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FAQs and Debt Collection Info

General Information

Methods Accepted

1. Credit Cards

  • Cards with a Visa or MasterCard logo are accepted.
  • We do not presently accept American Express or Discover Cards.

Click here for more information.

2. Debit Cards as well as prepaid Debit Cards which have a Visa or MasterCard logo.

  • So long as your debit card has a Visa or MasterCard logo, we can accept it.

3. Check or Card by Mail.

If you are sending in a payment by mail, click here for additional instructions.

  • Please review the additional instructions thoroughly to ensure that your payment is received and posted to your account as soon as it is received by us.
  • You may choose to send the payments via regular mail, Priority Mail, or Express Mail.
    • Be sure to supply enough information for us to be able to locate your account, such as your full name, address, ERC® assigned file number, or Original Creditor assigned Account Number, Etc. Click Additional Instructions for more information.

4. Money Orders by Mail.

If you are sending in a Money order by mail, click here for see additional instructions.

  • Please review the additional instructions thoroughly to ensure that your payment is received and posted to your account as soon as it is received by us.
  • You may choose to send the payments via regular mail, Priority Mail, or Express Mail.
    • Be sure to supply enough information for us to be able to locate your account, such as your full name, address, ERC® assigned file number, or Original Creditor assigned Account Number, Etc. Click Additional Instructions for more information.

5. To Pay Online.

Here is a quick overview of how to use the self-service portal to pay online via your phone, desktop, or tablet.

  1. Access the Self-Service Portal: http://ssp.ercbpo.com
  2. Log in using “Reference Number” (This is your ERC® assigned File Number, located on any letter in which we have sent to you.) and “Last four of your SSN”
    –  Click Sign In
    –  If you have previously enrolled, sign into your account, skip steps 3 & 4
  3. If this is your first time signing into your account, the next screen will prompt you to create a username and password.
  4. Next, the site will prompt you to verify your personal information on file. If the information is correct, click “Yes, take me to my account”, if it is not correct click “edit” and update your personal information.
    • If your information is not correct, we ask that you update it so that we may provide you with notices we may need to send you, via the U.S. Postal Service. You will also have the option to Opt. In to receive email alerts.
  5. After agreeing or updating your information you will be directed to your account.  On the right-hand side of the screen, you will see a button titled “Make a Payment”, click this option.
  6. There are currently two available plan options, however, we are regularly making updates to the Self-Service portal for better overall customer experience. The current options are Pay Total Amount Due or Make a One Time or Multiple Partial Payments toward your balance.
    • Please note, if you are logging on to pay a previously offered settlement offer you would choose the Make one or Multiple Partial Payments option.
  7. Once you have made your choice you will be prompted to provide payment details.  Once the payment details are provided, the system will move through the steps for you.  At the end of the payment process, you will come to the payment confirmation screen.
  8. On the confirmation page, please review your information and confirm your desired arrangement.

6. To Pay by Phone:

  • Call one of our representatives at 800-383-5979
  • We can accept payments over the phone with a Checking account, Credit Card, Debit, or Prepaid Debit Cards which have a Visa or MasterCard logo.

Click here for more information.

7. PayNearMe.

  • If you have a letter that was mailed to you with a payment slip, there may be an option (depending on creditor) to pay your debt at participating CVS Pharmacy and 7-Eleven Stores.
    • If you have one of these, please present only the barcode section of this remit slip to the clerk with your payment. There is no additional information or details necessary for the clerk to process the desired transaction amount.
    • Please note that these transactions may take up to 3 business days to post.
    • Subject to terms of use at www.paynearme.com.

Here is an example of the slip required: (This will likely be on the reverse side of any letter in which we may have mailed to you. If you do not have a letter, you can connect to our Self-Service Portal and if you know your reference number, you can log in to retrieve an electronic copy of your letter, or request a letter to be generated and emailed to you or uploaded to the Self-Service Portal for retrieval.)

Bills Online
8. ERC® accepts IBT (Interbank Transfer) Transactions Directly From Your Bank.

*ERC® is not responsible for any charges, by your bank, to send money via IBT. Charges for this service are from your bank and are not shared in any way with ERC®.)

  • To pay by IBT, your bank institution can help you thru this process and determine if there are any costs they charge for this service. They will ask you the below information.
  • ERC® Bank Address: (Not for mail-in payments. This information is for your bank)
    • Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.
      420 Montgomery Street
      San Francisco, CA 94104
  • Account Name:
    • ERC®, Enhanced Resource Center, or Enhanced Recovery Company.
  • Bank ABA Routing Number (withdrawals are not compatible)
    • 121000248
  • Bank Account Number (withdrawals are not compatible)
    • 4122077175
  • Swift Code – This is for International Wires
    • WFBIUS6S

9. Western Union Quick Collect (WUQC):

*ERC® is not responsible for any charges, by Western Union, to send money via Quick Collect. Charges for this service are from Western Union and are not shared in any way with ERC®.)

  • Western Union payments can be made online or at a location near you.
    • If you want to find the nearest WU location, click here.
    • To pay online through Western Union at the above website, select “pay bill” and select ERC® as the option under “receiver”.
    • Be sure to place the ERC® Reference Number where ever the account number is requested.

Example of online WU form:

Bills Online

To pay in person be sure to select the Blue and White Quick Collect form.

  • Example of the Quick Collect form:

When using these options be sure to place the ERC® Reference Number where the account number is requested.

