Mobile phone service accounts going into collection is hardly unusual. It often happens after you terminate service, and the company continues to pursue you for additional money.
Or there may be a dispute with billing, and your account ends up in collection.
This may be the case when you’re dealing with a provider like Sprint.
They’re now part of T-Mobile, but there are plenty of collection accounts remaining from when they were an independent entity.
If you’re being pursued for a collection related to Sprint, it may be coming from different directions.
For example, if the account is relatively new, Sprint may attempt to collect the alleged debt directly from you.
Older collection accounts are more likely to be turned over to third-party collection agencies.
Whoever is instituting the collection effort against you, the strategies for dealing with Sprint collections are pretty much the same across the board.
About Sprint Collections
There is no agency specifically called “Sprint Collections,” but the Accounts Receivable department within the company provides collection services.
It’s more likely, however, that you’ll be approached by a third-party collection agency if your account is seriously delinquent.
If there is any indication of a billing problem with Sprint, you should do your best to work it out with the company before they turn it over to a collection agency.
They may be more willing to work with you, especially if you are a current customer.
Little third-party information is available about Sprint collection behavior.
The Better Business Bureau gives Sprint a rating of A+, which is their highest rating on a scale of A+ to F. However, they do list more than 20,000 complaints against the company.
On one hand, that’s really not a lot of complaints when you consider the company has over 54 million customers.
But a quick scan of those complaints shows a pattern of problems with billing and payments.
However, it’s worth pointing out that such complaints against mobile phone service providers are hardly unusual.
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 Sprint Collections
Before getting into specific strategies for dealing with Sprint collections—or their third-party collection agencies—it will help to provide you with a few basic rules for handling any collection agency.
1. Don’t deal with collection agencies by phone
The most basic reason to avoid phone contact with a collection agency is that it gives the agency all the advantages in your interactions.
Consider those collection agents are both trained and experienced in live exchanges with debtors.
They know the law, and they know exactly what to say to intimidate consumers.
That intimidation often leads debtors to surrender additional information to the collection agency.
They want to connect you to the debt further or even get you to make promises to send payments.
The fact that collection agencies routinely record those calls further complicates phone exchanges.
Rest assured, they’re not for training purposes. Instead, the recordings represent evidence that can be used against you if the collection agency decides to file a lawsuit.
The information you provide in a call, as well as any promises you make to send payments, will be included in those recorded phone calls.
Fortunately, you do have an escape hatch from phone conversations with collection agencies.
2. All contact with a collection agency should be in writing
You have a right to demand all contact with a collection agency be handled in writing.
That’s federal law, and most collection agencies are well aware of that. You should insist on contact by written communication only as early in the collection process as possible.
Not only will that remove the collection agency’s ability to pester you with repeated phone calls, but it will also shift much of the advantage in your favor.
For example, a collection agency is much less likely to write something that may be a violation of federal law than they would be to say the same in a phone call.
After all, the letter would represent evidence against them proving a violation.
By insisting on contact by written correspondence only, you’re also sending a clear message to the collection agency that you know your rights under federal law.
That will force them to respect you from the get-go.
But perhaps the biggest advantage for you is that you will have a paper trail.
Any time you’re contacted by the collection agency, you can simply refer to their letters to determine exactly what’s going on, and what your response should be.
You will also be able to keep your responses brief. That will avoid providing additional information, or making promises to send payment—both of which can be held against you.
Be sure to send any letters to a collection agency by certified mail, return receipt requested.
That will give you evidence you sent your letters and that the agency has received them.
Be sure to keep all correspondence, both your letters and theirs, in one location.
That will provide you with a ready reference to plan your next response. It may also be your best 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
This is probably the single most important rule for dealing with any collection agency.
Whatever you do, don’t be drawn into the temptation of promising to send a payment that you might not be able to cover. The consequences could be ugly.
If you promise to send payment to a collection agency—whether partial or full—and fail to send it, the collection agency can use it against you in a lawsuit.
Whether you’ve made the promise on a recorded phone call or in a letter, it represents a form of breach of contract.
No matter how much you may be tempted to promise to send a payment, never do it unless you have the funds available and intend to send them.
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).
Often, just asserting your rights under the FDCPA will get a collection agency to treat you better.
Get Legal Help in Dealing with Sprint Collections
This will be an absolute necessity if you are threatened with a lawsuit, or if the collection agency is in violation of federal law and you want to bring a suit of your own against them.
But it’s also an option if the agency is proving to be completely uncooperative, and you feel you can no longer move forward.
If any of those situations develop, you’ll need legal representation. We recommend Lexington Law for the job.
They specialize in credit law, and are one of the leading credit law firms in the country.
Having legal representation may be just what you need to get the collection agency to drop the case against you.
