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What is Penn Credit?
Penn Credit Corporation is a nationwide debt collection agency that was founded in Harrisburg, PA in 1987. 1
In addition to providing third-party debt collection services, they have an extended business office division called Penn Billing that provides the following first-party services: 2
- Insurance follow-up
- System conversion support
- Accounts receivable management
- Early-out/self pay receivables management
- Credit balance resolution
- Payment plan monitoring
- Revenue cycle consulting services
Who does Penn Credit collect for?
Penn Credit Corporation provides debt collection services for government agencies and companies across a variety of industries.
Specifically, they collect the following debts: 3
- Government debt
- Student loans
- Medical debt
- Toll fees
- Utility and telecommunications bills
Is Penn Credit a scam?
No, Penn Credit Corporation isn’t a scam. They’re a legitimate third-party collection service and member of ACA International. 2
However, even though Penn Credit Corporation is a legitimate company, they might not behave ethically. Debtors have sued Penn Credit for violating their rights in the past. 4 In addition, the former owner of the company recently pleaded guilty to “providing monetary benefits to public officials in exchange for favorable treatment”—essentially, bribing people. 5
What’s more, scammers may impersonate Penn Credit Corporation representatives to try to collect money from you. For this reason, it’s important to verify the validity of any debts you’re contacted about before you make a payment. To do so, contact Penn Credit directly using the contact information below.
VIDEO: Penn Credit in 2 Minutes—Fix Your Credit Report & Know Your Rights
How to stop Penn Credit from calling you
Penn Credit will call, email, or mail you if they believe you have an unsettled debt. The reason debt collectors like these are calling you is simple—they want to pressure you into paying up.
Unfortunately, Penn Credit representatives will keep trying to contact you unless you pay the debt, prove that it doesn’t belong to you, or reach an agreement with them (or with your original creditor).
Don’t ignore debt collectors like Penn Credit—in the end, you may get sued, and you may even have your wages garnished. It’s smarter to engage with them tactically to ensure you don’t have to pay, or that you get the best deal you can.
To begin, you can get Penn Credit to stop calling you—at least temporarily—by sending them something called a debt verification letter.
Send a debt verification letter
A debt verification letter is a formal request that obligates a debt collector to provide further evidence of a debt. You must send it within 30 days of them first contacting you. Note that Penn Credit should have sent you a debt validation letter proving you owe the debt first, as it’s required by law.
Benefits of sending a debt verification letter
Sending a debt verification letter has three benefits:
- You’ll prevent Penn Credit from calling you during this period: When you send a debt verification letter, third-party debt collection agencies like Penn Credit are required by law to stop contacting you until they can provide evidence that you actually owe the debt they’re trying to collect. 6
- You’ll get more information about the debt: You should never pay a debt that you don’t recognize. Forcing Penn Credit to provide documentation will help you determine whether this is a legitimate debt that you actually need to pay. It’s an easy way of figuring out if the debt collector is a scam agency.
- You may successfully disown the debt: If Penn Credit can’t provide more information about the debt (which is frequently the case), then they have no choice but to delete it from your records.
Beware the statute of limitations
The verification materials that you receive may show that your debt has passed the statute of limitations. This is a legal limit that means the debt is too old for Penn Credit to sue you over, at which point it’s known as time-barred debt.
If this is the case, you can send Penn Credit a letter telling them to stop contacting you. Legally, they’ll have to abide by that.
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. The best approach is to 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 Penn Credit from your credit report
If your credit score is suffering as a result of Penn Credit debt, there are three ways to recover:
1. Dispute the debt with all three credit bureaus
If you think that the debt associated with Penn Credit on your credit report is illegitimate (e.g., if you paid it on time or it belongs to somebody else), dispute the item on your credit report. You can also dispute debts that are older than 7 years (measured from the date of your first missed payment)—by law, they’re 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 Penn Credit on your credit report.
To find out which credit bureaus you need to send the letter to, request your free credit report from each of the major credit bureaus (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 in question.
2. Negotiate with Penn Credit
Unfortunately, if the debt is legitimate and it’s less than 7 years old, removing Penn Credit 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 ignore paid-off collection accounts, which means paying off your collection will boost your credit score even if you can’t remove the item.
However, when you pay, there are two negotiation strategies you can try as a last-ditch attempt to remove Penn Credit from your credit report:
- Pay for delete: You might be able to convince Penn Credit 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 Penn Credit a goodwill letter asking them to empathize with your situation and remove the mark from your credit report as an act of kindness. Create your letter using our free goodwill letter template.
3. Wait 7 years for Penn Credit to fall off of your credit report
Unfortunately, most collection accounts will stay on your credit report for 7 years after your first missed payment. Even if you pay off your debt to Penn Credit, it will remain on your credit report.
Learn more about Penn Credit’s impact on your credit score:
- How many points will my credit score increase after I pay off collections?
- How to rebuild your credit after having a debt sent to collections
How to deal with Penn Credit harassment
Unless you tell them not to, Penn Credit will keep contacting you until you pay off or settle your debt. However, there are restrictions on how they can go about doing this.
Restrictions on Penn Credit
When attempting to collect payments from you, Penn Credit must adhere to the regulations specified in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. This is a federal law that prevents debt collectors from engaging in harassment or predatory behavior, such as lying to you or calling you incessantly or at unreasonable hours.
Penn Credit representatives also need to follow the rules set out in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with these laws so that you can take action against Penn Credit if they do something illegal.
Can I sue Penn Credit for harassment?
Yes, you can sue Penn Credit for harassment. If you can show that they’ve violated your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, then you can collect $1,000 in statutory damages for each violation as well as payment for any damages that you’ve sustained as a result of their violation. Penn Credit will also have to pay your attorney fees and court costs.
How to file a complaint against Penn Credit
If a debt collector violates your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act or does something illegal, then you can report them to the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or your state attorney general. From there, you’ll be able to find out whether you can also sue Penn Credit.
Another option is filing a complaint on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website, but this might not have the outcome you’re hoping for. Bear in mind that the BBB is actually a private organization that has no affiliation with the US government. They’ll forward your complaint to Penn Credit, but there’s no guarantee that the agency will address it in a satisfactory manner. What’s more, if your dispute is sent to an arbitrator, then you may give up your right to take Penn Credit to court.
Should you pay Penn Credit?
You should only pay a collection agency like Penn Credit if you’re certain the debt is yours and you owe it. If you’re struggling financially and can’t afford to pay this debt collector, you can get help from a non-profit credit counselor.