If a collection account has appeared on your credit report from a company called Performant Recovery, you may owe a debt related to health care, Medicare, student loan debt, or even taxes.
The nature of these debts can make this collection agency more difficult to work with.
The debts are often of a statutory nature, giving the agency greater authority in working with debtors.
In fact, complaints filed against Performant Recovery indicate a pattern of harassing phone calls.
One complainant reported between 10 and 20 phone calls per day.
More than anything else, repeated phone calls from a collection agency are unnerving.
And that may force you into doing or saying something that might make your situation worse.
About Performant Recovery
Performant Recovery is based in Livermore, California, and first opened for business in 1976.
According to the company’s website, they work primarily with student loans and health-care debts.
However, complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau indicate the firm also collects tax-related debt.
On the student loan front, the company works with no fewer than 14 student loan guarantors.
That means they may be collecting for a variety of student loan types.
On the health-care side, their work centers on home health and hospice claims, but also recovery of claim payments made by Medicare.
Performant Collections has a Better Business Bureau rating of A+, which is their highest rating on a scale of A+ to F.
A total of 63 complaints were filed against the company with the BBB in the past three years.
A quick scan shows all have been answered by the company, but only a handful have been resolved in the consumer’s favor.
Complaints include multiple daily phone calls from the agency, credit reports not corrected to reflect updated information, and failing to follow through on prior agreements.
Most of the complaints involve student loan debts and tax debts.
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 Performant Recovery
There are some rules for dealing with all collection agencies you need to be familiar with before we get into the specific strategies for dealing with Performant Recovery.
1. Don’t deal with collection agencies by phone
Some collection agencies unleash an intense phone campaign in an attempt to get you to pay your debt.
The expectation is if they bug you enough, your resistance will wear down and you’ll finally pay up.
But there’s more going on with an aggressive phone campaign than just trying to wear you down.
Collection agents are aware that debtors can easily panic under the pressure of repeated phone calls.
That’ll make it easier to get additional information from the debtor, as well as to entice the debtor into promising to send payment.
Collection agencies intensify the phone pressure by alerting you at the beginning of the call that they’ll be recording the entire conversation.
There’s little doubt consumers behave differently when they know they’re being recorded.
Nervousness can make a debtor give up incriminating information, and make promises to pay in an effort to satisfy the collection agent.
Unfortunately, a recorded phone call can be used as evidence against you in a lawsuit.
This—along with the annoyance factor—is why phone conversations with collection agencies must be avoided.
2. All contact with a collection agency should be in writing
Fortunately, you have the legal right under federal law to insist all communication with a collection agency be handled in writing.
This is a demand you should make as early in the process as possible. That will put an end to both the repeated phone calls and the intimidation tactics that come with them.
But restricting collection agency communications to written correspondence only does a lot more than eliminate pestering.
It also puts an end to threats and any language a collection agent may use that could violate federal law.
Put another way, written correspondence forces collection agencies to behave.
It will also give you much greater control over the negotiation process. Based on letters received from the collection agency, you’ll know exactly what the agency is proposing.
That will make it easier for you to deal with their requests in a careful and responsible way.
Be sure to keep all correspondence with a collection agency brief. Provide as little information as possible, while requesting as much as you can get.
Also send your letters by certified mail, return receipt requested. That will provide evidence you sent your letters, and that they were received by the collection agency.
Keep all correspondence well organized for easy reference. It should also be obvious that written correspondence can be your best defense if the collection agency chooses to bring a lawsuit against you.
3. Never promise to make a payment unless you’re willing and able to make it
This is another major reason to put a stop to phone calls. Because of the higher pressure, the likelihood of making a promise to send a payment is greater with phone conversations.
And though it’s easier to avoid with written correspondence, it’s still important to consider the implications.
If you make a promise to pay a collection agency and fail to send the promised payment, the collection agency can consider that breach of contract, and move the collection up to a lawsuit.
The moral of the story is, you should never make promises of any kind with a collection agency, least of which promise to send payment.
Never make such an offer unless you have the funds available, and you fully intend to send the promised remittance. Any other course of action will only get you in deeper trouble.
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).
Not only will these laws protect you from abuses by collection agencies, but just knowing what they are, and reciting one or two to an overeager collection agent, can force the agent to behave better than he or she might if they believe you’re not aware of your legal rights.
Get Legal Help in Dealing with Performant Recovery
Based on the type of debt they collect, Performant Recovery may be a particularly difficult collection agency to deal with.
Student loans, health-care debts, and tax obligations are more complicated than consumer debt collections.
If your efforts are not producing results, or if you’re threatened with a lawsuit, you’ll need to get legal representation.
In that case, we recommend the services of Lexington Law.
As a credit law firm, they’ll know exactly how to deal with Performant Recovery, and even how to get the collection dropped, often for violations of federal law.
You’ll be in good hands with this top credit repair company.