Specific Strategies for Dealing with Sprint Collections
Now let’s get into specific strategies for dealing with either Sprint collections or any collection agencies they may hire to represent them.
1. Demand Sprint Collections Provide a Debt Validation Letter
Under federal law, all collection agencies are required to furnish you with a debt validation letter.
The letter spells out the terms of the collection agency’s claim against you.
That includes all information surrounding the debt, including the name of the original creditor (which will be Sprint), the date the account went into collections, and the specific information that ties you to the obligation.
If the collection agency doesn’t send you a debt validation letter, you’ll need to request one specifically.
Once you receive it, study it carefully. Pay close attention to all the details provided about the original debt.
If any information doesn’t match your personal records, you may be able to dispute the account.
For example, the collection agency may be attempting to collect a payment that you already made.
If you can find and provide written evidence of the payment you’ve made, they should drop the claim against you.
Similarly, if any of the information about you personally is incorrect, it could be a case of mistaken identity.
By providing correct personal information or disputing inaccurate information, you may be able to have the collection dropped.
But be aware that sometimes, even when the information the collection agency has is wrong and you prove that to be the case, they still don’t drop the claim against you.
That’s another example of when you may need to get professional help.
2. Request a Goodwill Deletion
This is a strategy you may be able to use if either the debt has been paid or you intend to pay it now.
It’s not an attempt to get out of paying the obligation, but rather to have the collection account removed from your credit report.
(Don’t attempt this strategy if you’ll need to make a payment plan to settle the account.)
You’ll send Sprint collections, or their hired collection agency, a goodwill letter. In the letter, you’ll request they remove the collection account from your credit reports.
Because a) the debt is paid (or will be), and b) the reason the account went into collection was due to circumstances beyond your control.
That last part is what’s most important. You’ll need to convince the collection agency of the legitimacy of the reason why the account went into collection.
It’ll need to be a serious life event, such as a divorce or a business failure. It also will strengthen your case by providing any documentation proving your claim.
No, this request is not guaranteed to have the collection account removed from your credit reports.
But if there was a believable extenuating circumstance that caused the account to be in collection, this is a strategy well worth trying.
3. Offer a Pay-for-Delete Agreement
This is something like a goodwill deletion’s evil second cousin. That’s because the strategy is truly a gray zone—and that’s putting it politely.
You’ll use this strategy with a debt that’s still outstanding. It plays on the collection agency’s need to have the account paid, and paid quickly.
For that reason, they may agree to this arrangement.
You’ll send the collection agency a pay-for-delete letter. The letter will propose your willingness to pay the debt in full in exchange for the collection agency removing the collection account from your credit reports.
If they do, ask them to confirm their acceptance of the arrangement in writing.
Don’t be surprised if they agree and send you the requested letter. Like everyone else, collection agencies want to get paid.
But that doesn’t mean the arrangement will work as planned. The problem with pay-for-delete is that it’s something collection agencies are not supposed to do, at least according to their agreements with the credit bureaus.
When they receive a payment from a debtor, they’re required to report it as a paid account.
Removing the account completely is something they’re not supposed to do.
That being the case, they may send you written confirmation of the agreement, accept your payment, and then fail to have the account deleted from your credit reports.
You’ll have no recourse if that happens.
4. Demand Deletion if Sprint Collections Can’t Fully Validate the Debt
Earlier, we said that collection agencies are legally required to provide you with the debt validation letter.
If they don’t, or if the letter comes back incomplete, you can challenge the validity of the collection and demand it be dropped.
If the company doesn’t cooperate, you can open a dispute with the three credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.
They’ll be required to investigate within 30 days, and if the collection agency doesn’t provide complete validation of the debt, the credit bureaus will remove it from your credit reports.
In most cases, however, the collection agency will continue their collection efforts against you.
When that happens, you may need to get legal representation or work with a credit repair service.
5. Settle the Debt for Less than the Full Amount Owed
This is a common way collection accounts are settled. It won’t remove the collection account from your credit reports, but it will enable you to close the account for a lot less money than the agency wants.
You’ll send the collection agency a letter proposing to settle the account for a reduced amount.
We recommend your initial offer be 50% or less of the original balance.
If the company is willing to negotiate, they’ll send a counteroffer. It will be closer to the full amount, but it will confirm that settlement is possible.
Continue negotiating until you reach a settlement amount both sides can agree on. When the collection agency agrees, demand they confirm their agreement in writing.
That must include confirmation they’re accepting the reduced amount in full satisfaction of the entire balance, they’ll terminate collection efforts against you, and they’ll report the account as fully paid to the three credit bureaus.
If you send money before receiving the letter, the collection agency may accept your money as a partial payment, then continue to come after you for the balance.
That’s why you must wait for the letter from the collection agency before sending any money.