If a collection account appears on your credit report from a company known as FirstPoint Collections, it is a legitimate collection agency.
They provide collection services for a diverse group of industries and government agencies.
So it can be tricky to pinpoint exactly what type of debt or obligation a specific collection is.
Our recommendation is always for consumers to deal with collection accounts as quickly as possible.
That doesn’t mean to simply pay the debt.
But you do need to begin investigating the details of the debt and considering the opportunities to close the account as soon as possible.
About FirstPoint Collections
FirstPoint Collections is one of the oldest collection agencies in the United States. It was founded in 1906 as Greensboro Merchants Association.
The company is headquartered in Greensboro, North Carolina.
They took on the FirstPoint name in 2001, and billed themselves as a full-service collections agency.
They serve industries such as finance, government, education, healthcare, and public utilities.
The company does not specify what type of collections they handle for government agencies.
Nor do they give a breakdown of the types of loans they collect under the finance section.
FirstPoint Collections Company Ratings
However, auto loans were listed in complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau.
FirstPoint Collections has a Better Business Bureau rating of “A+”, which is the highest rating provided on a scale of A+ to F.
Though the company is not accredited by the BBB.
A total of 28 complaints have been filed against FirstPoint Collections in the past three years.
All have been answered, and five have been resolved in the consumer’s favor.
The most common complaints are either failure by the company to properly credit an account as paid or to remove negative information from the consumer’s credit report.
If you are overwhelmed by dealing with negative entries on your credit report,
we suggest you ask a professional credit repair company for help.
Before You Deal with FirstPoint Collections
First, you need to familiarize yourself with the basic rules of dealing with any kind of collection agency.
Later, we’ll get into the specific strategies for dealing with FirstPoint Collections.
1. Don’t deal with collection agencies by phone
The consumer is bound to lose any arrangement with a collection agency if phone contact is the primary form of communication.
Collection agencies prefer contact by phone because it is quick. But it also gives an advantage to a trained and experienced collection agent.
The debtor has no similar training or experience in dealing with the collection process. And they know this puts you at a decided disadvantage.
Phone contact also enables the collection agency to make multiple phone calls to you each day.
This is even less convenient now that the vast majority of consumers have smart phones and can be contacted at either home or at work.
Still another issue is that phone calls are recorded.
Collection agencies do this in the hope that you will provide additional information that will further connect you to a debt.
Or that you would make a promise to pay that you can’t fulfill.
Understand that the recorded phone call is the equivalent of written, signed correspondence as evidence in a court of law.
The very fact that your phone call is being recorded may cause you to panic and make admissions you wouldn’t otherwise make.
2. All contact with a collection agency should be in writing
You can put an end to phone calls by demanding the collection agency contact you only by written correspondence.
Don’t be timid about this demand either. Choosing your preferred method of communication with a collection agency is your right under federal law.
You should do this during your initial contact with the company, whether that’s by phone or by written correspondence.
While you may make a call to the company upon learning of a collection account on your credit report, your first phone call to the company should be your last.
Written correspondence puts the advantages back in your own court.
You’ll be able to limit the information provided in your letters to no more than you need to provide.
And you’ll also gain an all-important track record. You’ll know exactly where you are in the collections process at any given point in time.
Anytime you send a letter to a collection agency, be sure to do it by certified mail, return receipt requested.
In that way, you’ll have evidence that not only did you send your letters, but also that they were received by the collection agency.
All correspondence between you and the debt collector should be maintained in a date-ordered file folder.
That will give you easy access to the negotiations at every step of the process. It can also be an important defense if the collection agency brings a lawsuit against you.
3. Never promise to make a payment unless you’re willing and able to make it
It’s sometimes convenient to either promise or imply you’ll send payment to a collection agency with the hope of getting rid of them, at least for a while.
Not only will that not work, but it can also be totally counterproductive.
A promise to send payment that isn’t fulfilled can be interpreted as a breach of contract. That will make it easier for the collection agency to bring an action against you in court.
You should never promise or imply you’ll send payment unless you have the funds available, and fully intend to send them.
In most cases, the collection agency will give you a deadline by which the promised funds must be delivered.
If they’re not, the agency may escalate the account from a collection to a lawsuit.
4. Familiarize yourself with your rights under federal law
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) provides consumers with certain protections from collection agency abuses.
You can learn these protections by reading the Debt Collection FAQs provided by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Just knowing your rights under federal law may give you the upper hand when a collection agency starts getting ugly.
Get Legal Help in Dealing with FirstPoint Collections
FirstPoint Collections may or may not be one of the more user-friendly collection agencies to deal with.
If they’re not, or if you’re not getting positive results from your efforts, it may be time to bring in an attorney.
In fact, that will be an absolute necessity if FirstPoint Collections brings a lawsuit against you.
One of the top credit law firms in the country is Lexington Law.
They can represent you in a lawsuit, prevent a lawsuit from going to court, and even have the account dropped from your credit report due to violations of federal law.
