Credit can be tricky. One misstep or emergency can cause you to max out cards and rack up debt. If debt goes unpaid, it may be sent to collections. And then, the collection agency calls start.
However, there are other circumstances that can cause a collection company to call you. You may be receiving calls in error or they may be attempting to collect on debt beyond the statute of limitations.
If you’ve been receiving phone calls from Enhanced Recovery Company, LLC, also known as ERC collections, your original creditor may have reached out to them to contact you. If you know there is no reason for it, there are important steps to follow to get the calls to stop and the negative mark removed from your credit report.
Enhanced Recovery Company (ERC) is a debt collection agency. Creditors or other debt collectors contract ERC to pursue outstanding debts. Like other collection companies, they do this by reaching out to the account holder in question. Often, this is done via phone calls and letters.
They could be reaching out for any unpaid or outstanding debt. Telephone debt, utility bills, and other debts to financial institutions are the most common.
ERC Collections is located in Jacksonville, Florida. If you should need to contact ERC for disputes or further questions, their contact information is as follows:
ERC will attempt to collect a debt after attempts by the original creditor (and even other collection agencies) have gone ignored.
According to the company’s own statements, ERC doesn’t own any of the debt in question. Instead, they are “contracted by creditors and debt purchasers for [their] services and maintain necessary business and collection agency licenses.”
ERC collects debts from a wide variety of lenders, including:
ERC lists itself as an international business process (BPO). It is also described as providing service for every step of the “customer lifecycle.” But ERC is a legitimate debt collection agency.
It is not a scam. They are associated with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. They are one of the largest collectors of phone debt.
The ERC also has several enhanced resource centers located around the world.
ERC-owned accounts may appear on your credit report under different names. These include:
Their accounts have shown up under other, similar versions of these names as well. Any collection account with a name containing “ERC” or “Enhanced” is most likely ERC.
If you believe an ERC-owned account is showing up on your credit report in error, there are ways to get it removed. It may have appeared there because of a clerical error or due to instances of identity theft. If the debt is accurate, you won’t be able to get it removed. However, in extenuating circumstances like serious health issues, a collection agency may accommodate a pay for delete letter.
From debt verification to a goodwill request, here are four options for removing ERC from your credit report.
First, make sure the debt collector provides a debt validation letter, which outlines how much you owe and who the original creditor was. This will verify that the debt in question is still within the statute of limitations and doesn’t fall outside of the legal time limits. As stated in the Federal Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA), collections can not be pursued if an account is outside its seven-year reporting period.
If they did not send you a debt validation letter, send them a debt verification letter within 30 days of first contact. This assures you the agency can prove you owe the debt. (A letter you send seeking information about your debt is a debt verification letter. This is distinct from a debt validation letter, which comes from the debt collector and provides information to you.)
You should also check your credit reports from all three of the major bureaus. If you think the collection agency made an error on your credit report, dispute the debt. ERC offers an online form for disputing a debt, or you can do it over the phone at 800-383-5979.
If you’re being contacted about a debt you know is invalid, reach out to the three main credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) and file a dispute letter. This can be done online, by mail, or over the phone. Once you file a dispute, the credit bureaus must take legal action to verify the debt. They begin by contacting the collection company directly.
Depending on the state in which you live, the bureau will give the company a certain amount of time to respond with verified information. This is typically 30 days, but some states like Maine require the process to be completed within 21 days.
If the debt is verified, the collection will remain on your credit report. If the debt can’t be verified, the items in question will be updated or deleted. Also, the items will be deleted if the collection company doesn’t respond within the allotted time.
Alternatively, there will be situations where the debt is real. In the event of the existence of a legitimate debt that’s gone to collections, you can submit a pay-for-delete letter to ERC. This letter states your offer to repay all or part of the debt. This is done in exchange for the collection agency removing the collection account from your credit report.
Technically, ERC has no obligation to respond to the letter’s request. Many collection companies will refuse to deal with pay-for-delete letters. However, there are circumstances in which a pay-for-delete letter might work. These include:
These forms of debt are easier to remove from a credit report. Because of this, ERC might be more amenable to going through the process of removing a debt of these types, compared to mortgage or car loan debt.
Once you submit the letter, you will have to wait for ERC to respond. If they respond and agree to your request, make sure the letter states the exact terms of the agreement. It should explicitly state their acceptance of the offer and how they will accept payment.
If they don’t respond, that is technically their response. If you haven’t heard back in a reasonable amount of time (30 days or more), then your pay-for-delete request has likely been denied.
If a debt is valid and you cannot pay it, you can submit a goodwill letter to ERC. This request asks them to remove negative marks from your credit report.
Goodwill requests should be used when there have been extenuating financial circumstances. Often, various forms of financial hardship are to blame, such as a serious health issue or the loss of a job. Be sure to indicate this in the request. Explain what happened that caused the account to be neglected.
These requests are meant to be respectful. Be sure to acknowledge the missed payments that led to the delinquency. Explain why it happened, and elaborate on why and how it won’t happen again. This can include highlighting new employment or other signs of financial security.
Like pay-for-delete letters, goodwill requests won’t always work. However, once the debt has been validated and confirmed to be yours, it can be a smart first step.
Whenever you’re dealing with a collection company, discretion and civility is key. With that in mind, ERC is no stranger to consumer complaints. In fact, it has a history of thousands of complaints from financial institutions.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has over 7,000 consumer complaints registered against ERC. And the Better Business Bureau lists over 1,000 complaints. The majority of these complaints are about billing and servicing. However, some mention problems with the company itself.
Common complaints cite a failure to deliver debt verification letters and other debt documentation. Excessive calling was another common complaint.
Enhanced Recovery Company is a legitimate debt collector. They indicate that they aren’t a debt buying agency. They act as a contractor for other creditors pursuing a debt, but they have the right to pursue the debt nonetheless.
If you find yourself with an unknown ERC account on your credit report, don’t panic. Verify that the debt belongs to you. From there, follow the appropriate steps listed above. Stay on top of your credit, and monitor your credit reports to be sure you spot problems as soon as possible.
Ana Gonzalez-Ribeiro, MBA, AFC® is an Accredited Financial Counselor® and a Bilingual Personal Finance Writer and Educator dedicated to helping populations that need financial literacy and counseling. Her informative articles have been published in various news outlets and websites including Huffington Post, Fidelity, Fox Business News, MSN and Yahoo Finance. She also founded the personal financial and motivational site www.AcetheJourney.com and translated into Spanish the book, Financial Advice for Blue Collar America by Kathryn B. Hauer, CFP. Ana teaches Spanish or English personal finance courses on behalf of the W!SE (Working In Support of Education) program has taught workshops for nonprofits in NYC.
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