Have you been contacted by a company called Franklin Collection Service Inc.?
Or seen a collection account on your credit report from the company, sometimes notated simply as “FCS”?
If so, you should know that Franklin Collection Service Inc. is a legitimate collection agency. They engage in the collection of unspecified debts in all 50 states.
The purpose of this guide is to provide you with tips and strategies for dealing with Franklin Collection Service Inc.
Whichever strategy you choose, we recommend you be proactive throughout the collection process.
We never recommend ignoring a collection account. That’s because the collection agency can easily escalate the account based on your nonresponse.
In a worst-case scenario, they can obtain a judgment against you, which will entitle them to garnish your wages until the account is fully paid.
About Franklin Collection Service Inc.
Franklin Collection Service Inc. is a collection agency based in Tupelo, Mississippi.
The company began operations in 1980. On their website, they commonly refer to themselves simply as FCS.
The company operates in all 50 states, and though they don’t indicate specifically what type of clients or businesses they collect for, medical has been mentioned on the website.
While complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau also indicate attempts to contact for phone services—specifically AT&T.
The company does offer a payment portal on its website, but there’s no indication if they accept installment payment arrangements.
This is worth noting because payment plans are commonly offered with medical collections.
The Better Business Bureau has rated Franklin Collection Service Inc. with an A, the second-highest rating on a scale of A+ to F. The company has been accredited by the BBB since 2004.
There have been 176 complaints filed against the company through the BBB over the past three years.
A quick scan of those complaints shows the vast majority have been answered by Franklin Collection Service Inc. And some have been resolved to the consumer’s satisfaction.
Typical complaints include lack of proper debt validation and attempting to collect debts from service providers that consumers have never worked with.
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 Franklin Collection Service Inc.
Before we plunge into specific strategies for dealing with Franklin Collection Service Inc., let’s first review some basic rules for dealing with any collection agency.
Please keep these in mind throughout the process. Following them will help improve the likelihood of success, but also of avoiding more complications.
1. Don’t deal with collection agencies by phone
If Franklin Collection Service Inc. has contacted you by phone, we strongly recommend you put an end to the calls as soon as possible.
It’s your right under federal law, and you must assert it as early in the process as you can.
Collection agents like to deal with debtors by phone, because it means they can make repeated calls. And in an era of mobile phones, that means you can be contacted at home, at work, while driving in your car, and even after having dinner. Not only is it inconvenient, but it also puts you at a decided disadvantage.
After all, when put in that position, your only goal will be to end the call as quickly as possible. That’s unlikely to settle anything.
But if that’s not bad enough, collection agencies make it a practice to record phone calls, and to let you know that at the beginning of the call.
At a minimum, knowing your call is being recorded limits your ability to respond as you might otherwise. It may also cause you to be more compliant than you need to be.
But it gets even worse. Any representations you make will be recorded as a permanent record. That not only strengthens the collection agency’s case against you, but it could even lead to the basis for a lawsuit against you.
2. All contact with a collection agency should be in writing
The alternative to phone contact with collection agencies is written correspondence. While expressing your wishes not to be contacted by phone, make it clear to the collection agency you want all communication to be handled in writing going forward.
That will put an end to repeated phone calls and intimidation tactics that often come with them.
Written correspondence gives you advantages you won’t have with phone contact. Examples include the following:
- The collection agency will have to be more careful in what they communicate to you. Written correspondence that includes violations of federal law can backfire on the agency.
- Letters force the collection agency to be more concise in their communications. They won’t have the benefit of the open-ended “fishing expeditions” that phone calls often turn into.
- You’ll be able to be more concise in your responses. For example, you’ll be able to answer a question directly—or choose not to—while carefully avoiding stating anything that might provide additional ammunition to the collection agency.
- You’ll have a written record of all exchanges with the collection agency. You’ll be able to refer to this any time you need to, which will enable you to be better organized in negotiations.
Be sure all written communication with a collection agency is sent by certified mail, return receipt requested.
3. Never promise to make a payment unless you’re willing and able to make it
If you promise to send payment to a collection agency and fail to do so, it could be interpreted as breach of contract.
If that happens, the collection agency can use your unfilled promise as the basis of a lawsuit. That would escalate your account from a collection to a judgment in short order.
Simply put, never promise to send payment to a collection agency—or even imply that you might—unless you have the funds available, and you intend to send them.
4. Familiarize yourself with your rights under federal law
This gets down to the federal law we’ve been talking about so far.
That law is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), and it entitles you to certain legal protections when dealing with collection agencies.
You can familiarize yourself with these by reading the Debt Collection FAQs provided by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Just being able to recite one or two provisions of the law is often all it takes to make a collection agency behave better.
And at a minimum, they’ll have greater respect for you.
Get Legal Help in Dealing with Franklin Collection Service Inc.
If you don’t feel you’re ready to take Franklin Collection Service on your own, we recommended engaging the services of a good credit repair service to deal with them on your behalf.
And if FCS threatens you with legal action, or if you believe they may be engaging in violations of federal law, working with a credit law firm will be a better strategy.
