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resolved to the customer's satisfaction
Resolved
AfniFormer Employee

I am posting this to actually try and help you, and I encourage you to keep that in mind and read thoroughly through all that I have to say. I was previously a debt collector employed at Afni, and I am going to let you know what I would do if I received a bill from Afni, or had a listing on my credit report from them, and you can go from there.
Let me first explain the difference between debt purchase collections and 3rd party collections. A debt that has been purchased is a bill that the collection agency now owns (these are the accounts that they paid pennies on the dollar for). With 3rd party collections the original creditor (ex:ATT, Dish Network, Direct TV, Sprint, Verizon, etc) still owns the account.
If Afni was handling one of my outstanding bills, my goal would be to make the bill completely go away (without paying)and be removed from my credit report, or if that was not a possibility, I would want to ensure that it does not affect my credit. The first thing that I would want to find out when I call in is if the account is owned by Afni or if they are a 3rd party collection agency. I would make sure they clearly told me, and not just ‘we are handling the account’, which could be either. If it is an account that they owned I would be claiming identity theft. By getting the account closed as identity theft I would not have to pay it and it would be removed from my credit. I would expect Afni to tell me there is going to be an ‘investigation’, but I would have no worries about any actual legal investigation or myself having to provide proof of what I say. I would expect the debt collector to ask me questions trying to link me to the bill as the actual investigation. I would ask what address the service or bills were sent to, and then make sure that I never confirm that I have any connection to that address. I would expect them to be skip tracing and maybe even bring up names of people that I know. I would never confirm that I know these people, even if they have the same last name. I would be confident that doing this does not put anyone else at risk, even if the debt collector tries to intimidate me of that. Then I would t confirm that they are noting it as possible ID theft, and then I would call back in 1-2 weeks to see if the account had closed. If so, I would request a credit delete letter faxed to me. If the account is not closed, I would call the credit bureaus and claim ID theft and then check back with Afni in another 2 weeks.
I would not attempt identity theft if Afni is a 3rd party. My reason for this is that the original creditor will require things like police reports, proof of residency, and fraud affidavits filed. These companies also have much more information on the account, and they will be able to do a better investigation. Also, they will still be getting a portion of what I pay if I do pay it, and paying the company that you actually owe is the right thing to do.
So, if Afni is the 3rd party collection agency, my concern is then having it removed from my credit, not updated as paid. To do this, it is important to make them think that I learned about them owning the bill by checking my credit, not from receiving a letter from them. I would want to check my credit before I called in to see if it is on there, then I could call in and say ‘I saw this on my credit and I didn’t even know this bill was with you, what address did you send something notifying me to?’ No matter if they have the correct address for me or not, I would tell them they sent it to the wrong address. At some point I would be certain to ask for a credit DELETION because I never received a first notice.
Is it on my credit and are they going to remove it are very important questions to answer if I am planning on paying the bill with Afni. 3rd party collection agencies only have the accounts for a certain time period, and it is typically 6 months or 12 months. When the agencies time frame is up, the listing on the credit will have to be removed and the account is placed with a new agency. The new agency will then be required by law to wait at least 30 days before reporting it. If Afni will not remove it, I would ask them when they received the account and then keep an eye on the account and catch it right when it changes agencies so that I could pay it before the new agency has the chance to report it. If I was planning on doing payment arrangements, I would just set the money aside each month and save it until it switches agencies (why would I give a dime to Afni if they refuse removal?). When it switches agencies I could then pay them what I had saved, and if I still could not pay the bill in full, I would try to work out a payment arrangement were they will agree to not report it.
If I was in a situation that I was trying to use my credit and I could not wait for the account to move to another agency, I would then resort to filing a complaint with the Attorney General and BBB to see if Afni changes its position on doing a credit removal.
No matter what route I had to go, I would keep a couple things in mind. #1. I would be nice to the debt collector. They are just a person doing their job and they do put up with a lot of abuse. Being a jerk to these people will not help out what I am trying to do, but if I am nice to them it may help the cause. A lot of the things they say come from company expectations. If you are mean to them they may use the company policies and the guidelines as a way to get back at you, but if you are nice, they may use them to your advantage. #2. Carefully think everything over and plan everything before making the call. Debt collectors are lied to all the time, and they are trained to catch you up in your lies. EVERYONE slips up when they lie!!! #3. Again, I would be nice to the debt collector. They probably just got done being yelled at by some jerk before I called in, and at certain point this can begin to affect how they talk to others.
No matter how the conversation goes, I would also expect the collector to do something like acknowledge what I say to them, then use an empathy statement, then point out how I am responsible for the bill, then talk about resolving it and a benefit, followed by telling me to grab debit/credit card, or checkbook. For example, if I was disputing a bill with Afni due to poor service with the original creditor, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear them say ‘So the service was bad and you decided to cancel, I’m sure that can be frustrating to have to deal with. However, you are responsible for any bills before you canceled. We could put this behind you and get your credit updated. Grab your debit or credit card, or we accept check by phone’. Once again, I would expect them to ACKNOWLEDGE/USE EMPATHY, POINT OUT RESPONSIBILITY, OFFER TO RESOLVE/BENEFITS, then I would expect to hear the words DEBIT OR CREDIT CARD, or CHECK BY PHONE.