  • The form also needs something called a “Code City”. Use the word “Domino”.
  • For the “Code State” use the letters  “FL”.


If you are mailing in a Check or Money Order payment, see below for additional important information:

  • Payment should be mailed to:
    • ERC® P.O. Box 23870, Jacksonville, FL 32241
      • If you are not sending a payment and instead are sending us correspondence, please use this mailing address: ERC® P.O. Box 57610, Jacksonville, Florida 32241
    • If you mailed your Dish Network payment to ERC®, we will forward it to them for processing. Please keep in mind that this will add a few additional days for processing before the payment is posted to your account and your balance updated.
    • Dish Network customers can send payments to:
      • Dish Network Dept. 0063 Palatine, IL 60055-0063
      • If you mailed the payment to ERC®, we will forward it to Dish Network, please keep in mind this will add a few additional days before your balance is updated.
  • Please ensure your Full Name is included.
  • Please place your Full Reference Number on the payment. The memo lines are perfect for this.
    • If you have your original account number, you may place that on your payment instead of the reference number.
  • Don’t forget to Sign your payment.
  • Don’t forget to Date your payment.
  • If possible, please include your current mailing address and current phone number. This will assist us if we are unable to locate your account and need to reach out to you.

Here is an example of a completed Check:

Here is an example of a completed Money Order:


Helpful information to avoid a payment being returned:

  • If you are writing a Dispute message with a payment or on the memo line, this may cause a conflict with our ability to post the payment. So if you would like to dispute any charges about your account, please let us know.
  • Please do not write any conditional language on your check or with our payment, also known as a restrictive endorsement. Doing so may cause your payment to be returned to you and not applied to your account.


For Checks or Money Orders:

  • Ensure the payee line is made out to “ERC®”, “Enhanced Resource Centers”, or “Enhanced Recovery Co”.
  • Ensure the amount in the numeric form matches the amount in the written form.
    • Your bank will only honor what is in the written out portion as the amount to pay.
  • Ensure checks are signed.
  • Ensure checks are dated correctly.

If you owe money to a creditor and are behind on your payments, it is likely that a debt collector will be contacting you. While it is perfectly legal for third-party collection agencies like ERC to attempt to contact you in regards to your debt, there are laws in place meant to protect consumers from harassment.

What is Considered Harassment?

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act outlines a set of regulations that debt collection agencies should follow in order to prevent harassment. Under this act, there are several restrictions for how and when these agencies should contact you including:

  • Not contacting you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
  • Not contacting you at work if you have requested this in writing.
  • Not harassing the debtor in any form including threats of harm, using obscene language, or repeated contact by phone in an effort to annoy the debtor.
  • Not making false statements or misleading the debtor about their identity or the debt.

Debt collectors should always notify you of their identity when you receive a call, and they are required to provide you with verification of the debt if requested. If you would like to find out more about the regulations outlined in the FDCPA, visit the Federal Trade Commission website.

Putting an End to Harassment

If you believe you have experienced a violation of any of the regulations listed above, there a few steps you can take to end harassment from a debt collector. First, you should contact the collection agency directly and ask them to stop contacting you. At ERC, we try to make this process as easy as possible by providing an online contact form with which you can make a complaint or request to be have your number removed from our sytem. If contacting the agency directly did not provide any results, your next step is to file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, your state’s Attorney General or the CFPB. The last two are government organizations that can enforce the laws outlined in the FDCPA and will assist you in dealing with debt collectors that have stepped out of line. Finally, in extreme cases there is the option to take legal action, but this should be a last resort. Dealing with any kind of lawsuit is time consuming, stressful, complicated and may end up costing your money.

Debt collection scams have become more prevalent over the years, cheating people out of their time, money and peace of mind. In these scenarios, a scam artist poses as a representative from a collection agency and tricks unsuspecting callers into giving them personal bank and financial information. There are some “red flags” you can watch out for to protect your personal information and bank account.


  1. The collector uses threats or harassment to get you to pay. If the call is from a true collection agency, they are required to follow the regulations outlined in the FDCPA to prevent debt collector harassment. If the collector seems abnormally abusive or throws around blatant threats of lawsuits or jail time, it is likely a scammer.
  2. The debt collector withholds information or refuses to answer questions about your debt. As the consumer, you have a right to ask for verification of the debt in question. If you do, the collection agency is required to confirm the debt with the original creditor and send you written verification through the mail.
  3. The collector will not provide you with a mailing address or business name. If you request the physical address or name of the collection agency they are calling from and the collector cannot or will not provide you with this information, this is a telling sign that the call is likely a scam.
  4. The debt collector demands immediate payment. Scammers often use the threatening tactics mentioned above to scare you into paying immediately. While it is true that debt collection agencies are looking for payment when they call, they will not usually threaten immediate punishment if payment is not made that day.

When dealing with collection agency scams, use your intuition. If something seems fishy, then it probably is. Legitimate agencies will always provide you with the information you need upfront, so don’t be afraid to ask the debt collector questions to keep your personal information and pocket book safe.

