Table of Contents
- What is Universal Credit Services?
- Who does Universal Credit Services collect for?
- Is Universal Credit Services a scam?
- How to stop Universal Credit Services from calling you
- How to remove Universal Credit Services from your credit report
- How to deal with Universal Credit Services harassment
- Should you pay Universal Credit Services?
What is Universal Credit Services?
Headquartered in Hartland, MI, Universal Credit Services, Inc. (UCS) is a debt collection agency that was founded in 1998. 1
Universal Credit Services is a third-party debt collection agency, meaning they collect debt on behalf of various businesses and organizations. 2 In particular, they provide the following debt collection services: 3
- Early intervention
- Calls and written notices sent to debtors
- Skip tracing
- Insurance claim resolution
Other companies with similar names
Make sure not to confuse Universal Credit Services, Inc. with the very similarly named Universal Credit Services, LLC (now Xactus), which is a credit reporting agency based in Broomall, Pennsylvania.
Who does Universal Credit Services collect for?
Universal Credit Services, Inc. collects commercial and consumer debts on behalf of the following businesses and government agencies: 2
- Medical bills
- Utility bills
- Unpaid taxes
- Municipal fines and fees
- Commercial debt
- Financial service bills
This means that you may hear from UCS or see their name on your credit report if you have unpaid bills, taxes, or government fines.
Is Universal Credit Services a scam?
No, Universal Credit Services, Inc. isn’t a scam. They’re a legitimate debt collection agency, and they have a membership with ACA International. 4
However, this doesn’t mean that they’ll always behave ethically. For example, Universal Credit Services faced a class action lawsuit in 2021 for allegedly violating consumer rights. 5
What’s more, scammers may pose as representatives from Universal Credit Services, Inc. to try to collect money from you. For this reason, it’s important to always verify the validity of any debts you’re contacted about before you make any payments. To do so, contact Universal Credit Services directly via their online portal or using the contact information below.
VIDEO: Universal Credit Services in 2 Minutes—Fix Your Credit Report & Know Your Rights
How to stop Universal Credit Services from calling you
Universal Credit Services 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, Universal Credit Services 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 Universal Credit Services—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 Universal Credit Services 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 Universal Credit Services 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 Universal Credit Services from calling you during this period: When you send a debt verification letter, third-party debt collection agencies like Universal Credit Services 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 Universal Credit Services 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 Universal Credit Services 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 Universal Credit Services to sue you over, at which point it’s known as time-barred debt.
If this is the case, you can send Universal Credit Services 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 Universal Credit Services from your credit report
If your credit score is suffering as a result of Universal Credit Services debt, there are three ways to recover:
1. Dispute the debt with all three credit bureaus
You should immediately dispute the debt if it isn’t yours. 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 Universal Credit Services 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 Universal Credit Services
Unfortunately, if the debt is legitimate and it’s less than 7 years old, removing Universal Credit Services 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 Universal Credit Services from your credit report:
- Pay for delete: You might be able to convince Universal Credit Services 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 Universal Credit Services a goodwill letter asking them to empathize with your situation and remove the mark from your credit report as an act of kindness.
3. Wait 7 years for Universal Credit Services 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 Universal Credit Services, it will remain on your credit report.
Learn more about Universal Credit Services’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 Universal Credit Services harassment
Unless you tell them not to, Universal Credit Services 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 Universal Credit Services
When attempting to collect payments from you, Universal Credit Services 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.
Universal Credit Services 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 Universal Credit Services if they do something illegal.
Can I sue Universal Credit Services for harassment?
Yes, you can sue Universal Credit Services 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. Universal Credit Services will also have to pay your attorney fees and court costs.
How to file a complaint against Universal Credit Services
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 Universal Credit Services.
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 Universal Credit Services, 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 Universal Credit Services to court.
Should you pay Universal Credit Services?
You should only pay a collection agency like Universal Credit Services 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.