Ask Bill your personal finance question

Dealing With Northstar Location Services

What Should I Do When Northstar Location Services Tries to Collect a Debt From Me?

I checked my credit reports recently, and an inquiry from "Northstar Location Services" appeared on two of them. This inquiry was not there when I checked my reports a year ago. I'm wondering why this would appear and who or what Northstar Location Services is. If it's a debt collector, what should I do?

Read full question
Bill's Answer
(13 Votes)

Confident Caller | Northstar Location Services
  • Northstar Location Services is a New York-based collection agent.
  • Validate a debt when a collection agent contacts you.
  • Learn your state's statute of limitations on debt and avoid bringing a dead debt back to life.

Northstar Location Services is a collection agent based in a suburb near Buffalo, NY. It buys collection accounts from, and works on a contingency basis for major credit card issuers, including Discover. If a notation for Northstar Location Services appears on one of your credit reports, it may mean the collection agent purchased a collection account — in other words a debt — it thinks you may have liability for. Alternatively, Northstar Location Services may be working on behalf of a creditor as an outside collection agent.

Is Northstar Location Services Trying to Collect a Debt from You?

Call 800-998-7497 to speak with a Money Coach. Discuss what to say and not to say in a phone call with a debt collector. Make a financial plan so you avoid this kind of problem again.

Northstar Location Services: Soft Inquiry on Credit Report

Northstar Location Services
Sources: BBB, Buffalo Chamber of Commerce
4285 Genesee St
Cheektowaga, NY 14225
(716) 817-6770
(716) 276-1400
(877) 630-6700
Northstar Location Services does not publish a consumer-oriented Web site. Its Make a Better Living Web site is designed to recruit new employees.

You asked what you can do about this information appearing on your credit reports. Let’s look at what may have happened here.

There are two types of credit report inquiries — hard and soft. A hard inquiry, which is sometimes called a hard pull, occurs when a consumer applies for credit. A hard inquiry will cause a slight decrease in your credit score. Several hard inquiries of the same type over a week’s time will be considered as one hard inquiry because the credit scoring software is assuming you are shopping for one loan.

A soft inquiry causes no penalty to your credit score. Consumers’ credit reports are hit with soft inquiries all of the time by banks who are searching for likely prospects for credit cards, mortgage refinances, auto refinances, and so on. Collection agents use software inquiries to learn more about a particular consumer’s other debts, current address, and anything else in your credit report that might help it collect a debt. Someone with a pending foreclosure and a dozen delinquent accounts will be a lower-priority target than someone who has a bunch of current accounts.

Here, it is likely Northstar Location Services bought a collection account with your name on it, or was asked by a bank or other creditor to collect a debt. The soft inquiry on your credit report is a sign you may receive a collection call or letter soon. Alternatively, if you have a common first and last name, such as John Smith or Mary Brown, Northstar Location Services may have fired off a bunch of soft inquiries on people with variations on your name to learn clues which John Smith or Mary Brown may be responsible for the debt.

Validate the Debt

Collection agents such as Northstar Location Services must operate according to the rules found in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Under the FDCPA, consumers have the right to dispute a debt when a collection agent attempts to collect the debt. If the consumer does so with 30 days, the collection agent must cease collection activities and ask the original creditor to verify the amount of the debt, the name of the consumer, and other information. If the original creditor cannot provide validation, the disputed debt may not be collected.

If Northstar Location Services attempts to collect a debt from you, validate the debt immediately. You have only 30 days to validate the debt, so act quickly. Follow the steps we describe in our debt validation article to preserve your rights under the the FDCPA. You should validate regardless of your believing you owe the debt.

Validate Your Debt?
Is it worth your time to validate a debt? Yes! According to a 2013 FTC study, col­lectors could not verify nearly 50% of disputed debts. The least likely accounts to be validat­ed are med­ical, tele­com­munica­tions, and utility debts, and accounts more than 6 years old.

