With the advancement of technology, nearly all Americans rely on smartphones and cell phone carriers to allow them to communicate with others.
However, cell phone bills are often some of the first bills that go unpaid when we hit a financial rough patch.
Have a cell phone bill in collections? Chances are you are now receiving letters and calls about the debt. So what do you do next?
If you have been unable to pay for a few months, chances are your unpaid cell phone bill is in collections and it has already hurt your credit score.
However, if the total was just sent to bill collections, chances are your credit score and report are still intact.
Before you decide to call your cell phone carrier’s collections department, be sure to get a free copy of your credit report by going to www.annualcreditreport.com.
Examine your report and see if there is a recent entry from your cell phone provider showing a delinquency.
A late cell phone bill payment can impact your credit score significantly.
Cell Phone Bills and Credit Scores
If it does appear that the collection was noted in your credit report, give your cell phone carrier a call.
First and foremost, you should ask for what is known as a “Goodwill deletion”. This is just essentially asking your carrier to remove the delinquency with no cost to you.
It may sound unrealistic, but if the bill has actually been repaid, there is a good chance that you can have it removed.
A late payment on a cell phone bill will add a negative mark to the “Payment History” factor of your credit score, which accounts for 35% of your overall credit score.
Your credit score can drop as much as 100 points or more for a delinquent or severely late cell phone bill payment.
Removing Cell Phone Bill Collections
Your cell phone carrier sent your bill to collections simply because they want their money. If you have not paid your bill, call your cell phone carrier or the collection agency in charge of your debt.
Offer to pay the bill off in full in exchange for having the delinquency removed from your credit report.
At this phase, it is important to have proof. Be sure to ask the agent on the other line of the phone for their name along with a confirmation number for later use.
Ask the agent to also provide you with a confirmation email or letter for your own records.
An email will work as well. This typically has a high success rate because companies simply just want to be paid.
Last Effort to Remove Unpaid Cell Phone Bill in Collections
If you do not have the money to pay for your cell phone bill, ask for a debt validation. Essentially, you ask the creditor for proof that the debt is, in fact, yours and the amount stated is accurate.
The creditor must legally prove that you own the debt and the amount is correct. This request is typically replied to within 30 days.
If they are unable to produce this validation and prove that the cell phone bill belongs to you, you can have this removed from your reports.
This is because debt collectors cannot collect on debts that they cannot prove you own.
Cell Phone Bill Statute of Limitations
All debts have a statute of limitations. These are typically set by your state, but cell phones are different in that the federal government has set a statute of limitations of two years for a past-due cell phone bill. After the statute of limitations has expired on your cell phone bill in collections, it will be considered “time-barred”.
All in all, it can be hard to deal with cell phone carriers and bill collections. To make the process as smooth as possible, always ask for names, employee ID numbers, and confirmation numbers when possible.
Cell phone bills can impact credit scores significantly, so be sure that you tackle the issue right away.
In the hectic world of debt collection, your information can be lost at a moments notice, so keeping detailed records is essential.
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