue to pursue the collection of the debt from you.
Negotiate a Pay-for-Delete Agreement: If The Debt Is Yours
If Avante USA provides a fully completed debt verification letter, and it proves the debt is both yours and still outstanding, you’ll have a choice to either pay the debt in full or negotiate a lower settlement amount in full satisfaction of the obligation.
If the collection account is a small amount, say less than $200, the best choice may be to simply pay it off and move on. But if it’s a higher amount, offer to pay less than the full amount in satisfaction of the whole balance.
For example, if the amount owed is $1,500, offer to pay $600. A negotiation process will follow, in which you may settle on $1,000. Be aware that negotiation is always easier on older debts, since the likelihood of full collection is lower. Collection agencies know this.
Before sending any money – and especially a reduced amount – be sure to get a letter from Avante USA confirming that they are accepting the reduced amount in full satisfaction of the debt, and that the account will be reported as paid with the three credit bureaus.
Send money only once you receive that letter. Credit agencies have been known to accept money and not remove a collection account. Should that be the case, you’ll be able to use the letter from the collection agency to prove the account was paid to the three credit bureaus.
TIP: Make sure all your correspondence with the company is sent by certified mail, return receipt requested. Disputes with a collection agency are a legal matter, and must always be fully documented.
Hire a Professional
As you can see, dealing with Avante USA won’t be easy.
If you lack experience in dealing with collection agencies, we suggest using a good credit repair company.
Credit repair services are experienced in dealing with collection agencies like Avante USA.
They can not only get the debt settled but they can often have it removed from your credit report completely.
We especially recommend the use of a credit repair service if you have several collection accounts showing on your credit report.
Dealing with collection agencies requires a lot of time, effort, and patience.
If you don’t have any one of those qualities, a credit repair service will be needed.
Your Rights When Dealing with Avante USA
All American citizens have rights against collection agencies under federal law.
Those rights come under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
You can learn the basics of the law by reviewing the Debt Collection FAQs provided by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
It explains your rights in simple English.
Sometimes just knowing your rights and reciting them to a collection agent will be enough to make him or her more agreeable.
What Avante USA Can Legally Do
Though it doesn’t happen often, Avante USA can bring a lawsuit against you.
If they do, that will give them the legal right to garnish your wages or even your bank account.
That said, however, collection agencies bringing lawsuits against debtors is not common.
It usually happens when either the debt is large or the company is aggressively pursuing the debtor and their not cooperating.
If you fit into one of those two categories, keep a close eye on your mail from now on.
Typically, the only notification of a lawsuit you’ll receive will be a single piece of correspondence.
If you miss it, you’ll miss the court date, and Avante USA will win a summary judgment against you.
If you have reason to believe they may file a lawsuit, it may be time to hire a credit law firm.
One of the best is Lexington Law.
They’re experienced in credit law and they can help prevent the collection agency from ever moving the case to court.
Complaints Against Avante USA
The Better Business Bureau has received 139 complaints against Avante USA.
So much so that their profile of the company includes the following statement:
Pattern of Complaint:
Since March 2016, the BBB of Houston and South Texas has received numerous complaints that exhibit the pattern below:
It is alleged by consumers of AvanteUSA, the company is reaching out to consumers and/or their family members in regard to old debts. The consumers allege the company is attempting to collect on debts previously paid other to companies. Additionally, many consumers have stated that AvanteUSA is reporting inaccurate and/or outdated information on their credit reports without initially notifying consumers of the debt. It is also being alleged AvanteUSA has not provided verification of debt before placing on one’s credit report. In addition to the above allegations, many consumers are also reporting they have never been contacted by AvanteUSA in regard to an outstanding debt; it is only until they pull their credit report they find the company listed as a collection.
For the record, we have reviewed dozens of collection agencies, and the above statement by the BBB is not a common occurrence.
This gives some indication of the degree of issues consumers have been having with Avante USA.
The Bottom Line
You now have the basic information needed in dealing with Avante USA.
Now it’s time to decide if you want to deal with them directly or hire a credit repair service.