Specific Strategies for Dealing with Performant Recovery
Now that you’re familiar with the basics, let’s get into specific strategies for dealing with Performant Recovery.
Because of the variety of debts they collect, you may need to use two or more of the strategies presented below.
1. Demand Performant Recovery Provide a Debt Validation Letter
The collection process should start with a debt validation letter. Under federal law, a collection agency is required to provide you with written validation of the debt they claim you owe.
But if they don’t provide it automatically, you’ll need to request it.
The letter will spell out the terms of the account. That will include the important information about the debt itself.
Details like who the original creditor was, the total amount of the debt, and when it first went into collection will be included.
It should also provide information clearly connecting you to the obligation.
Once you have a fully completed debt validation letter, review it carefully.
Because of the information the debt validation letter contains, it will provide you with a one-time opportunity to challenge the debt if any of the information is incorrect.
For example, the agency may be attempting to collect payment on an account you’ve already paid.
By providing evidence of your original payment, you should be able to have the collection removed from your credit report and put a stop to further collection efforts.
This will also provide you with an opportunity to challenge the claim against you.
If the debt validation letter contains any information about you that’s not correct, it may be a case of mistaken identity.
Check the exact spelling of your name, as well as your address, and any personal identifying information, like your Social Security number.
If any of that information is wrong, you may be able to get the account deleted.
2. Request a Goodwill Deletion
There may a collection account appearing on your credit reports for a debt you’ve already paid.
If so, you may be able to get it removed if you can convince the collection agency the collection was a result of circumstances beyond your control.
You’ll write and send Performant Recovery a goodwill letter requesting they drop the collection account from your credit reports.
Will they agree? Not all collection agencies do, but some will—and enough to make this strategy worth trying.
But the request will succeed or fail based on the credibility of your explanation why the account went into collection.
It will need to be a factor completely beyond your control.
That will need to be an extenuating circumstance, such as a divorce, extended time of medical incapacitation or dealing with a serious illness, or even a lengthy time of unemployment.
If you can provide any documentation supporting your claim, the collection agency will be more likely to agree to the request.
3. Offer a Pay-for-Delete Agreement
This strategy doesn’t always work, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it a try.
It’s not a legally enforceable agreement, which we’ll get into in a moment. But it may work with certain collection agencies, taking advantage of their desire to be paid.
You’ll send Performant Recovery a pay-for-delete letter in which you’ll offer to pay the debt in full in exchange for the removal of the collection account from your credit reports.
One important factor to keep in mind is that you’ll need to confirm your willingness to pay the debt in full.
That’s the point that will motivate the collection agency to cooperate with the arrangement.
If you attempt to do this using a payment plan or a partial settlement, it’s very unlikely to be effective.
If the collection agency agrees to the arrangement, be sure to get their acceptance in writing.
However, even if they do agree in writing, they still may not comply. They may simply accept your payment and leave the collection account on your credit reports.
If that happens, you won’t have any legal recourse, even using their letter of agreement.
While collection agencies are required to report a collection account as paid, they’re not supposed to remove the account from your credit reports. For that reason, you won’t be able to force them to remove the account, even if you get legal representation.
4. Demand Deletion if Performant Recovery Can’t Fully Validate the Debt
We’ve already covered using the information contained in the debt validation letter to challenge the legitimacy of the debt.
But a common occurrence with collection accounts is failure of the collection agency to either provide full information or to provide any at all.
If they don’t, you’ll be able to demand they drop the collection efforts for violations of federal law.
You can even dispute the account with the credit bureaus. They will remove the collection account from your credit reports if Performant Recovery fails to provide the debt validation letter.
If they provide incomplete information to the bureaus, this could help it get deleted as well.
Unfortunately, even if the credit bureaus remove the collection account from your credit reports, the collection agency may continue their collection efforts against you.
If that happens, you’ll almost certainly need to get an attorney to force them to drop the case.
5. Settle the Debt for Less than the Full Amount Owed
Though this strategy isn’t designed to remove the collection account from your credit reports, it will enable you to pay the account for less than the full amount owed.
Many collection agencies are open to this arrangement, so it’s one you should always propose if other strategies aren’t successful.
Once again, you’ll send Performant Recovery a letter making your proposal.
Start by offering to settle the debt for no more than half the full amount—less if you think they’ll go for it.
Though that may seem like a lowball offer, the collection agency may see it as a starting point and be willing to negotiate.
They’ll most likely counteroffer. It will be a figure much closer to the original amount of the debt, but it will confirm their willingness to be flexible.
From that point forward, you’ll need to negotiate with the collection agency. You’ll go back and forth until you both agree to a number.
But don’t send any money yet. First, demand Performant Recovery provide you with written confirmation of your agreement.
If you send payment before the letter arrives, the collection agency may accept your money as partial payment of the debt, then continue to pursue you for the full balance.