Incorrect information on your credit report can prevent you from being approved for a loan or credit card. It’s a good idea to check your credit report at least once a year.
When checking their credit reports, some people might see CBE Group listed as a “collections” account. An account in collections showing on your credit report can put a blight on your credit profile.
If you find your credit report contains a false or erroneous “collection account” debt from the CBE Group, you can take steps to remove it.
The CBE Group markets itself as a call service center, but it’s essentially a debt collection agency.
If you see the CBE Group listed on your credit report, you should see the following contact information:
- Headquarters: 1309 Technology Pkwy., Cedar Falls, Iowa 50613
- Website: cbegroup.com
- Phone number: 1-800-925-6686
Debt items from the CBE Group may appear on your credit report under these names:
No information is readily available for what “CBE” stands for, but here’s some information about the company:
CBE Group is a subsidiary of CBE Companies (cbecompanies.com) and employs about 1,500 people. Its headquarters are in Cedar Falls, Iowa, with other call centers located in New Braunfels, Texas; Overland Park, Kansas; and Manila, Philippines. CBE recently announced opening another operational center in Clarksville, Tennessee, which will add 500 jobs.
Many wonder if the CBE Group is a scam. It turns out they’re a legit organization that performs first- and third-party collections for both private companies and government entities, including the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
If CBE Group is calling you, they believe that somewhere in your payment history, you owe a debt. Types of debt the agency collects include government, higher education, healthcare, utilities and telecommunications.
For instance, you might owe money from an ER visit, have forgotten to pay your cable bill, skipped a student loan payment, or fallen behind on your tax debt. (Or, you might not have done any of those things — and we’ll get to that later.)
Any of those debts and others may be passed to CBE Group by the original party. CBE Group collects for both private businesses and government entities.
It’s important to note that the CBE Group is one of only four private collection agencies partnered with the IRS to collect overdue federal taxes. This sets them apart from most other collection agencies.
Unlike most other debt collectors, partnership with the IRS gives the CBE Group authority to call you by telephone and empowers them to pursue collections more aggressively than other collection agencies.
Depending on your situation, there are several steps you can take to try removing a collections account or erroneous debt from your credit report, including items from the CBE Group.
If you’ve paid the debt or have been making consistent good-faith payments, try asking the debt collector to remove the collections item from your credit report out of goodwill. You can write a “goodwill letter” to the original creditor, the CBE Group, or both.
Be polite, concise and clear on what you’re asking and why. For instance, if you’re trying to buy a house and this debt item is causing a mortgage denial, tell them that. Elaborate on how the credit blemish may negatively affect your current credit standing. Try to include a convincing explanation of why your original debt was unpaid due to extenuating circumstances.
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, credit bureaus are required to correct errors that hurt your credit score. Sending a letter can increase your chances of the false debt item being removed. It’s definitely an area where you want a paper trail. Be sure to dispute in writing as opposed to calling or filling out online forms.
One of the easiest methods to remove CBE Group from your credit report is to dispute its claim by asking for validation. If it’s been less than 30 days since the first collection effort, request proof of the debt from the collections agency.
If you missed the 30-day window to dispute the debt, or CBE Group was able to validate it, you may be able to pay and negotiate with them for the item’s deletion.
But before you agree to pay the full amount, try to negotiate a lower payment. Sometimes, collection agencies accept a fraction of the overall debt to settle it.
Once the agency is satisfied that you’ll pay the debt, you can then try to negotiate the item’s removal from your credit report. Again, get everything in writing. If they agree to the removal, the item should fall off your report in about a month. If not, contact the collector again.
Know that getting a paid debt deleted from your credit report is not automatic once you pay; you have to ask for it to be done. Also keep in mind that this is not a guaranteed solution.
The CBE Group has had 225 complaints lodged against it in the last three years, according to the Better Business Bureau. Here’s how those numbers break down:
The CBE Group does actively respond to complaints made by consumers on the BBB website, and its responses can be viewed publicly.
Under the law, debt collectors are not allowed to violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) in any way. Profanity, threat of arrest and harassing you through repetitive calls are all illegal practices under federal law.
Agencies also cannot lie to you about any information. By law, they must reveal who they are, who the creditor is and the true amount of debt owed.
Other common complaints lodged against debt collectors include attempts to collect time-barred debt, which has outlasted its statute of limitations and can no longer legally be pursued.
Plaintiffs also cited the failure to notify debtors of their debt before attempting to collect it, as well as attempts to collect erroneous debt — for instance, debt that belongs to someone else, has been paid but not recorded correctly or contains other errors that render it invalid.
Collectors also are not allowed to tack on interest, fees, or other extra charges related to the original debt.
As a consumer, you have legal rights. If the CBE Group or another debt collector is contacting you, be sure they are following rules set by the FDCPA. Remember, you’re also lawfully entitled to a free credit report from the three primary credit reporting bureaus.
PR Newswire. “CBE Companies Announces Plans to Bring 500 Jobs to Clarksville,” https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/cbe-companies-announces-plans-to-bring-500-jobs-to-clarksville-301196498.html. Accessed April 16, 2021.
Better Business Bureau. “The CBE Group Inc.,” https://www.bbb.org/us/ia/cedar-falls/profile/collections-agencies/the-c-b-e-group-inc-0664-100794. Accessed April 16, 2021.
CBE Group. “IRS Private Debt Collection Program,” https://www.cbecompanies.com/irs. Accessed April 16, 2021.
Federal Trade Commission. “Debt Collection FAQs,” https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/debt-collection-faqs. Accessed April 16, 2021.
The Balance. “State-by-State List of Statute of Limitations on Debt,” https://www.thebalance.com/state-by-state-list-of-statute-of-limitations-on-debt-960881. Accessed April 28, 2021.
Federal Trade Commission. “Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C § 1681,” https://www.ftc.gov/system/files/documents/statutes/fair-credit-reporting-act/545a_fair-credit-reporting-act-0918.pdf. Accessed April 16, 2021.
Federal Trade Commission. “Don’t recognize that debt? Here’s what to do,”
https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2015/12/dont-recognize-debt-heres-what-do. Accessed April 28, 2021.
Federal Trade Commission. “Fair Debt Collection Practices Act,” https://www.ftc.gov/enforcement/rules/rulemaking-regulatory-reform-proceedings/fair-debt-collection-practices-act-text. Accessed April 16, 2021.
Lauren Bringle is an Accredited Financial Counselor® with Self Financial – a financial technology company with a mission to increase economic inclusion by helping people build credit and savings. Connect with her on Linkedin or Twitter.