If that turns out to be the case, we recommend Lexington Law.
As one of the most successful credit law firms in the country, they not only will represent you in a legal action but may be able to get the account dropped due to violations of federal law.
That’s the advantage of having a credit law firm working on your behalf.
Specific Strategies for Franklin Collection Service Inc
Now that we’ve covered the basics of dealing with any collection agency, let’s get into specific strategies for dealing with Franklin Collection Service Inc.
But as we go forward, don’t forget what you’ve already learned.
1. Demand Franklin Collection Service Inc. Provide a Debt Validation Letter
A collection agency must provide documentation proving the legitimacy of their claim against you. That’s done through what is known as a debt validation letter.
They’re required to furnish you with this letter under federal law. But if they don’t, you’ll need to request it as soon as possible.
A debt validation letter includes information related to both you and the debt. For example, it must disclose the name of the original creditor, the original amount of the debt, and the date it first became delinquent. It must also provide information clearly identifying you as the person who owes the debt.
Once you receive this letter, review the information it contains carefully. Understand that collection accounts are often the result of either mistaken identity or an attempt to collect a debt that’s already been paid.
First, match up their information to your own records. Have you ever done business with the original creditor? If so, do the dates correspond with the timeframe during which you dealt with them?
Does the original amount of the debt match what you have in your records, or at least what you understand to be the correct amount? Do you have any records indicating you may have paid the obligation?
If you have any documentation that contradicts what the collection agency provided, you can challenge the debt based on your own records.
Then carefully review the information the collection agency reports on you. Is it you, or someone with a similar name? Do the address, phone number and account number match your records?
If any information in the debt validation letter doesn’t match what you have, you can challenge the collection agency that you’re not the person they’re looking for.
2. Request a Goodwill Deletion
If there’s a collection account on your credit report, and you’ve already paid it, you may be able to use this strategy to have the collection account removed from your credit report.
If you’re successful, you’ll get an immediate bump in your credit score.
You’ll send Franklin Collection Service Inc. a goodwill letter in which you request they removed the collection account from your credit report.
But as you might suspect, they’re not going to do that just because you ask nicely. Your letter must also compellingly explain that the reason the account went into collection was due to circumstances beyond your control.
You’ll greatly increase the chance of success by including any documentation that supports your claim.
A circumstance beyond your control is a “life event” that can include a divorce, a business failure, caring for an ailing loved one, or even a natural disaster.
The request isn’t guaranteed to work, but it’s worth trying if the account has already been paid, and there is a valid explanation for why the delinquency happened.
3. Offer a Pay-for-Delete Agreement
This strategy exploits the overriding desire of collection agencies to get paid—and paid as quickly as possible.
You’ll propose paying the collection account in full in exchange for Franklin Collection Service Inc. removing the collection account from your credit reports.
This is done by sending the company a pay-for-delete letter making your proposal. But it’s even possible the collection agency will make the offer to you.
If they agree to your request, demand that they provide a letter acknowledging your agreement. Only then should you send payment.
But there’s an important caveat. Even if Franklin Collection Service Inc. agrees to the arrangement in writing, they don’t have to comply.
They can accept your payment and keep the collection account on your credit reports.
The reason is that pay-for-delete arrangements are not legally enforceable. The collection agency is aware of this, so you’ll really be throwing yourself at their mercy.
Some agencies will actually follow through with the agreement, but others won’t.
4. Demand Deletion if Franklin Collection Service Inc. Can’t Fully Validate the Debt
Before, we stressed the importance of obtaining a debt validation letter from Franklin Collection Service Inc., then challenging the obligation based on incorrect information in the letter. Now we’re going to take a different approach.
Collection agencies are notorious for either providing incomplete debt validation letters or failing to supply them at all.
Either outcome is a basis to challenge the validity of the debt. Based on not receiving the letter or getting one missing important information, you can demand Franklin Collection Service Inc. remove the account from your credit report and terminate collection actions against you.
If they don’t, you can dispute the debt with the three major credit bureaus, who will conduct an investigation within 30 days.
If Franklin Collection Service Inc. similarly fails to provide complete debt validation, the credit bureaus will remove the collection account from your credit reports.
But even if the collections are removed, Franklin Collection Service Inc. may continue collection efforts against you. If that happens, you may need legal representation to fix the situation.
More on that in a few seconds.
5. Offer to Settle the Debt for Less Than the Full Amount
If your primary goal is to have a collection account settled—rather than removed from your credit report—this is a strategy that can get the job done.
Send a letter to Franklin Collection Service Inc. proposing to settle the account for less than the full amount owed. We strongly recommend your initial offer be no more than half the full amount.
If the agency agrees, they’ll counteroffer with a higher number. You’ll then negotiate until an agreeable settlement is reached.
Once that happens, insist Franklin Collection Service Inc. verify in writing that they’re accepting the reduced amount in full settlement of the debt.
They must also confirm they’ll report the account as paid on your credit reports and will end further collection actions against you.
Don’t send payment until you receive this letter. Otherwise, the agency may accept your money as a partial payment, and then continue to pursue you for the balance.