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.
If you have been ignoring your cell phone bill, chances are, it has gone into collections and you are now receiving letters and calls about the debt. What do you do next?
If you have been avoiding your bill for a few months, chances are it is in collections and it has already hurt your credit score. However, if the total bill was just sent to collections, chances are your credit report is still intact.
Before you decide to call your cell phone carriers 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 an entry from your cell phone provider showing a delinquency.
On Your Credit Report
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.
Make a Deal
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. An email will work as well. This typically has a high success rate because companies simply just want to be paid.
If you do not have the money to pay for your 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. If they are unable to produce this validation, you can have this removed from your reports.
All in all, it can be hard to deal with cell phone carriers. To make the process as smooth as possible, always ask for names, employee ID numbers, and confirmation numbers when possible. In the hectic world of debt collection, your information can be lost at a moments notice, so keeping detailed records is essential.