Please keep in mind however, that legitimate collection agencies are required to validate who they are speaking with in order to release information. This is to protect consumer data or the existence of a debt from being communicated to an unauthorized third party.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a piece of legislation meant to protect the consumer from unfair and illegal debt collection methods. Since 1978, this law has outlined the regulations and standards that all debt collection agencies should abide by. The act limits where and when a person can receive collection calls as well as prohibiting illegal and harassing behaviors such as:

  • Using threatening, profane or abusive language
  • Making continuous collection calls to annoy the debtor
  • Providing misleading or false information
  • Calling any time before 8:00am or after 9:00pm

Debt Collection & the FDCPA

Not only is the FDCPA meant to protect the consumer, it is also used as a measure to protect reputable collection agencies. The language in the act holds debt collectors accountable for their actions and restricts the use of dishonest collection practices such as:

  • Collecting any amount other than the specified debt
  • Depositing postdated checks and payments before they are marked to be collected
  • Threatening to take possession of property without the intention or right to do so

To find out more about the FDCPA and read the act in detail, please visit the Federal Trade Commission website. If you have been frustrated by debt collection efforts and believe that a collection agency has violated one of the rules mentioned above, make sure to read the guide ending debt collector harassment.

There are many myths about debt and how it affects a person’s credit. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has detailed information on their website. Check them out here. We’ve answered some of the most common questions on this subject below.

Is having debt bad for my credit score?

Not all debt is bad. If you keep your credit card balances low and make all your payments on time, you’ll be on your way to having a strong and healthy credit score. The flip side to this scenario is having lots of debt that you can’t afford to pay back and having your accounts fall into collections. When this happens, the negative marks that show up on your credit report can damage your score.

How long will negative marks remain on my credit report?

Negative marks such as missed payments or an account that has fallen into collections can remain on your credit report for around 7 years from the time of original delinquency. More serious delinquencies such as bankruptcy and unpaid tax liens may stay on your report for as long as 10 years.

If I pay off a debt, will it improve my credit score?

Paying off a debt that is in collections may not immediately improve your score. As noted above, collection accounts typically remain on a credit report for seven years from the time of the original delinquency before being removed. The negative effects may lessen over time however. While it may not immediately affect your credit score, it will likely show up with an annotation that the debt was “paid in full” allowing future lenders to have more confidence in your ability to pay back what you owe.

Will settling my debt help my credit score?

Many think closing an account, no matter how it is done, will show up as a positive on their credit report. In reality, settling a debt won’t do much for your credit score and may even cause it to drop a few points. If you think about it, a settlement is agreeing to pay less than you owe. While this may be the only option for some people to make their way out of debt; it makes you a higher risk to future lenders because according to your credit history, there is a possibility they won’t get paid back in full.

My account has fallen into collections, what can I do to get help?

While you cannot erase the mark on your credit, you can start working to improve your score. There are several financial management and credit counseling services out there that can help you develop a plan to get out of debt and learn how to manage your money effectively. You can also work with your creditors to create  a payment plan that fits into your budget. Paying off the money you owe and taking measures to make sure you do not fall into this situation again is the best thing you can do to improve your credit score.

For credit advice and answers, check out these resources from the three major credit bureaus:

Do you owe money to a creditor? If so, then you may have seen ads or read articles about filing a lawsuit against the debt collection agency. It seems as though lawyers across the nation are spending their marketing dollars trying to cash in on debt collection lawsuits. The reality is that these lawsuits take up both your time and money, yet most people end up seeing little in return. Before you consider filing a lawsuit, you should weigh the other options you have available to determine if it’s worth the time and risk.

3 Cons to Suing a Debt Collector:

  1. It may be Expensive – Taking on any type of lawsuit can be a pricey endeavor. The legal fees alone can eat up most of the reward you may be granted if you are able to win your case. If you lose, however, you may find yourself even further in debt and could be liable to pay the collection agency’s attorney fees.
  2. It’s Time Consuming – Debt collection lawsuits are typically filed in federal court under the FDCPA, a law regulating debt collection practices. Because these cases fall under federal jurisdiction, they can take months or even years to make it through the court system. Really consider if you’re willing to invest that much time and effort into pursuing a case that you may or may not win.
  3. There are Easier Ways – Under the FDCPA, there are several more cost effective options available to end harassment from a debt collector. In addition, many collection agencies are just looking to receive some sort of payment when they call and would be willing to work with you to develop a manageable payment plan.

It is a common misconception that the only negative consequence for not paying a collection agency is a poor credit score. The reality is that outstanding debt affects more than just your credit report and can even result in the creditor or collector taking legal action. While ERC does not engage in litigation to collect debts, according to the guidelines in the FDCPA it is within a collection agency’s rights to sue for your debt. If you currently owe money to a collection agency and want to avoid a costly lawsuit, try these alternatives:


  • Stop Ignoring the Collection Agency – Debt collection lawsuits are almost always preceded by multiple attempts to contact the consumer. If you owe money and are behind on your payments you will likely receive multiple letters, phone calls (unless you request to stop phone contact) and notices about your past due debt. If the collector is unable to reach you, it may force them to take more drastic measures in order to recover the money owed.
  • Pay Your Debt – Making any kind of payment towards your balance may help satisfy the collectors and creditors and prevent further action. Most times, the collection agencies and creditors are willing to work with you to come up with a payment plan that you can manage.
  • Negotiate a Settlement – If you have the means to pay a portion of your debt, you may be able to discuss a settlement with your debt collector. Sometimes collection agencies are able to take a lump sum payment of an amount that is less than the full balance of the debt.

