If you’ve been contacted by Charter Communications claiming you owe them a debt, it can be nerve-wracking. You’ve likely never heard of this company, so how could you possibly owe them a debt?
Beyond the irritation of being told to pay money to Charter Communications, it can be demoralizing to know that your credit score has also taken a severe hit as a result of this debt.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to fight the debt, pay it off, and get your credit score back on track.
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What is 11 Charter Communications?
11 Charter Communications is the debt collection division of Charter Communications Inc., a broadband and media company. 1
Charter Communications was founded in 1993 in St. Louis, Missouri, and the company later rebranded as Spectrum in 2013. 2
You may also come across the following names, all of which refer to Charter Communications:
- Charter Communications Inc.
- Charter Spectrum
Who does 11 Charter Communications collect for?
As mentioned, 11 Charter Communications exclusively collects debts owned by Spectrum. This label will appear on your credit report if you have an overdue Spectrum bill.
Is 11 Charter Communications a scam?
No, 11 Charter Communications isn’t a scam. Charter Communications/Spectrum is a legitimate telecommunications company, and they only attempt to collect debts that they’re legitimately owed (except in cases of genuine clerical errors).
However, scammers may impersonate Charter Communications in order to collect payments from you. For this reason, make sure to verify the validity of your debt by contacting Charter Communications/Spectrum directly using the contact information below.
Understand your rights
Because Charter Communications is a first-party debt collector (meaning they collect debts on their own behalf), they don’t have to abide by the same laws that apply to third-party debt collection agencies (which collect debts for other companies and individuals).
Specifically, Charter Communications isn’t required to adhere to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which means that (depending on the laws in your state) there may be fewer restrictions on how and when they can contact you.
However, you still have several options for fighting Charter Communications and getting the collection account off your credit report, which we’ll describe below.
Beware of the statute of limitations on debt
Depending on how long it’s been since you failed to repay Charter Communications, it’s possible that your debt is old enough that it’s passed the statute of limitations. This is a legal limit on how long Charter Communications can sue you over the debt. After this period passes, it’s known as time-barred debt.
The statute of limitations on most debts is between 3 and 6 years, but the exact amount of time depends on several factors, including the state you live in and the type of debt that it is.
To find the statute of limitations on your debt, check your state attorney general’s website and email their office if the information you’re looking for isn’t available online.
How to remove Charter Communications from your credit report
If your credit score is suffering as a result of Charter Communications debt, there are two ways to recover:
1. Dispute the debt
If you think the debt that Charter Communications is trying to collect isn’t yours, dispute the item on your credit report. You can also dispute it if it’s older than 7 years (measured from the date of your first missed payment)—by law, collection accounts are supposed to fall off your credit report by then.
To dispute a debt for free, send a credit dispute letter to the credit bureaus that are showing Charter Communications on your credit report. You should also send a dispute letter to Charter Communications.
To find out which credit bureaus you need to send the letter to, request your free credit reports from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion at AnnualCreditReport.com. If they don’t respond to your dispute within 30–45 days, then they’re legally obligated to remove the item from your credit report.
2. Negotiate with Charter Communications
Unfortunately, if the debt is legitimate and it’s less than 7 years old, removing Charter Communications from your credit report will be very difficult (although not impossible).
Your best move at this point is to simply pay the debt. Newer credit scoring models, such as FICO 9 and VantageScore 3.0, ignore paid-off collection accounts, which means paying off your collection will boost your credit score even if you can’t remove the item from your credit report.
However, when you pay, there are two negotiation strategies you can try as a last-ditch attempt to remove Charter Communications from your report:
- Pay for delete: You might be able to convince Charter Communications to remove the negative mark in exchange for paying off the debt. You can open these negotiations by sending them a pay-for-delete letter.
- Goodwill deletion: This is an alternate strategy you can try after paying your debt. Once the account is paid off, you can send Charter Communications a goodwill letter template asking them to empathize with your situation and remove the mark from your credit report as an act of kindness.
How to file a complaint against Charter Communications
If you’re unhappy with how Charter Communications is treating you, then you can file a complaint on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website.
However, bear in mind that the BBB is a private organization that has no affiliation with the US government. The BBB will forward your complaint to Charter Communications, but there’s no guarantee that Charter Communications will address it in a satisfactory manner.
Alternatively, if Charter Communications has done something illegal, then you can report them to the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or your state attorney general.
Can I sue Charter Communications for harassment?
No, you can’t sue Charter Communications for harassment. You may have heard that you can sue debt collectors for harassing you, but this doesn’t apply to Charter Communications since they’re a first-party debt collector and they’re not required to abide by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
However, you may be able to sue Charter Communications if they violate the Telephone Consumer Protection Act when calling you. You may also be able to press charges if a representative threatens you.
How to stop Charter Communications from calling you
Charter Communications will contact you by whatever means they see fit if they believe you have an unsettled debt, and they won’t stop unless you pay the debt or reach an agreement with them.
Ordinarily, debt collection agencies have to stop calling you if you send them a debt verification letter. However, Charter Communications isn’t obligated to do so because they’re a first-party debt collector—they collect their own debts, not debts owed to other companies. This means that many of the normal laws on debt collection, such as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), don’t apply to them.
Nevertheless, you can try these approaches to get them to stop calling you:
- Send them a letter: Although this isn’t guaranteed to work, you can try sending Charter Communications a letter asking them to stop calling you and only communicate with you in writing. They may be more likely to agree to your request if you previously had a good relationship with them.
- Block their calls: You can set up a call-blocking service by contacting your phone service provider or downloading a blocking app onto your mobile phone. However, bear in mind that this comes with risks—for example, they may be more inclined to sue you over the debt.
Note that, depending on where you live, it’s possible that stricter laws actually do apply to Charter Communications. Several states have their own laws (often modeled off of the FDCPA) that place more stringent restrictions on first-party debt collectors. Look up your local legislation and consider consulting with an attorney to learn more.