Responses

  • Je
    Jessica Folk Jul 02, 2007
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I found out that they were reporting on my credit report a charge of $200 for verizon (not mine), then I requested validation by certified mail. Instead of replying they added another account for over $700!!! They are rip off artists and I am still in the process of getting the bogus Verizon accounts off!!!

    0 Votes
  • Am
    Amy D Dorsey Jul 31, 2007
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I too had to check my credit file and found a bogus charge owed to Verizon for 106.00. It is not mine and I called AFNI. Please help as these people sent me two stating the first one was owed for 555.00 and a second one was for 106.00. When I called to dispute the first one it was removed the second one has not been.

    0 Votes
  • Di
    Dianna Lee Aug 06, 2007
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Today receive a bill for 844.52 from afni... representing Verizon New york... Tried calling for over 1 1/2 hours... just on hold... please hold next representative can assist you... what representative? Anyway, I work for Verizon... so I call the 890 number on my bill... The bill is for a phone number that I never had. Also, the bill was sent to my maiden name (15 years ago), my 1st name spell incorrectly... helllooo... The rep was very nice and advised me to contact transunion so this doesn't affect my credit... calling the better business bureau... will keep you updated!

    0 Votes
  • Fr
    Fran Henry Aug 12, 2007
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Thanks to everyone for posting their complaints about this company. I just received a notice stating that I owe them $2008.35 for a Verizon phone bill. The phone number they've stated on the notice does sound familiar but it is clearly a number that I probably had over 10 years ago. I have reported the company to the Fair Credit Reporting Bureau and I will be calling them and threatening legal action if they DARE report me to collection agencies. This is insane. Thank God for the internet because I would have never known that other individuals were being scammed in the same way.

    0 Votes
  • An
    Andy Marmolejo Sep 04, 2007
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Afni comes up on my credit report when I never opened a singular account. I have had t-mobile since 04. What do I do?

    0 Votes
  • Ra
    Rachelle Vergel de Dios Sep 12, 2007
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    After calling this company 3 times and trying to straighten out this fraudmisidentity - I like others on this posting have had no luck. They also offered a settlement for half or to go to their website to dispute which I was unable to do as well. I have never lived in the address on the bill and never had an account with Verizon as well, yet we receive a bill that keeps being sent to us for $301.84. If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know so I can finally get this straightened out. Thanks!

    0 Votes
  • Ni
    Nick Cassidy Sep 23, 2007
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Just received a letter from Afni about a phone bill with Verizon from 1998. The bill was never in my name and I lived with my college roommates for about a month. My friend went through this same ordeal about six years ago over the same bill. He paid it, and now they have contacted me. If anyone has any suggestions on what I should do, please email me. I have always paid my bills, but this is obviously a corrupt practice.

    0 Votes
  • Aa
    Aaron S Sep 24, 2007
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    On 21 September 2007 I received a letter with a huge black "Collections Notice" on top of it from Afni Collections that says I owe Verizon Northwest, inc. $87.70 for a disconnected phone I never had! I called Verizon first thing and they had never had my name connected to the number Afni says I owe on and after checking my SSN to see if I was tied to ANY Verizon records at ALL, Verizon let me know that I am, in fact, NOT tied to anything in their system whatsoever and owe them NOTHING.

