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How To Deal With CBE Group

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In a Nutshell

CBE Group LLC is a legitimate debt collection agency focusing on consumer debts. If CBE Group contacts you, you’ll first want to validate the alleged debt. After confirming the debt is yours, you can decide how to address matters with CBE Group LLC. Your main choices include disputing the debt (especially if you find inaccuracies or disagree with the specified amount) or negotiating to settle the debt. If you negotiate to settle the debt, you pay a reduced portion of the total amount owed.

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated February 21, 2024


What Is CBE Group?

CBE Group LLC (also known as The CBE Group Inc.) is a debt collection agency based in Cedar Falls, Iowa. CBE Group collects debt they buy from original creditors, specifically healthcare providers, government entities, and consumer services. 

Here is their contact information: 

Website: https://www.cbecompanies.com/ 

Phone number: (319) 234-6686

Headquarters address: 1309 Technology Pkwy., Cedar Falls, IA 50613-6976 

Mailing address: PO Box 900 Waterloo, IA 50704-0900

How exactly does a debt go from an original creditor to a debt collector? Your original creditor (credit card company, utility provider, etc.) will send you written notices and call you if you fall too far behind on your payments. If you ignore their collection efforts, they will charge off your debt to a debt collector, like CBE Group. The collector then creates a collections account for your debt and takes over. 

Why Is CBE Group Contacting Me?

If CBE Group contacts you, they have bought your debt from a creditor. A lender (healthcare company, utility company, etc.) has sold a debt you owe, and CBE Group is continuing collection efforts instead of the original creditor. 

Since CBE Group now owns your debt, if you need to work out a negotiation — like a repayment plan — you will need to work directly with the debt collection agency

Is CBE Group Legit?

Yes, CBE Group is a legitimate company. However, several consumers have filed complaints against them, according to the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). CBE Group currently has a 1-star rating (out of 5) on their BBB page.

As of early 2024, the Better Business Bureau reported over 435 complaints filed against CBE Group in the past three years. Multiple complaints claim CBE Group has attempted to collect on debts the consumer doesn’t owe. Trying to collect on a debt a person doesn’t owe is a common Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) violation.  

Note to reader: These reviews and complaints highlight relevant issues but may not represent all consumers’ experiences.

The FDCPA is a federal law that protects you from harassment and unlawful behavior from third-party debt collectors and collection agencies. If you believe a debt collector has committed a violation, you can report them to the CFPB and even sue for monetary compensation. 

How Do I Know if I’m Being Scammed?

Even though CBE Group is a legitimate company, scammers can still use the company’s name to con you. They’ll typically ask for sensitive information, like bank account information or your social security number, that a legitimate debt collection agency would already have. Read our guide to the 8 Red Flags of Debt Collector Scams to learn more about these scams.

How can you protect yourself from scammers? The best way to protect your personal information is to validate your debt (more on this below) and ask for more information. If you think you’re dealing with a scammer, you can report them to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC is a government agency that specializes in protecting consumers' rights. 

Do I Have To Pay CBE Group?

When a debt collection service contacts you, your first move should be to check if the debt they're talking about is legitimate. Sometimes, debt collectors need details corrected, like the amount owed or the creditor's name. Debt collectors typically buy debt in bulk from various creditors, so it’s relatively easy for their wires to get crossed. 

To figure out if the debt is legitimate, you need to validate the debt to verify that:

  • The debt is an actual debt that you owe

  • The debt collector genuinely owns the debt

  • The amount of debt is accurate   

If the debt collector got the information wrong and the debt is not yours, they should stop contacting you. If they can prove the debt is yours and that they own it, you have to decide what to do next. 

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Step 1: Send a Debt Verification Letter

If you haven’t already received a debt validation letter from CBE Group, you need to request one from them or craft and send a debt verification letter

Debt Validation Vs. Debt Verification Letters

A debt validation letter is a document from a debt collector that has the essential details about a debt they’re attempting to collect from you. By law, a debt collection company must send you this letter before or within five days of their initial contact. They also have to allow a 30-day period during which you can dispute the debt.

During this 30-day period, the collection agency can’t continue their collection efforts. This includes making phone calls and sending letters or emails. If they cannot verify your debt within these 30 days, you are not obligated to make a payment. If you find yourself in this situation, make sure you review your credit report and challenge any incorrect information with the major credit bureaus

If the debt collector successfully verifies your debt within the 30-day time frame, your next steps will depend on whether you agree or disagree with the amount they claim you owe.

Step 2: Decide What To Do Next

If the debt collector has accurately verified that you do, indeed, owe the debt and the amount they claim you owe, you’ll need to decide what you’d like to do next. Though it may not feel like you have options, you do have control over how you proceed.