Having a debt fall into collections can be scary; especially if you’re not sure you can afford to pay what you owe. Many people feel embarrassed when this happens and because of that they choose to avoid or ignore the calls and letters they receive from a collection agency. Out of sight out of mind, right? The good news is you’re not alone. According to a study conducted by the Urban Institute in 2014, “77 million Americans—35 percent of adults with credit files—have debt in collections”. For such a common problem, there has to be a better way to deal with it. Ignoring the debt won’t make it go away, but you can learn how to effectively and responsibly deal with debt collectors.


  1.  Understand that the debt collector is just doing their job. Collection agencies get a lot of criticism these days, but it is important to remember that the debt collector is a person just like you. They did not single you out to try and make your life difficult; they are just trying to do their job and provide for their family.
  2.  Know the law. Part of the reason debt collectors are under fire is because there are some less than ethical agencies out there that do not “follow the rules”. Make sure to read up on the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) to know what they can and can’t do. Knowing your rights will give you the power to stop debt collector harassment and assure that your debt is dealt with justly.
  3. Check the facts. If you do not recognize the debt in question or just want to confirm the amount owed, you have the right to ask for written verification. Upon request, the debt collector is required to send you an official written notice through the mail containing all the information about the debt they are trying to collect.
  4.  Don’t give the debt collector the cold shoulder. Ignoring your problems never solved anything. If you choose to dodge phone calls and ignore notices, the collector may have to use other means to get in contact with you. In extreme cases, this can even lead to legal action.
  5.  Work together to devise a plan. A debt collector’s job is to recover the money a collection agency is owed. If that means working with you to develop a manageable payment plan, they are usually more than willing to oblige. Talk with your collection agent to see what options may be available.
  6.  Use your negotiating skills. Cash in hand is a powerful negotiation tool. If you are able to pay a reasonable portion of your debt in a single transaction, your collection agency may be willing to accept a settlement. They receive valuable cash flow and you get part of your debt forgiven in return. Click here to find out more about Debt Negotiation.
  7.  Finally, don’t get emotional. While having a debt in collections can be an emotionally trying experience, when you are dealing with debt collectors you should try your best to remain calm. Remember that this is a business transaction and keeping your emotions in check will allow you to think clearly in order to devise a solution.

It’s hard to hide from a debt collector. Some people think you can “lay low” and wait out the collection attempts, but in our digital age it is easy for anyone (including collection agencies) to find the information they need to get in touch with you. With nothing more than a name, collectors can use public records and other resources to find information such as phone numbers, current and past addresses, and family contacts. Listed below are a few of the ways they can track down this information.

The Creditor

When trying to find a way to get in touch with you, this is where the collection agency starts. If you think about it, when you sign up for a credit card, loan, utilities or any other type of service, the company usually takes down your name and other information such as your phone number and address. If the information provided is current and valid, it makes the collector’s job much simpler. When it is not, however, they must use other means to find you.

Credit Reports

Collectors trying to recover a debt may pull a credit report to find out more information about you and your payment history. Typically, they use this method sparingly because it comes at a cost. They also tend to be wary about adding an inquiry to your record as it may negatively impact your credit score.

Data Brokers

Whenever you sign up for something, fill out a survey or enter personal information online there is a possibility that this information is being collected by a data aggregator. These agencies gather purchase history and demographic information from consumers in order to sell it to interested parties. There is usually an option to “opt out” of these kinds of services, so pay close attention when providing your personal information online.

Government Agencies

From the Department of Motor Vehicles and postal service to your voter’s registration, collection agencies can sometimes gain access to the information you provide to government organizations in order to collect and verify your current contact information.

Public Record

With most public record information now online, it’s easier than ever for debt collectors to find your current address and phone number. Whether it be through the phonebook or your local county records office, the information they need is just a few clicks of the mouse away.

Skip Tracers

As a last resort, a collection agency may hire a skip tracer to locate a consumer. Skip tracers are a special type of investigator that use both traditional and technologically advanced search methods in order to locate someone. Their name is a reference to the term “skip town” as they are usually searching for people who have left their local area in order to avoid something (such as making a payment).

As one can see, it can be fairly difficult to avoid your debt. A good course of action is to contact your collector directly to see how they can help you. Many times they are willing to work within your means to develop a payment plan and help you get out of debt. For advice and information on how to deal with your collectors, read more here.

Receiving numerous calls from a collection agency can be overwhelming and frustrating. While it can be tempting to just ignore the calls so that you don’t have to deal with the debt collector (link to Smart Solutions for Dealing with Debt Collectors), this can cause bigger problems for you down the road. The good news is that there are simple and effective things you can do to get a collection agency to stop contacting you. Whether you are receiving calls in error for a debt you do not owe or would simply rather resolve your debt issues in another fashion, every consumer has the right to stop collection calls.

The Debt Collector is Calling the Wrong Person

If you believe that the debt in question is not yours, in most cases you simply need to notify the collection agency. The debt collectors are just trying to do their job, and continuing to call a person that is not linked to the debt they are trying to collect will benefit no one. Sometimes this can be done over the phone, but if you are greeted by an automatic menu system it can be difficult to get in touch with the right person. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recommends that you write a letter to the agency explaining the error and provide any evidence you have that the debt is not yours. Using this method will give you a dated record of the request, should any problems arise in the future.

Remember, whether you own the debt or not, your rights against harassment are still protected in the FDCPA.

