Late on your student loan payments? Your debt may be handed off to a collection agency called ConServe Collections.
They are a debt collection agency that was likely hired by your debt’s original owner to collect payments from you.
To legally pursue you, they must first open a collections account that will appear on your credit report.
Having a collections account on your credit will damage your score for years to come.
It can also prevent you from qualifying for loans and credit cards down the line.
However, it is possible to have it removed early and prevent damage to your credit score.
What is ConServe Collections?
ConServe Collections is a debt collection agency headquartered in Fairport, NY. They were originally founded in 1985 in New York.
Also known as Continental Service Group, Inc., they specialize in collecting delinquent student loan debt.
Many of their clients are colleges and universities.
How to Deal with ConServe Collections
Here are the necessary steps you need to take to put an end to communications with ConServe Collections and remove the collection account from your credit report.
Request Debt Validation
Did you know that one in five Americans has credit report errors? Mistakes on your credit report can cost you in the long run.
They can cause you to have higher interest rates on loans and credit cards, or lenders could deny your loan request altogether.
That is why it is important to request that ConServe Collections verify the debt actually belongs to you.
This is done through a process called debt validation.
By law, they must validate your debt if you request it in the first 30 days. If you wait beyond 30 days of the first contact, you may not get a reply.
Even if you know the debt belongs to you, you should still request debt validation.
That is because they may be reporting false information on the debt. If you catch them doing this, file a dispute with the major credit bureaus.
This is how you can get the debt removed from your credit report without ever paying a dime.
Debt validation can be requested by sending ConServe Collections a letter asking them to confirm certain details of your debt.
This includes the name on the account, the balance of the debt, and the date of debt acquisition.
ConServe Collections should respond to your request in 30 days with documents to prove the debt in question belongs to you.
It’s your job to look through each page and note any items that do not match the original information on your debt.
If there is information that is conflicting, you can file a formal dispute with the major credit bureaus.
They will then investigate independently and remove the entry if they find that ConServe Collections is reporting the debt in error.
Paid the Debt? Request a Goodwill Deletion
If you already paid the debt, you could try to convince ConServe Collections to delete the entry. This is known as requesting a goodwill deletion.
A goodwill deletion means that the debt collector will remove the collection from your credit because they believe that the debt is a one-time error on your part.
This means that you must have a relatively clean record and must be up to date on all your current payments.
To request goodwill deletion, write to ConServe Collections explaining why you made late payments and why you want the entry removed.
If you lost your job, you should explain this in your letter. However, you must be prepared to back this up with documentation if ConServe Collections requests it.
One key factor to remember when writing your goodwill deletion letter is to be respectful.
Haven’t Paid the Debt? Negotiate a Settlement
If you haven’t paid the debt or have a less-than-perfect record, you should try negotiating a settlement with ConServe Collections. Specifically, you should strike a pay-for-delete deal with them.
A pay-for-delete agreement is a pretty self-explanatory concept. ConServe Collections agrees to stop reporting the debt to the credit bureaus for payment.
Debt collectors don’t want you knowing this, but many companies settle for much less than what is due to make some of their money back.
This is because they probably purchased the debt at a discount, to begin with.
Offer to pay half of the total amount and then start your negotiation from there. Make sure that they agree to completely delete the entry. It is not enough for them to change the status to ‘paid’.
Once you come to a settlement, ask for ConServe Collections to send you the terms in writing. Don’t make a payment to them until you see this and approve of it.
Once you have made the first payment, check your credit report again after 30 days from that payment and see if ConServe Collections still appears on your credit report.
If they do, write to them and remind them of your agreement.
Still No Luck? Consider Working With a Professional
Some people may not be comfortable with the idea of dealing with ConServe Collections all on their own.
Luckily, there are professionals that you can hire to do the heavy lifting for you.
Credit repair companies specialize in identifying and removing any dings or negative marks that appear on your credit report.
They work directly with the debt collector to negotiate a settlement and remove the entries that are causing your score to drop.
Be sure to check out our comparison of the top credit repair companies to help you pick the best one for you.
Does ConServe Collections Have Any Complaints?
If you have already spoken with ConServe representatives, then you may already have an idea about what their reputation is. In short, it is not good.
ConServe Collections has amassed a number of complaints against them over the years, from customer service issues to Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) violations.
They currently have 549 complaints filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and 102 with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
If you experience inaccurate reporting, harassment, or other issues when dealing with ConServe Collections, you may consider filing a complaint.
In fact, you can walk away with a tidy settlement if you work with proper representation.
Improving your credit score is an achievable goal for everyone.
If you’re trying to improve your score, the best place to start is to deal with any debts hanging over your head.
Follow the steps outlined above to get ConServe Collections off your back – and credit report – for good.