If you defaulted on a medical debt or other insurance-related debt, you may hear from First Financial Asset Management. They are a debt collection company that helps healthcare and other companies get paid when they have been unsuccessful.
If you’re hearing from First Financial Asset Management or they are on your credit report, time is of the essence. The longer they sit on your credit report, the more damage it does to your credit score. Collections make you look irresponsible and make it hard for your credit score to increase.
So how do you remove First Financial Asset Management from your credit report? Here are the simple steps.
Validate the Debt
First, validate the debt. If FFAM can’t validate the questions, they can’t have a spot on your credit report – it’s that simple.
When you ask for debt validation, do it in writing. Just a simple letter to them asking about the debt is all you need. Here are a few questions to ask:
- Who is the original creditor?
- What was the original balance?
- What’s the balance today?
- What’s the date of the service?
- When did this get sent to your company?
- Do you have the right to operate in my state?
If FFAM can’t answer these questions, they must remove the debt from your credit report – it’s the law. The trick, however, is that you have only 30 days to do this from the date they first contact you. If you miss this chance, you can’t validate the debt and must resort to disputing it, which we discuss below.
Dispute the Debt
You can dispute the debt with the credit bureaus reporting it. Again, you have this right under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
You can dispute any errors or unfair information. If you don’t think the debt belongs to you or you found errors in the reporting, write the credit bureau a letter stating what you think is wrong.
The credit bureau has 30 days to respond to what you stated. If they can’t prove otherwise, they must remove the debt from your credit report. If they side with FFAM, though, it will remain on your credit report.
Whether you dispute or validate the debt, you will likely still owe it because it doesn’t erase the liability. It just erases the debt from your credit report which is important if you’re trying to build your credit up again.
Next, you’ll need a payment arrangement. If you haven’t removed First Financial Asset Management from your credit report yet, you can include a pay-for-delete in your arrangement.
Arranging a Pay-for-Delete
A pay-for-delete arrangement means you make a payment arrangement or settlement amount and FFAM agrees to remove the debt from your credit report once you settle it.
Why is this important?
Collections stay on your credit report for 7 years. That’s a long time to sit there and hurt your credit and chances of future credit. Even after you pay it, the debt remains there. If you ask FFAM to remove it after you pay it, they may be willing to do so, but get the agreement in writing.
In your efforts to negotiate, don’t forget to negotiate the amount you pay. FFAM bought your debt for less than it’s worth so you don’t have to pay the full amount. Think about what you can afford and make an offer (lowball it if you can). They will likely counteroffer what you suggest at first, so leave room for them to increase it a bit.
Once you make your last payment to them, remind them of their agreement to remove it from your credit report. In 30 to 60 days, pull your credit and make sure they removed it. If you find them still on your credit report, write a dispute letter to the credit bureau and have it removed.
Leaving First Financial Asset Management on your credit report is never a good move. Whether it belongs to you or not, it’s important to remove it right away. Collections hurt your credit score significantly and they hurt your chances of getting future credit.
Fortunately, the Fair Credit Reporting Act is on your side and will back you up should you need help. You can validate and dispute the debt. If that doesn’t work because everything they reported is legit, work with them on a pay-for-delete agreement so you can get it off your credit report and increase your credit score again.