The Debt is Yours, But You Want to Stop Calls

It is your right, as outlined in the FDCPA, to choose how a collection agency contacts you. Whether you prefer to be contacted by phone, written communication, or both, collectors must comply with your request. As mentioned above, the easiest way to do this is to ask the agency to stop calling you next time they attempt to get in touch. Sometimes collectors will even offer an online form (link to online form with stop calls option selected) to help expedite the process. If you still receive calls after requesting for them to stop, it may be necessary to send a formal cease and desist letter. Once received, the collection agency should only contact you to:

  1. Notify you that the collection calls will cease and/or
  2. Advise you that other means to collect your debt may be used

Stopping Calls from ERC

As a third party collection agency that operates in accordance with the FDCPA, the Client Representatives at ERC will respect your request to stop calling. Please use our online contact form to ask that your number be added to our Do Not Call List. Once the request is received, calls should stop within 48 hours. If you experience any difficulty stopping calls to your number, please contact us directly at (800-383-5979). We are available to assist you any time Monday-Saturday from 8 a.m.- 8 p.m. Eastern Time.

When asked about “what collection agencies do?” most people think of the debt collector that has been trying to contact them about some unresolved debt. What people don’t realize is that there are two, very distinct, business models in the collections industry which go about collecting delinquent accounts in different ways.


In short, a debt collector is simply a person trying to collect an outstanding balance. In most cases they work for a third party collection agency, however, they can be from the original creditor as well. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) currently only covers third party collection agencies.


Essentially, collection agencies offer a service to businesses that allow creditors to outsource collections to a third party. When accounts become delinquent (in many cases 60 or more days late) creditors may contract with a collection agency to pursue payment. What’s important to note in this scenario is that the collection agencies do not own the debt. The amount owed by the consumer is still owned and controlled by the original creditor. In this situation, the collection agency works as a middleman between the consumer and the creditor in exchange for a percentage of the amount collected. A large majority of collection agencies operate this way, meaning that they are compensated only when they are able to successfully collect on an account.

How is this different from a debt buyer?

When the original creditor decides they no longer want to own the account they sell the debt. In this scenario, the creditor will put together a “package” of delinquent accounts and sell it to a “debt buyer”. The advantage of purchasing these hard-to-collect debts for the buyer is that they have claim to all the money they can recover and are no longer required to involve the creditor in what settlement to offer. After obtaining ownership of the debt, the debt buyer may try to collect on the account themselves or they might hire a collection agency on commission to complete the work as described above.


Stories about harassing debt collectors and collection agency scams seem to be a hot topic in today’s news. With all of the corruption out there, it makes many people wonder if there are any laws keeping collection agencies accountable for their actions. The good news is that there are in fact several laws and regulations that third party collection agencies must abide by, especially the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.


According to the FDCPA, there are number of different protocols an agency must follow when dealing with a consumer’s debt. We’ve written a brief overview of the laws below and you can find more detailed information on the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) website or on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s website.

Laws About Communication

  • Debt collectors may not contact the consumer at any “unusual time”. The appropriate time for calling someone who owes a debt has been defined as any time between 8:00am and 9:00pm. Any contact outside this time frame can be considered a violation of the FDCPA.
  • Collection agencies are not allowed to contact you at work if they have been notified that your employer does not approve of personal calls to your work number.
  • Debt collectors are only allowed to discuss your debt with you, your spouse in some states, your attorney, and consumer reporting agencies.
  • If you would like the collection agency to stop contacting you, you may formally request this in writing. Once this is done they may only contact you to tell you that they will stop communication and may use other methods to collect your debt.

Laws About Harassment

  • Debt collectors may not threaten violence in any form including property damage, physical harm or defamation.
  • Use of obscene language and profanities is strictly prohibited when attempting to collect a debt.
  • Collection agencies may not publicize the identities of consumers who will not pay their debts.
  • Debt collectors may not annoy or harass consumers with continuous and persistent phone calls.
  • Agencies should not threaten to advertise selling your debt in order to convince you to make a payment.

Laws About False Information

  • Debt collectors cannot falsify information or present themselves in a way that is deceptive including making false claims about the amount of the debt, who they work for, or what they will do if you do not pay the debt.
  • If requested in writing within the first 30 days after being contacted by a debt collector, a collection agency must provide written verification to validate your debt including the amount owed and information about the original creditor.

Laws About Payment

  • If you send in a post-dated check, the collection agency may not cash it until the date marked on the check.
  • Debt collectors may not collect any amount other than what is explicitly specified by the contract.


What if a debt collector contacts you about an old debt, do you still have to pay it? This can depend on the state that you live in. There have been a lot of articles lately talking about the “statute of limitations” for debt collection, but deciding not to pay a debt based on this principle may cause you more problems down the road. As long as your state laws allow, the statute of limitations on an old debt does not prevent the collection agency from trying to recover the owed amount. The only thing it prevents is the collection agency suing you for the money. This can get tricky because the statute of limitations varies by state, and there are several things that can reset the timeframe; like making a payment. Aside from this, having old unpaid debts can diminish your credit and make it very difficult to buy a car, house or anything else that requires a loan.

If you have been contacted by a debt collector and do not recognize or agree with the amount they claim you owe, there is action you can take. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act your rights as a consumer are protected, giving you the freedom to ask for validation and dispute the debt. To find out more about how to do so, please see our guide below.

Validation of the Debt

Within 5 days of the collections agency’s first initial contact with you, they are required to provide you your rights to validation of the debt, typically in the form of a letter containing the following information:

  • The owed amount
  • The current creditor to whom the debt is owed
  • A statement giving you notice about the 30-day timeline for disputing a debt
  • A statement that if you choose to dispute the debt they will send you a verification letter
  • A statement that they will provide the original creditor’s name and address if requested within 30 days of receipt

If you do not believe the account is yours or agree with the amount presented for any reason, you may formally dispute the debt by sending a written letter to the collection agency.

