AFNI is a medium-sized debt collection agency that buys debt from lenders and creditors. It is used by AT&T, the broadband connectivity provider, to collect seriously delinquent debts. The agency may appear on your credit reports as any of the following: “afni inc,””afni inc collections,””afni com,””afni peoria il,” or “afni collections at&t.”
Collection agencies, such as AFNI, make money off of lenders or creditors that have given up chasing down past-due funds. Instead, lending institutions place charge-offs on individuals’ credit reports. Collection agencies are thought of as the middleman between borrowers and banks, credit card issuers, or personal loan lenders.
Charge-offs typically occur only after borrowers miss multiple payments. Keep in mind that payment is still owed even after the bill has gone to collections. Instead of paying your lender or creditor, you now must pay the collection agency — in this case, AFNI.
If you see a notice from AFNI, or any collection agency for that matter, make sure to stay on top of it. A collections account is not a good sign. It can damage your credit score and stay on your reports for up to about seven years.
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What Does AFNI Stand For?
AFNI stands for Anderson Financial Network Inc. It is part of the Financial Planners & Investment Advisors Industry. The agency is headquartered in Bloomington, Illinois. Their mailing address is as follows:
PO Box 3097
Bloomington, IL 61702-3427.
According to the Better Business Bureau, AFNI has received over 400 complaints, and counting, in the last three years alone. Complaints typically concern inaccurate reporting and/or a lack of response to debt-verification requests.
What to Do if You See AFNI on Your Credit Reports
Working with a collection agency can be stressful. But taking action is the best way to alleviate any feelings of frustration, stress, or fear.
Consider the following steps when talking to a collection agency:
Verify if It’s Legitimate
You need to verify the legitimacy of both the agency and of the debt before taking any other action. Although AFNI is a real company, it is always possible that an illegitimate collection agency may contact you as well.
Below are a few tactics that can help verify whether a collection agency is legitimate:
- You receive a letter in the mail: Legitimate debt collectors will never call you without also sending a letter. If you’ve received a call from a collection agency, check your mailbox. Don’t take any action until you’ve received a physical letter in the mail.
- It’s important to always communicate with collectors via writing, rather than by phone. Leaving a paper trail makes it harder for debt collectors to go back on their promises.
- You receive contact information: Legitimate debt collectors will provide you with their contact information — such as the company’s name, phone number, and address. Do not discuss any personal or debt-related details with a company that refuses to share this information. A lack of transparency is an automatic red flag.
- You receive other information about the debt: Legitimate debt collectors will also provide you with information about the debt. Companies that won’t share details regarding the debt, or ones that berate or threaten you, are serious causes of concern — do not discuss personal or debt-related details with them.
It is always possible that a real agency is contacting you, but that the debt isn’t yours. If you believe they’re trying to collect on a debt that they cannot collect on, send the agency a debt validation letter. This demands that they prove the debt is yours.
Pay It Off
After verifying that the debt is truly yours, it is time to pay it off. Remember that paying it off will not remove the collection from your account. It will only update the collection account to reflect a zero balance.
Speak to a Credit Counselor
If you need assistance throughout any of the processes, speak to a credit counselor. Make sure to search for one that is accredited by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.
There are many ways in which a credit counselor can help — such as assisting you with rebuilding your credit, removing collections from your credit report, and creating a plan to manage your debt. Legitimate credit repair companies may also save you money by negotiating for lowered interest rates and reduced monthly payments on your behalf.
How to Remove AFNI From Your Credit Reports
If you were given someone else’s debt, you will likely be able to get it removed from your credit reports. However, removing debts that are yours is not as easily done.
For debts that you’ve paid off, one option is goodwill deletion. Simply write the collector a letter that states your reasons for needing the debt deleted — such as if you’re taking out a mortgage. Keep in mind that a goodwill deletion letter isn’t guaranteed to work. It is, however, a simple step to take in trying to erase a source of credit score damage.
Will AFNI Sue Me or Garnish My Wages?
Collection agencies can sue you, but will only do so if you owe a large amount of debt. The same goes for garnishing your wages. Both require taking legal action. Collection agencies will not sue nor garnish your wages if you owe only a small debt.
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