You owe it to yourself to take advantage of these services if you feel as if the collection agency has you in a corner.
Specific Strategies for Dealing with FirstPoint Collections
With the basics of dealing with all collection agencies fresh in your mind, let’s dive into the strategies for dealing with FirstPoint Collections.
1. Demand FirstPoint Collections Provide a Debt Validation Letter
The starting point of any debt collection situation is a debt validation letter.
Essentially, that’s the document that spells out the facts of the debt. It includes the original date and creditor, when it first became delinquent, the amount owed, and other information.
It should also clearly connect the obligation to you personally.
If FirstPoint Collections doesn’t provide a debt validation letter to you voluntarily, you’ll need to request it.
It will be the starting point for you to dispute the debt.
For example, you’ll compare the information in the debt validation letter with your own records.
It may turn out that you’ve already paid the debt but the payment was either never applied or was misapplied.
If so, you should be able to have it deleted just by providing a copy of your payment.
There’s also a possibility the debt being attached to you is a case of mistaken identity.
Review the information in the debt validation letter carefully.
It may be possible to identify the debt as belonging to another party, perhaps one with a similar name.
If you can prove you are not the person listed in the debt validation letter, the collection agency should drop the collection against you.
2. Request a Goodwill Deletion
This is a strategy that can remove a collection account from your credit report entirely under certain circumstances.
Either the debt will have been paid already, or it’s one you’re willing to pay now.
A goodwill deletion is not an attempt to avoid paying a debt, but getting it removed from your credit report.
You’ll send FirstPoint Collections a goodwill letter, reminding them that the debt has been paid and requesting they remove it from your credit report.
But the most critical part of the letter will be providing a convincing explanation that the reason the account went into collection was due to circumstances beyond your control.
Your request will succeed or fail on this explanation.
You’ll need to convince the company that the collection was due to extenuating circumstances, like a divorce, a business failure, a significant health issue, or some event of similar magnitude.
To strengthen your case you can also include documentation supporting your claim.
Though it’s not guaranteed, the collection agency may drop the account from your credit report as an act of goodwill.
3. Offer a Pay-for-Delete Agreement
This strategy is similar to a goodwill deletion request, but it’s designed to work primarily with a collection account that’s still outstanding.
Basically, you’ll send FirstPoint Collections what’s known as a pay-for-delete letter.
In the letter, you will offer to pay the debt in full in exchange for the collection agency deleting the account from your credit report.
The prospect of receiving full and immediate payment on the account is the incentive for the collection agency here.
If they do agree to the arrangement, request they send a written confirmation before sending payment.
However, you should be aware that pay-for-delete arrangements are not legally enforceable.
FirstPoint Collections can accept your payment, fail to remove the collection account from your credit reports, and you’ll have no recourse.
It happens as often as not. But it may be worth trying in case FirstPoint Collections will uphold their part of the deal.
4. Demand Deletion if FirstPoint Collections Can’t Fully Validate the Debt
In Strategy #1, we recommended using a completed debt validation letter as the basis for disputing the debt due to incorrect information.
But having this letter come back missing important information, or failing to come back at all, are both very common outcomes.
If either of these occurs, you’ll have a basis for demanding the removal of the account under federal law.
In either case, you’ll be able to use the missing information—or missing letter—as a basis to open a dispute with the three major credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.
They’re required to investigate your claim within 30 days.
And if FirstPoint Collections similarly fails to provide complete validation, the credit bureaus will remove the collection account from your credit reports.
That said, the collection agency might not stop pursuing you for the debt. Unfortunately, this is another common outcome.
Even though the account has been deleted from your credit reports, FirstPoint Collections may continue to treat it as a valid debt.
If so, you may need to get legal representation to resolve the matter.
5. Settle the Debt for Less Than the Full Amount Owed
If your primary purpose is to remove the debt—but not the collection account on your credit reports—settling the debt for less than the full amount is a common strategy.
Like everyone else, collection agencies want to get paid.
Many will accept less than the full amount in the process. Take advantage of that window of opportunity.
Send FirstPoint Collections a letter proposing to settle the debt for 50% or less of the full amount owed.
If settlement is a possibility, the collection agency will counter with a higher amount.
You’ll continue to negotiate back and forth until you reach a number you both agree on.
But don’t send payment just yet. Insist FirstPoint Collections provide a written acknowledgment that they’re accepting the reduced payment in full satisfaction of the debt.
Their letter should also confirm they will halt collection efforts against you, and report the account as paid with all three credit bureaus.
If you send payment before that letter arrives, the agency may simply apply your payment to the debt and then continue to pursue you for the balance.
How FirstPoint Collections Can Affect Your Credit
Collection accounts can remain on your credit report for up to seven years.
As long as they are on your report, they will continue to have a negative impact on your credit score.
And if the collection is ignored completely, the collection agency can institute a lawsuit and convert the collection to a judgment.
If that happens, all options for settlement are removed, and the agency will even be able to take legal action.
They could even garnish your wages to settle the account.