Disputing the Debt

To dispute the debt in question, you must send a written letter of dispute to the collection agency that is contacting you. As soon as they receive your letter the collection agency is required to cease all collection efforts until they can provide you with a verification of the debt. If they cannot produce this information, they can no longer legally attempt to collect the debt from you.

*note: if your request is not sent within the initial 30 day period, the debt collector is no longer required to provide validation under the FDCPA.

Letter of Dispute

Your letter should be straightforward and concise. Make it clear that you are seeking to dispute a debt and provide your reasoning why. Any information that can help support your claim should also be included. As an added measure, sending you letter via certified mail will give you the ability to prove the collection agency received your notice should the need arise.

Disputes with ERC

ERC is an ACA International accredited collection agency that works with clients in the telecommunications, utilities, banking, cable and finance industries. If you have been contacted by us about a debt that you do not recognize, you may submit a letter of dispute through our online contact form. We are also available to answer any questions you have about your debt Monday – Saturday 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. Eastern Time at (800-383-5979).

There’s a lot of talk about what collection agencies can and can’t do circling the collections industry. Much of this discussion is due to the increasing number of collection agency scams and harassment accusations out there. With shady practices such as these becoming the norm, it is no surprise that people are researching their rights to ensure that they are being treated fairly. The good news is that there are laws in place to regulate collection practices and prevent scenarios such as the ones mentioned above. These laws are known as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

So What Exactly Can a Collection Agency Do?

While the FDCPA keeps collection agencies in check and prevents a lot of less than ethical collection tactics; Debt Collectors are not completely barred from contacting you in order to recoup some of the money you owe. It is their job after all. The following are legal methods with which a collection agency can attempt to collect a debt:

  1. They can contact you via phone or mail. Debt collectors have to have some way to get in touch with the people that owe money to their clients. Leaving messages on the telephone or sending notices through the mail are the accepted means to do this. If you would like to end collection calls, however, you can simply do this by requesting that the collector stop contacting you.
  2. They can send someone to your door. Although a generally outdated practice, collection agencies are allowed to send a representative to your doorstep to try to obtain payment. This method is rarely (if ever) used, however, as it is more efficient and cost-effective to call.
  3. They can charge interest and fees. If you’re behind on your payments, creditors are able to add on fees and interest as long as it was outlined in the original agreement you made with your creditor.
  4. They can call you at work, unless you have notified the debt collector that your employer does not allow such calls or the state prohibits it. If the collection agency has been notified, the FDCPA states that they must then cease to call you at your place of employment.

What a Collector Can’t Do

As mentioned above, the FDCPA was put in place to prevent harassment and debt collection scams. To find out more about what is and is not legal for collection agencies, check out the following articles:

Most Americans have debt in some form or another. Whether it’s a mortgage, credit card debt or a car loan, it is a common and accepted practice to purchase things on credit. When you have too much debt, however, it can seem like an endless struggle between paying your current bills and paying back the creditors you already owe money to. Many people in this situation feel consumed by their debt and fear that there is no way out except to file bankruptcy. What they don’t realize, is that there may be another option available through a debt negotiation.

Pros & Cons of a Debt Negoztiation

Making regular payments on your debt is the safest and most surefire way to resolve your relationship with a creditor and protect your credit score. Sometimes life gets in the way and making your original payment is no longer an option. If you find yourself in a situation where you are no longer able to make regular payments on your account, debt negotiation may offer an attractive alternative. Listed below are some of the positives and negatives of reaching a settlement with your debt collectors:


  • You may be able reduce the amount you owe
  • You can usually resolve the debt with one lump sum payment
  • You can avoid filing for bankruptcy


  • You’ll may have to pay taxes on debt forgiveness
  • Your credit score can be negatively impacted

You can reduce the amount you owe.

The point of a debt negotiation is for you and the debt collector to make an agreement that fits in your budget, sometimes this may mean accepting a lesser amount than you owe. Instead of charging off an account, creditors would much rather work with you in order to receive some form of payment. This is where negotiating your past due account may help you. After taking into account your income, assets and other debts, the collector will offer you a settlement. If the settlement seems favorable for your situation, you can agree to it and your account is considered paid.

You can resolve the debt with one lump sum payment.

While payment plans may be available in some cases, most collection agencies would prefer to resolve the debt with a lump sum payment at the time of settlement. While it may require dipping into your savings or asking friend and family for help, the benefit of this option is that you would no longer owe any money to your creditor and you would be freed of the burden of dealing with collectors. If you have the means to do so, paying off your settlement in a single payment can save you a lot of headache later on.

You can avoid filing for bankruptcy.

If your financial situation looks bleak, you may find yourself faced with the possibility of filing for bankruptcy. A bankruptcy can give you a fresh start or help you structure paying back your creditors it can also impact your credit report and can remain on there anywhere from 7-10 years. While a debt settlement doesn’t leave your credit report squeaky clean as mentioned above, it is certainly easier to bounce back from financially. In the long run, pursuing a settlement can be less damaging to your credit and help you resolve your debt problems in a timely and efficient manner. For more information on your options for dealing with debt, go to the Federal Trade Commission.

You’ll have to pay taxes on your settlement.