    After calling AFNI I received a message that "because of hold times in excess of 30 minutes they were 'not taking calls' but I could log onto their website and 'schedule a time for someone to call me back (yeah, right!!!)

    From there I looked them up on Google (after browsing their site and realizing that the Afni website wanted a *little* too much information from me) I saw hundreds of complaints similar to mine from other consumers on this site and [redacted].com.

    From there I got my wife to pull my credit report (works at a bank) and they haven't even reported it to any of the credit unions. You know what this means? FRAUD.

    I am going to try and contact them, but if they do not respond I will contact my lawyer first thing, no messing around with these jokers. I encourage other consumers to do the same as well.

    Good luck and DO NOT GIVE THESE PEOPLE MONEY.

    0 Votes
  • Da
    Daniel D. Silva JR Oct 02, 2007
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I received a notice that I owed Verizon $49.05 for a GTE phone bill from 1993. At first I was going to pay the debt until I found this web site. I am not going to pay this because I have had GTE phone service since then and afni can not give me any paper work for the debt. I'll be getting in touch with all the credit reporting companies to get any help with this if it goes on my credit report.

    0 Votes
  • Ri
    Richard Baxter Oct 10, 2007
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I received a collection notice from Afni for $39.00 for the year 1998, phone No. [protected]. From 1998 till 2003. I lived in Palm Desert and my phone was with Verizon, phone No. [protected]. In this 5 years you would think Verizon would have billed me if I owed them anything!

    This is the first time I have received anything on this matter. I talked to a Rep. of Afni & told them I had never received a bill for this in 9 years. She replied there was 2 collection agency''s before them. I asked who they were so I could check with them. she answered "we can not divulge this information. So I told them to take us to court. She replied - We don't do court, we report to the credit agency every month. This sounds like blackmail to me. I do not believe I owe this money, but they are trying to prevent me from disputing it.

    0 Votes
  • An
    Andrea Oct 20, 2007
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I could not believe the letter when I recieved it from Afni Collection Agency.

    This bill is from 1992. I didnt even bother to argue, what for? I owed the debt, Why did it have to take 20 years to collect. This debtwas not reported either. Is Verizon in trouble that they have to start begging for money from 20 years ago?

    0 Votes
  • Ch
    Christina Konig Nov 07, 2007
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Today I received a bill from AFNI collecting $40.00 for a debt that according to them I owe Verizon from 10 years ago. I have been a customer of Verizon for 15 years and have paid every bill I owed to them. When I called the number on the letter I was treated very rudely by Adam and was threatened to make a payment or else I would get in a lot of trouble. I told him I would not give in to his demands and would be disputing this with the BBB and the credit report agencies. Oddly enough, while investigating this company I came across this website and was blown away by the amount of similar complaints.

    0 Votes
  • Da
    David Sheldon Nov 15, 2007
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    My wife is having the same problem with them from 1998 a phone bill with the wrong number and never sent a bill from verizon. I called a lawyer after they said they didn't have to provide any information. I called them back after he talked to them and they will be sending us the information they have. By state law they have to send you the info is what I've been told. I live in PA. My wifes bill is for $98 with no phone calls from the phone just the charge for the phone being on.If this turns out to be a false bill we are reporting them and Verizon to the Better Business Burrow for fraud and harassment. You should do the same, maybe we can get them to shut them down.

    0 Votes
  • Ch
    christi wimberley Jan 23, 2008
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    THIS COMPANY CONTACTED ME ON A BILL FROM 1997 ON A PHONE BILL. COULD NOT GIVE ME THE PHONE NUMBER ON THE ACCOUNT. I JUST WASTN'T PAYING ON SOMETHING THAT NO WAY COULD BE MINE BUT WOULD LIKE TO KNOW WHAT TO DO WORRIED IT WAS A SCAM. THANKS

    0 Votes
  • Vi
    vickie Feb 29, 2008
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Computer cam on and asked for my daughter-in-law by her maiden name and said he was Marlin. hen he asked where she was, did she have a phone, when she would be back, and was this a good number. The funny thing is that shes never lived here.