Your three main options are: 

  • Disputing the debt

  • Negotiating or settling the debt 

  • Ignoring the debt (while this is technically an option, this is not recommended

Option 1: Dispute the Debt

If you disagree with the amount the debt collector has indicated on your debt validation letter — or other details outlined in the letter — it’s your right to dispute the debt

Often, if there’s incorrect information — or information you disagree with — on your debt validation letter, that same information is incorrectly reported to the major credit bureaus and is on your credit report. You need to check your credit report and dispute any inaccuracies

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), you have the right to a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus once every 12 months. The three major credit bureaus are Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. 

You can get your free credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com

Also, under the FCRA, you have the right to request credit bureaus to remove negative entries from your credit report using the 609 Credit Dispute Letter.

Option 2: Negotiate the Debt and Make a Settlement Offer

If you can't pay the total debt upfront (which is the case for many people), you may consider negotiating a debt settlement to pay less than the full amount owed.

Collectors often accept settlements ranging from 40% to 60% of the original amount owed. You can initiate discussions with a lower percentage, even starting as low as 25%, but be open to meeting at around 50%. Showing your willingness to negotiate may help you get a lower percentage. Read Upsolve’s Guide to Beating CBE Group LLC to learn more about negotiating a successful settlement.

Although it might not seem like it, you have some leverage in a negotiation. Debt collectors are typically open to negotiating because they acquire your debt from the original creditor at a fraction of its value and will likely profit even if you pay much less than what you originally owed.

Can You Negotiate Every Past-Due Debt?

Negotiating every overdue debt isn’t possible, but it's generally an option for common types of consumer debt like credit card debt, medical bills, personal loans, and payday loans. 

Debts tied to mortgages or car loans typically cannot be negotiated since there’s a possibility for foreclosure or repossession. This also applies to federal student loans. If you’re facing challenges with student loan payments, explore your available student loan forgiveness options.

Tax debt, however, is often negotiable, but the IRS has its own process for negotiating owed tax debt.

While this is technically an option, ignoring the debt is not recommended. It’s overwhelming having to deal with debt, and with a persistent debt collector continuously contacting you, you may feel the urge to ignore everything, hoping for it to go away. 

Unfortunately, simply ignoring the debt or the debt collector won’t make the debt go away. Oftentimes, it can increase your stress and cause greater money anxiety. It also causes the debt collectors to ramp up their collection efforts, leading to even more trouble. 

What Happens if I Ignore CBE Group?

Unfortunately, ignoring a debt collector won’t solve your debt problem and could create more issues. 

Those problems include:

  • Hurting your credit score

  • Costing you more money in the long run (interest charges, fees, potential court costs, etc.)

  • Creating an opening for you to get sued by the debt collector 

Being sued could create more problems if you also ignore the lawsuit, causing the debt collector to win and receive a default judgment and wage garnishment order against you. 

Avoiding the debt doesn't make the debt collector go away or make the debt itself disappear. Although negative information will fall off your credit report after seven years, the debt doesn’t go away, and collection agencies can continue efforts as long as the statute of limitations remains in effect.

Bottom line: The best thing you can do for yourself is to take action. You can take on CBE Group and come out the other side.

Can CBE Group Sue Me?

Unfortunately, CBE Group can sue you. If persistent attempts from a debt collector go unanswered, they may take legal action by filing a debt collection lawsuit.

Whether or not a debt collector sues you depends on many factors. These factors vary but can include the following:

  • Your state’s wage garnishment laws

  • The amount of time your debt has been in collections

  • The amount of debt you owe

If you get sued, you will know when you receive a summons and a complaint, which are official court documents notifying you of the lawsuit and outlining the case details. In many cases, someone will deliver the paperwork to you in person. They may hand it directly to you or leave it with an adult at your home. To learn more about how to proceed in this situation, read Upsolve’s Guide to Beating CBE Group.

Let’s Summarize…

CBE Group is a legitimate debt collection agency that collects different types of consumer debts. If they contact you, you need to validate that the debt is true and accurate, and if it is, you need to take action and respond to CBE Group as soon as possible. Taking on a debt collection agency can be intimidating, but it can be necessary to protect your finances.   



Written By:

Jonathan Petts

LinkedIn

Jonathan Petts has over 10 years of experience in bankruptcy and is co-founder and CEO of Upsolve. Attorney Petts has an LLM in Bankruptcy from St. John's University, clerked for two federal bankruptcy judges, and worked at two top New York City law firms specializing in bankrupt... read more about Jonathan Petts

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