Depending on the amount forgiven and whether it is made up of fees, and interest an amount that exceeds $600 may subject to your taxable income. This is something to keep in mind when deciding whether to negotiate a settlement with your collection agency. While you may be off the hook for your debt this year, you may need to make sure you plan for a tax expense that is to come in the following year. If you have questions or concerns please consult a tax advisor.

Your credit score may be negatively impacted.

While settling a debt may provide immediate financial relief, it may have additional consequences. A debt settlement may be reported on your credit report and this may be seen by future creditors. This potentially negative mark could make it more difficult to find lenders who are willing to work with you for future purchases.

If you believe that you are being harassed or treated unfairly by a debt collector, there is action you can take. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act was put in place to protect the consumer from unlawful collection practices. Follow these instructions to help protect yourself and others from these debt collection scams.

Find out if the collection agency is in violation of the FDCPA.

There’s a lot of confusion about what is and is not legal for collection agencies. This is why it is important to be well versed in the laws surrounding the industry. Before you move forward with reporting a debt collector, you want to make sure they are in fact breaking the law. To find out more about what these laws are and what collection agencies can do, check out these articles:

File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.

The Federal Trade Commission is another government agency in the federal sector that enforces debt collection laws. Again, they seek to protect the consumer, but also to promote fair competition within the financial markets by ensuring that the laws are properly upheld. Not only do they enforce such regulations, but the FTC also has a hand in making the policies that govern the consumer finance market.

File a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.

While it is not a government associated agency, the Better Business Bureau is a non-profit organization that works alongside businesses in all industries to promote ethical, trustworthy business practices. They serve as an unbiased authority on which businesses are widely respected and reach the highest standards of performance. If you are having an issue with a collection agency or debt collector, you can report the behavior to the BBB here.

File a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

If you’ve done your research and have found the collection agency to be in violation of the FDCPA, the next step to take is to file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The CFPB is an independent government agency responsible for enforcing the laws and regulations that regulate the consumer finance industry. As their name suggests, they seek to protect the consumer from corrupt financial practices and will take your complaint straight to the company responsible.

Contact your state’s Attorney General.

In addition to the FDCPA, each state may have its own laws about debt collection. To find out more about the laws in your state, contact your Attorney General. If you find that the debt collector in question appears to be breaking your state-specific laws, then you may file a complaint with the Attorney General as well.

Questions about ERC

ERC® is an international business processing outsourcing (BPO) and full service, end-to-end provider for every aspect of the customer lifecycle, including debt collection. We have been a longtime member of the Association for Credit and Collection Professionals (ACAInternational.org) and are fully committed to excellence and customer service in all aspects of our business. You can learn more about who we are and what we do at ercbpo.com and on our Who We Are page.

ERC® is not a scam. We are contracted by creditors and debt purchasers for our services and maintain necessary business and collection agency licenses.

Unfortunately, there are some agencies that do not follow the FDCPA’s guidelines and hurt the reputation of debt collections agencies that do. We pride ourselves on being compliant, professional, courteous, and helpful. If you believe that one of our representatives has acted against the FDCPA, either through contacting you inappropriately or in any another way, please let us know immediately by contacting a relationship specialist at (800-507-0052) or via our contact form.

ERC® in its collection space works on behalf of a number of different creditors. We work with clients from many industries including:

  • Telecommunications
  • Utilities
  • Banks
  • Cable Companies
  • Financial Service Providers
  • Student Loans

For more specific information about the creditor linked to your account, please call to speak with one of our account representatives at (800-383-5979). If you believe we are contacting you in error, please let us know through our contact form. Our goal is to make the collections process as easy as possible for both the creditor and the consumer.

If you have been contacted by one of our representatives, it is because we have received information that potentially links you to a debt we have been contracted to collect. If you believe we are contacting you in error or you would like to stop receiving calls, please let us know via our contact form. If you have questions or would like to speak about your debt further, you may call us directly at (800-383-5979) Monday-Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. EST.

ERC® is contracted by creditors and in some instances debt purchasers. ERC® does not own any of the debts in which we service and we are not classified as a ‘Debt Buyer’. If we are contacting you regarding a debt it is because we have been contracted to do so. If you believe we are contacting you in error, please let us know through our contact form.

Questions about your Debt

We do not want you to pay any amount that you do not owe. You can log into our Self-Service Portal to manage your account, or if you do not know your ERC assigned reference number you can utilize our ‘Contact Us’ page to communicate with us. If you would prefer to speak to an agent, give us a call (800-383-5979) and one of our representatives can help you. It may take a little bit of time to figure it out but by working together we should be able to come up with a resolution.

Please keep in mind that many contracts have provisions for additional fees and charges when an account goes into collections or charges off.

Sometimes, the debt may be legitimate but you do not recognize it because the company you owe the debt to has gone through a name change or has been acquired by a larger company. In these cases, the debt is still legitimate.

However, if you still believe the debt we have contacted you about is not yours, our representatives can help. If you have questions or would like to dispute your debt, please contact us online via our contact form or call (800-507-0052) for help. It may help to send us any documentation you have by email or mail.

If you feel that you have been a victim of identity theft or fraud, please let us know immediately by contacting a relationship specialist at (800-507-0052) or via our contact form, then choose the drop-down menu “I am a victim of Identity Theft or Fraud”, select the client in which we are attempting to contact you about (if unknown, choose the unknown drop-down item), and follow the instructions provided and/or download a fraud packet.