    0 Votes
  • An
    angry customer Mar 25, 2008

    hello - same situation here with afni for a bell atlantic bill that was disputed and removed from my credit from 1998 - they are not allowed to 're-age' debt and the statute of limitations runs out after 7 years on such debt.

    send them a 'cease and desist' letter - everyone should know their rights and that you DO NOT have to deal with third party collectors. scare tactics should not let them get to you - sending them all 'cease and desist' letters would hopefully put them all out of business!:

    http://www.moodyreview.com/files/Cease%20and%20Desist%20Sample%20Letter.doc

    ask them for their fax number and the account number they have on file and fax the letter to them. this way you have a fax confirmation as proof. when you tell them you're going to fax a 'cease and desist' letter, they will say 'oh...' and hang up. if they contact you again after that, file a complaint with the ftc!:

    https://rn.ftc.gov/pls/dod/wsolcq$.startup?Z_ORG_CODE=PU01

    Good luck!

    0 Votes
  • Ph
    phil Mar 31, 2008
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Fill out a complaint form with the Attorney Generals Office, Consumer Affairs Division Washington D.C.. I did against AT&T and they got right on it and I won. I just did the same with AFNI who is blackmailing me for a debt I never owed with Nextel. Nextel kept my security deposit, as I agreed, for a closing balance of the same. AFNI comes around many years later stating I never paid, yet they have no record of my account transactions. They ruined my credit report and threatened me about doing so in advance. FRAUD and BLACKMAIL. Maybe we can get a class action suit going and knock them out of business for good!

    0 Votes
  • Br
    Brenda Alexander Apr 21, 2008
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I was checking my bank statement and I found that AFNI, Inc. has taken out $144.00 without my knowledge. I did ot even know what it was til I asked my bank. This is fraud and stealing. Who else can I report this to.

    0 Votes
  • Pa
    Patrick J. Navin Apr 26, 2008
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I noticed on my Credit File charges from AFNI and I had never seen them before. I sent a letter to them regarding this and their response was they can not investigate until I provide sufficient information to them regarding the complaint. I have no information regarding it, that is why I ask. It is crazy that they can report something and then when you ask what is was ask you to explain the bill.

    0 Votes
  • Co
    Concerned Jul 01, 2008
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    This company continues to insist I owe verizon money almost 700.00. I asked then to investigate and they refused and told me to pay in full in order to clarify anything... Rip offs!!!

    0 Votes
  • Co
    Coteek Jul 11, 2008

    These people have purchased old debts penny on a dollar and trying to make a profit. Verizon took over a lot of small companies like MCI and Bell Atlantic on the East Cost and if you ever had any services with them and owed money your name is on Afni's list. The debt is valid only for 7 years and what Afni is doing is illegal. If enough people will get together to sue them they will be out of business.

    0 Votes
  • Co
    Coteek Jul 11, 2008

    Your bank is at fault and they have to return your money. Close the account and change banks!

    0 Votes
  • Io
    iowaaudit Aug 09, 2008
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I receive one of these bogus collection notices as well. I have notified our attorney general's consumer affairs division to handle.

    0 Votes
  • Valerie Nov 20, 2008

    I just received a collection notice for an alleged phone bill from QWEST. This is a totally bogus collection attempt for a phone number from 7 years ago. I have read other such postings on this site. How can these people get by with this? I'll be checking my credit reports and if this is posted on them, will write to get it removed.

    0 Votes
  • Bi
    Billy Rutherford Nov 20, 2008
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    It is all a fraud, I have never had a account with Qwest, Just how many people are getting ripped off by this company?

    0 Votes
  • Su
    Susan Feb 20, 2009

    I received a bill from afni saying that I owed Verizon money for a phone number I no longer have. And had no outstanding balance. They stated that they would accept half of the 130.00 balance if I paid online or credit card by mail.

    0 Votes
  • Ar
    aree197856 Mar 15, 2009

    Checked my mail today and i have received 2 seperate pieces of mail from this copany claiming i owe money on two phone numbers i have never even had. After reading about this company i know know they are a fraud and i will not ne sending them a dime of money for anything they "claim" i owe.

