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How to beat COAF

Dena Standley | July 27, 2022

Sending a credit report dispute letter is as easy as pie with this guide.

Summary: COAF can damage your credit score and hurt you financially. SoloSuit can help.

Whenever you request your credit report from the major credit bureaus, you hope everything is in order. You also hope to recognize every account in your file. From time to time, though, some unknown accounts sneak up on you.

COAF on your credit report stands for Capital One's auto financing arm, also known as Capital One Auto Finance. It's a legitimate company, although not BBB accredited. They provide auto loans and partner with dealerships to prequalify consumers for loans. If you see COAF on your credit report, you likely applied for or cosigned a car loan. You may have requested prequalification, in which case it appears as a soft pull. If you don't recognize it, it might be a reporting error.

A soft inquiry is not a problem as it won't affect your credit score. It's hard inquiries you should be concerned about because they can make your credit score drop significantly. As a matter of priority, you want your credit score as high as possible.

A hard inquiry is when a lender or creditor pulls your full credit report to see if you qualify for financing or a credit card account. Every time a company pulls your full credit report, your credit score significantly drops even if you don't wind up qualifying for the loan. These inquiries affect your credit for up to a year and will only drop off the report after two years.

There are steps you can take to avoid hard inquiries on your report.

You can avoid COAF's hard inquiries on your report

While you may not entirely avoid having COAF on your report when you apply for a car loan, you can reduce the effect it has on your credit score. Here are a few steps of caution you can take:

  • Don't let lenders pull your credit report too many times
  • Make as few trips to dealerships as possible
  • Be wary of cosigning car loans

Here's why you need to be careful.

Don't let lenders pull your credit report too often

Car dealerships work together with lenders to find a loan that fits your needs. The problem is that dealerships get so excited to sell that they go from one lender to another without realizing how the inquiries are hurting your credit score.

Also, depending on the scoring model used, either FICO or VantageScore, you have between fourteen to forty-five days to pull your full credit report, after which you start piling hard inquiries on your statement. The best strategy would be to begin a car financing project within the limited time you have to complete the process.

Make as few trips to dealerships as possible

When you first apply for prequalification for a car loan, the lender doesn't have to pull your full credit report to check your credit. The moment you make the trip to the dealership, you have completed the process. You'll have to give your full information before taking a test drive. At that moment, the inquiry is considered a hard pull on your report.

Before visiting dealers, take your time to evaluate your options to prevent COAF hard inquiries.

Be wary of cosigning car loans

Helping your friends and family out when they need a car loan but don't have a good credit score is okay. Just remember that the entry reflects on your report as well. It can boost your score if the person is responsible and pays on time. On the other hand, the negative information affects you if they miss payments. Make sure you cosign loans for someone you trust.

But what if the hard inquiry already reflects on your report?

How to remove COAF's hard pulls from your report

Yes, it's possible to remove COAF from your credit report. Try one of the following:

Dispute the inquiry

Sometimes getting a hard inquiry off of your report is as simple as contacting each of the three nationwide credit bureaus on the phone and asking them to remove those entries. You can explain, for example, that you never expected the dealership to contact so many lenders on your behalf. Talk to Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. They may just delete the extra entries and repair your credit report.

Most of the time, though, you need to go a step further. You need to send a dispute letter to the furnisher (COAF) and three major bureaus. COAF's address is:

Capital One Auto Finance
7933 Preston Road
Plano, TX 75024-2302

To dispute your credit report with the credit bureaus, click on the links or use the mailing addresses below.

Experian
Experian's National Consumer Assistance Center
P.O. Box 4500
Allen, TX 75013
TransUnion
TransUnion Consumer Solutions
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016-2000
Equifax
Equifax Information Services, LLC
P.O. Box 740256
Atlanta, GA 30374-0256

Remember that each bureau works independently, so you'll need to dispute separately with each of them. You shouldn't be stuck with errors or hard inquiries on your report because you are scared of disputing. Credit report dispute is a free tool available to keep your credit healthy.

Debt owed to COAF

If you are contacted by COAF about a past-due debt, you first want to ensure that the debt belongs to you and that the information COAF has is correct. A Debt Validation Letter forces COAF to provide you with the information they have about the debt. This is a great way to get COAF off your back, especially if they've been contacting you frequently about the debt. It's also a great way to prevent a lawsuit.

Even if COAF files suit against you, there is no need to panic. Just be sure to file a timely Answer to the court Summons. SoloSuit can help you draft an Answer in less than 15 minutes.

File a report with the Fair Trade Commission (FTC)

A COAF entry on your file may be a reporting error that COAF can quickly rectify, but it can be more serious. It could be a case of identity theft.

Identity theft is a sad reality that threatens consumers every day. If you see a COAF code on your credit report when you are sure you haven't had any dealings with Capital One, you may be a victim of identity theft. As a matter of urgency and priority, report the issue with the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) so that they can investigate the case and repair your credit report.

It's unwise to ignore hard pulls on your credit report. They affect your credit score. Do all you can to prevent hard inquiries. Even after they reflect on your file, you can remove them by disputing the entries, working with a credit repair company, or reporting errors and suspicious entries to the FTC.

If COAF (or Capital One) is suing you, respond ASAP

If Capital One has filed a lawsuit against you for an auto loan debt that you owe, don't panic—SoloSuit's got you covered. Here are three simple steps to help you beat Capital One in court, without hiring an attorney:

  1. Draft a written Answer and respond to each claim listed in the Complaint
  2. Assert your affirmative defenses in the Answer
  3. File the Answer with the court, and send a copy to Capital One's attorney

SoloSuit can help you draft and file an Answer in all 50 states.

To learn more, check out this video with tips on drafting the strongest Answer possible. George Simons, SoloSuit's CEO, breaks down 6 effective hints to help you draft a winning Answer:

What is SoloSuit?

SoloSuit makes it easy to respond to a debt collection lawsuit.

How it works: SoloSuit is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your answer. Upon completion, you can either print the completed forms and mail in the hard copies to the courts or you can pay SoloSuit to file it for you and to have an attorney review the document.

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"First time getting sued by a debt collector and I was searching all over YouTube and ran across SoloSuit, so I decided to buy their services with their attorney reviewed documentation which cost extra but it was well worth it! SoloSuit sent the documentation to the parties and to the court which saved me time from having to go to court and in a few weeks the case got dismissed!" – James


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