You may be required to fill out certain documentation, which may include a fraud packet or a police report, in order to permit for a full investigation of your claim.

In many cases, it is likely that the collection agency you owe money to has already tried to contact you. Pay close attention to your mail and phone messages to find out who they are and what creditor they represent.

If you have not received any correspondence regarding your debt, you can find out what agencies you owe by checking your credit report. You can pull your free credit report at wwww.annualcreditreport.com. Another option is to contact the original creditor to inquire about which company is currently managing your debt for them.

In some cases, when an account within the current or original creditors system has reached a certain stage of delinquency and/or has been charged off, the debt is updated or moved within their system. When this update or move occurs there is a possibility that a representative in their customer service area may no longer see the debt or see the debt as delinquent or charged-off. When this occurs, contact the current or original creditor and ask to speak with someone within their organization that handles delinquent or charged-off debt. Some current or original creditors have processes in place to simply provide the name and telephone number of the collection agency assigned to work the debt whereas others have a specialized department to handle calls specific to delinquent or charged-off debts.

You can pay by check or Money Order by mailing a money order to P.O. Box 23870, Jacksonville, Florida 32241-3870.

You can pay by Western Union. To do so, visit a participating Western Union retailer and provide them the following information by filling out the blue and white form: Company Name: Enhanced Recovery Company, LLC or ERC®, Code City: Domino, State: Florida, Your Sender Information, and the ERC Reference/File Number associated with your account, and the Current/Original Creditor Name.

If paying by mail, please ensure to include all necessary identifying information such as: ERC File Number, Account Number, Current/Original Creditor Name, Your Name, Address, and Telephone Number. This will help ensure that your payment is posted to your account and if there is a need to contact you regarding your payment, we can do so via the mail or at the telephone number provided.

*Money Orders and Western Union money transfers may have associated purchasing or processing fees. Any fees charged are paid to the merchant and do not go to ERC® in any way.

Questions about your Payment

You can pay off your debt through ERC®. The original creditor or debt purchaser has contracted us to help them resolve your account. The easiest way to pay off your debt is by working with one of our representatives over the phone. Most accounts are resolved this way. A representative can even work with you to create a flexible and convenient payment plan. You may also pay online through our Make a Payment page or by mail to P.O. Box 23870, Jacksonville, Florida 32241-3870. If paying by mail, please ensure to include all necessary identifying information such as: ERC File Number, Account Number, Name, Address, and Telephone Number. This will help ensure that your payment is posted to your account and if there is a need to contact you regarding your payment, we can do so via the mail or at the telephone number provided.

Our main objective is to help you with your debt and take a step toward having more control of your financial future. We do not require that you pay off the debt all at once, nor do we want you to pay more than you can afford at any one time. At your request, one of our representatives can create a reasonable payment plan for you. You may also make partial payments to your account online, at your convenience, via our Make a Payment page.

While possible in some instances, paying off a debt with a credit card is generally not considered a good idea. The debt won’t disappear if you pay with credit; you are essentially transferring the debt to another account. We try to make it as easy as possible to make a payment which is why we offer both debit and credit card processing through our online portal. If needed we can even work with you to create a payment plan. For more information, contact one of our representatives at (800-383-5979).

Please note that not all creditors allow a debt to be paid via a Credit Card, however will allow the use of a Debt Card.

No, the decision to pay a delinquent debt to a debt collector or even the original creditor is a choice, however, If you owe money to a creditor, it is your responsibility to pay it. There are negative consequences for choosing not to pay a debt that’s fallen into collections. Ignoring a debt may impact your credit score, make your debt liable to change hands with different agencies and potentially accrue interest and/or fees. If you refuse to pay your debts long enough, it may leave the creditor (ERC® does not file suit for outstanding debts) with no other choice than to take legal action, leading to potential additional costs. At ERC®, we try to make paying your debt as easy as possible. We offer multiple ways to pay online or via phone at (800-383-5979). If you are in financial trouble and need help managing your payments, give us a call today to speak with a representative about your options.

General Debt Collection Questions

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) mandates that debt collectors cannot contact individuals at an unusual time or place. Typically, this means that our representatives can only call you between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.

If you feel that one of our representatives is calling you in error, calling you repetitively, calling at inappropriate times, or if you would like our office to stop calling you, please let us know through our contact form.

Debt Collectors are not prohibited from contacting you at your workplace unless it has specifically been requested. The FDCPA states that if a collection agency has “reason to know” your employer does not approve of such calls, then they are no longer permitted to contact you at work. Some states have restrictions on calling your employer which are more restrictive. By notifying the debt collector of your employer’s policy you will be able to stop or prevent future calls to your workplace.

We strive to provide excellent customer service and abide by the standards outlined in the FDCPA and state laws. If you want to stop calls to your employer, please let us know by filling out our contact form.

Generally, Debt Collection calls are exempted from the restrictions of the National Do Not Call list (DNC), administered by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). For more information related to the National DNC, visit the FTC website. If you would like our office to stop calling you, please let us know through our contact form.

In order to ensure that we are speaking with the intended recipient of a debt collection call, to ensure no third party disclosure, and for security purposes, debt collectors attempt to verify certain pieces of information as it pertains to the debt/consumer. This information may be full name, address, last four of SSN, Date of Birth, or other specific information which confirms that we are in fact speaking with the correct party. Many clients/creditors have very specific rules for validating that debt collectors are speaking with the correct party, which must be adhered to.