If you discover a collection account on your credit report from a company by the name of CCS Offices (or a similar variation), or you’ve been contacted by phone or correspondence, don’t ignore it!
CCS Offices is one of the largest collection agencies in the country, and they’ve been in business for well over half a century.
If you have a collection account at all, it wouldn’t be unusual for CCS to be the collection agency behind it.
They serve one of the largest varieties of businesses and organizations in the collection universe, so the ultimate source of your unpaid debt can be anything from an unpaid toll to a large, outstanding hospital bill.
If CCS enters your life, you are left with no choice but to deal with them and do what’s necessary to remove any collection information from your credit report.
Who is CCS Offices?
CCS Offices goes under the official name of The CCS Companies, operating under five different names. The company is based in Norwood, Massachusetts, and first began operations in 1966.
The company describes itself as providing “tailored business process outsourcing (BPO) solutions to organizations to address specific business challenges.”
But whatever they call it, they mainly operate as a third-party collection service for companies and organizations in multiple industries and capacities.
Those include banking and insurance, healthcare, cable and telecommunications, energy utilities, government, tollways (as in, if you fail to pay a highway toll), nonprofits, retail operations, and sports and entertainment organizations.
In fact, CCS is an abbreviation for Credit Collection Services.
Is CCS Offices legitimate? They are according to the Better Business Bureau, which gives them a rating of “A”, the BBB’s second-highest rating on a scale running from A+ to F. For this reason, CCS Offices shouldn’t be ignored.
How To Remove CCS Offices From Your Credit Report
Continue Communication in Writing
It’s likely your first direct contact with CCS will be a phone call.
Either they’ll call you about the collection account, or you’ll call them in response to a letter from the company or from seeing a collection account on your credit report.
That first phone call should be your only phone conversation with CCS. Consumers are always at a disadvantage with phone calls to or from a collection agency.
The collection agency not only records the conversation for future use in a potential lawsuit, but they also make a relentless attempt to get information out of you.
Your job during a phone call is to keep it short, and get as much information about the debt as you can—without providing the collection agency with any information.
Rest assured, any information the collection agent requests will be an attempt to further connect you to the outstanding debt. You should never give them that information.
After that initial phone call, all correspondence with CCS should be in writing. Your letters to them should be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested.
That will give you evidence of contact with the company. Keep all correspondence short, to the point, and for the primary purpose of gathering information—never providing it.
Request Debt Validation
If CCS fails to supply you with the debt validation letter, or provides one that’s incomplete, you can demand they remove the negative information from your credit report, and cease further collection activities.
The same will be true if they are unable to specifically connect the debt to you personally. This can be the case with mistaken identity. The debt may be valid, but they’re going after the wrong person.
If they refuse to remove the information from your credit report, you can take the incomplete debt validation letter and send it to all three major credit bureaus—Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion—and dispute the debt.
You’ll also have a basis for dispute if CCS doesn’t provide a debt validation letter. The three credit bureaus then have 30 days to investigate your dispute.
If CCS is unable to confirm the information for the credit bureaus, they’ll delete the negative entries. However, that doesn’t guarantee CCS will stop collection efforts.
That’s yet another compelling reason why you may want to engage the services of a credit repair company to help you deal with CCS.
If The Debt IS Yours: Negotiate a Settlement
If CCS is able to show the debt is truly yours through the debt validation letter, you’ll need to shift tactics.
Unless you have alternative evidence to show the debt isn’t yours or has been paid—such as evidence of payment to the original creditor—you need to be prepared to negotiate the settlement of the debt.
You can either make full payment, which is often the most convenient choice on a small amount, or you can negotiate a partial payment in full satisfaction of the full amount.
Paying the full amount is, of course, easy. But, negotiating for a reduced payoff can get messy. You may even decide at this point that it’s a task you’re not willing to take on, in which case you can go the credit-repair-service route.
But, if you feel up to the negotiation challenge, you’ll need to know how the process works.
First, start by offering less than the full amount. For example, let’s say CCS claims the collection account is $1,000. Offer to pay $400, but don’t expect them to accept it.
More likely, they’ll come back with a counteroffer, which may be $800. You then increase your offer to $500, and CCS agrees to close out the account if you’ll pay $600.
That may be higher than your original offer, but it still saves you $400 from paying off the entire amount.
IMPORTANT: Even if CCS agrees to a lower payoff amount, send no money!
Before sending any money, require CCS to furnish you with a letter confirming their willingness to accept the lower amount in full satisfaction of the obligation.
They must also agree to remove the outstanding balance from all three credit reports, and cease future collection efforts.
You can make payment once you’re in receipt of the letter. The letter will prevent CCS from accepting the partial payment, then continuing to pursue you for the full balance.
And, if they don’t report the paid status to the three credit bureaus, you’ll be able to use the letter to get the collection account removed directly.
What to Do if CCS Offices Doesn’t Cooperate
You can attempt to deal with CCS on your own. Think of using a credit repair service as a backup plan.
But, if you’re not making any progress, or you have other collection accounts, you’ll need to get help.
There are three situations in which you need to consider this option:
- You don’t feel qualified to handle the dispute and negotiation process with CCS.
- Despite your best efforts, CCS refuses to cooperate with you.
- CCS is one of several collection agencies you have accounts with; a good credit repair company will be more effective in dealing with them than you can be by yourself.
What CCS Offices Can Legally Do
In a worst-case scenario, CCS can bring a lawsuit against you and obtain a judgment. If they’re successful, they’ll be legally entitled to have your wages garnished, or even pursue your bank account until the debt is fully paid.
That’s not what usually happens with collections, but it is a possibility when either a) the debt in question is large, or b) you fail to cooperate in efforts to settle the account.
You should be aware that a lawsuit from a collection agency often goes unnoticed. You may receive a single piece of correspondence advising you that the lawsuit is going forward.
But, if it gets lost in a pile of junk mail, you may never know it’s happening. Because you’re unaware, you won’t show up in court—which may even take place in a different state—and the collection agency will be able to secure a summary judgment against you.
If you become aware that CCS is pursuing legal action, you should engage the services of a credit attorney. One prominent example is Lexington Law.
They’re one of the top credit law firms in the country, and they can help prevent the collection agency from ever moving the case to court in the first place.
Your Rights in Dealing with CCS Offices
Before dealing with any collection agency, first, learn your rights under federal law.
A collection account doesn’t give a collection agency the green light to do anything necessary to collect the debt.
If they violate federal law, they can be held legally accountable. It’s even possible your debt can be invalidated if the collection agency takes certain actions that are in clear violation of the law.
Your rights are protected under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
You can learn the practical applications of the regulations 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.
Complaints Against CCS Offices
There are 394 complaints filed against CCS Offices through the Better Business Bureau.
Most of the complaints have been answered by CCS Offices, but not resolved. This means the issues in the original complaint remain outstanding.
The primary complaints center on billing and collection issues. These include verbal and written promises made but not followed through on, paid accounts not being closed out, and debts not belonging to the consumer.
To be fair, there were complaints that CCS Offices failed to comply with ”pay for delete” agreements, which are not legally enforceable.
The consumer can request a pay-for-delete arrangement, in which the consumer pays the debt in exchange for having it removed from their credit reports.
However, the collection agency is under no obligation to comply with such an arrangement, even if they agree to it.
Dealing with CCS Offices
We provided you with a roadmap for dealing with CCS Offices if you choose to go the do-it-yourself route.
However, if you don’t feel you’re up to the task, or if CCS is playing hardball, you’ll need to turn it over to a credit repair service.
And, if they threaten you with legal action, it’ll be time to bring in a credit law firm.