My husband and I applied for a mortgage loan last week. After receiving our credit report, our lender notified us that there were two new collection accounts. Both share the exact same account number, one had been opened in 7/08 and was delinquent as of 11/08, and another that reported no open date and a last activity date of 10/04 on our report. We did not recognize the creditor and have not acquired any new revolving or installment accounts in several years. In the notation field on the report, both accounts stated "Verizon".
On behalf of my husband, I first called Verizon to verify the name and SS# on the account. They were able to verify that it indeed was in his name, the account's telephone number, that it was a landline, and that the account had been closed in 10/04. They were unable to provide further information and directed me to call AFNI.
I contacted AFNI Inc in order to obtain a copy of the original creditor's final statement to validate the debt. When I asked for a copy of the original creditors bill, the gentleman who answered replied with "Are you calling to take care of this debt". I stated that we might consider it if he could provide us with a copy of the original bill. The gentleman stated that he was unable to send me a copy of the original creditor's final statement. I told him I could accept immediately by either fax or email. He refused. I stated that I needed a final bill to verify last activity date, because as it appears on the report, they have illegally re-aged the debt. He then stated that our lender "did not know how to read a credit report", insisted that AFNI's methods were legitimate, and again refused to send a copy of the original bill. In all, throughout the 3 minute phone call, I asked for an original copy of the bill 5-6 times. Finally I stated that I would contact my attorney and hung up.
I called Verizon back in hopes they would be able to provide the final statement of account, but their finance department told me that AFNI had purchased the debt and they were not legally able to provide documentation or further information on the original account.
I did extensive research on AFNI today, and among the thousands of consumer complaints, I also found a class-action lawsuit filed by Minnesota Attorney General's Office and a news report stating "Senator Owen Johnson has fired off a letter to Attorney General Andrew Cuomo asking Cuomo to probe "what appears to be an unfair debt collection act by Anderson Financial Network, Incorporated,' otherwise known as AFNI. The letter asks Cuomo to "investigate...to determine if AFNI is operating within the law.'"
We are in the process of seeking an attorney to represent us in a violation of the FCRA/FDCPA, violation of Michigan State Law, and Defamation of Character. I would be willing to join any other class-action litigation pending against AFNI.
Whatever you do, DO NOT provide them with any information if they state that YOU must validate YOUR information. Burden of proof lies with the collection agency to prove the debt as legitimate!
Flat Rock, Michigan