    0 Votes
  • Ch
    Chan Johnson Jul 24, 2009

    I paid them everything they stated that I owed them, I have receipts for these pmts, hopefully they are legitimate, I asked one of there representatives if that was all that I owed and that was back in March, low and behold here comes July and they claimed I owed them another $100, what is this, please help. The # that I have for them is [protected], thanks

    0 Votes
  • Ir
    irishpc Aug 21, 2009

    I have received a collection letter from afni, inc for a verizon bill dated 1996. I do not have any past bills. I have good credit and plan to keep it that way in spite of the recession. It seems with people having the same problem from Verizon dated 1996, is a bit peculiar. Afni needs to be stopped.

    0 Votes
  • Re
    regangusler Aug 22, 2009

    I receievd a collection notice on an old phone number asking for payment from a company I have never heard of or done business with. Haven't lived there or had that phone number in well over 3 years and haven't ever receieved a overdue bill or collection notice before today.

    0 Votes
  • Li
    Liz Hosko Sep 04, 2009

    This company keeps calling my son house regarding his father, my ex-husband. When they call they are also using my first name ( I no longer have my married name). I tried calling this company to see what the collections was about and they couldn't give me any info. I am worried about my credit for in my divorce decree my ex was ordered to pay an outstanding debt on a credit card. I can not get anywhere with this company. What can I do?

    0 Votes
  • Do
    DonYo770 Oct 27, 2009

    Harassing phones calls & letters from a charge that I don't believe its mine or I paid/setled or is over 10 yrs old. I pull my credit every yr and this charge has not comed up ever. After readingall of the consumer complaints about this company someone needs to stop aginst there ilegal colection practices.
    This is redicules that i have to spend my time and energy on this ilegal collection practice that is going on.

    0 Votes
  • Dv
    DV Miller Feb 23, 2010

    I recieved a collection letter from Afni, Inc. saying my husband owed AT&T Mobility $673.50 and that Afni would settle for $50.00. My husband is deceased. I contacted AT&T, and my account is current, which I knew it was. I could not get an answer when I called the 800 number on the collection letter. I filed a somplaint with the AG of Missouri.

    0 Votes
  • Dx
    dxabc May 14, 2010

    verizon was around in 1992?

    0 Votes
  • Dx
    dxabc May 14, 2010

    yeah! me too with the Qwest! from a similar age ago!
    do we need to tell Qwest? were they going to let you off at half-price?
    did you try to call or web and get asked for the last four of the SSN right off? by both?
    stink gets worse and worse more I read!
    stinks like phishing I say!

    0 Votes
  • Sm
    SMILIE183 Jul 27, 2010

    I WRITING TO REPORT THAT IAM A VICTIM OF IDENTITY THEFT AND I NEVER EVER GAVE ANYONE PERMISSION TO OPEN ANY COUNT UNDER MY NAME I HAVE A POLICE REPORT SO I WOULD LIKE TO HAVE SOMEONE CALL ME WITH THIS MATTER MY # IS [protected] MY NAME IS ANGELA MERCADO

    0 Votes
  • Ff
    ffonobp Jul 27, 2010
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Same here.

    0 Votes
  • Da
    Darek Sep 19, 2010
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    If there a possibility of getting a refund from AFNI? A letter came in 1/16/10 for balance due of 398.41 and another letter came in 3/1/2010 about slashing it down to 199.21 to settle the debt. HOWEVER, its already been paid for 398.41, any possibility of getting a refund for the difference? Any advice? would be appreciated.

    0 Votes
  • Je
    jesseka Nov 05, 2010

    Afni collections is attempting to collect money from me for a 9 year old phone bill from T-Mobile. They say I owe 173.24 for a phone account I never had. T Mobile has never attempted to bill me for this amount.

    0 Votes
  • Wa
    walter craft Feb 15, 2011

    i got a bill from them saying i owe a bill from t mobile 9i never had t moble play the last time they sent me a bill i payed and and found out it was my son bill and i called them and the7y told em they will reinbuse me and send me the money well i never got the money back

    0 Votes

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