Statute of Limitations & Northstar Location Services Debt

If Northstar Location Services validates the debt, look to your state’s statute of limitations to learn if Northstar Location Services can use your state’s court system to collect the debt. State lawmakers created statutes of limitations for civil lawsuits to encourage people to settle their disputes quickly while the matter is fresh in people’s minds and records are still available.

The statute of limitations for credit card and other consumer debts is a bit tricky. In all but two states, creditors can still file a lawsuit against a consumer after the statute of limitations has passed. If the statute of limitations clock has run out, it is up to the consumer to raise this defense and ask the court to dismiss the case.

Look up your state’s statute of limitations for credit card debt (if the collection account is for a credit card) or written contracts. Has the clock run out on this account? If so, then send Northstar Location Services a cease communications notice. Under the FDCPA, collection agents must stop pestering a consumer once the consumer sends a cease and desist notice.

Know Your Rights - Collection Agents
Collection agents violate the FDCPA if they file a debt collection lawsuit against a consumer after the statute of limitation expired (Kimber v. Federal Financial Corp. 668 F.Supp. 1480 (1987) and Basile v. Blatt, Hasenmiller, Liebsker & Moore LLC, 632 F. Supp. 2d 842, 845 (2009)). Unscrupulous collection agents sue in hopes the consumer will not know this rule.

If Northstar validates the debt and the statute of limitations has not run out, then you may want to negotiate a settlement for the debt.

Negotiate A Settlement With Northstar Location Services

Collection agencies buy collection accounts for one to eight cents on the dollar, typically. The fresher the account, the more an agency pays for an account. The individual debt collectors who work for collection agencies are paid on a commission, and have extra incentives to make deals at the end of the week and at the end of the month. Use this to your advantage if you want to negotiate a settlement to the debt.

If the collection agency did not buy the account and is working under contract to the creditor, then it will have less flexibility in settling the debt. Either because the agency bought the account for top-dollar, or because the agency is working for the creditor, settlements on newer accounts typically range from 40 to 60 cents on the dollar.

Too Much Debt? Find a Personalized Debt Relief Solution

We have screened debt relief providers who can help you get a free, no-obligation debt relief quote.

If you do not feel comfortable negotiating, then partner with a debt settlement provider. Debt settlement companies employ teams of people who do nothing but negotiate settlements all day. Debt settlement companies rely on databases of past settlements so their negotiators know what range original creditors and collection agencies have accepted for settlements in the past.

I hope this information helps you Find. Learn & Save.



(13 Votes)
Recent Oldest
1500 characters remaining
  • J
    Sep, 2020

    I just got a random voicemail from them today. I have absolutely nothing that could even be in collections. Should I return their call?

    • 35x35
      Sep, 2020

      Josh, the first thing I would do would be to pull a credit report at, to see if anything shows up as a collection account. One could be there in error. I don't think there is great risk in calling them, especially if you are certain that you don't owe a debt.

  • A
    Apr, 2020

    I got a letter in the in regards to a personal loan that hasn't been paid. The loan was turned over to an attorney's office for collection. I have no income to pay. What do I do? Call the attorney's office to let them know my situation? I live in Oregon.

    • 35x35
      Apr, 2020

      Amy, I am not a lawyer, so I can't give legal advice. I will share some information with the understanding that you don't consider it legal advice. 

      Now may be a good time to call, given that so many people are in hardship. At this point the attorney has no authority to do anything that you don't agree to do. They can't come after your assets or bank account. If you were working they couldn't come after your wages. You would have to be sued and a judgment issues against you for those kinds of collection efforts to ensue.

      It seems reasonable that if you called and are forthright that it would show good faith and earn you something. However, there is no guarantee. 

      How much do you owe and who is the original creditor?


  • M
    Mar, 2020

    My information is that social security as the only income is not subject to credit card collection. Is that correct?

    • 35x35
      Mar, 2020

      Marilyn, that is not wholly correct. A person whose income is solely from Social Security can be sued for the debt and a judgment issued against her. While the income cannot be garnished and the account in which the SSI is directly deposited has some protection from a bank levy, the creditor can still attempt to collect. 

      Twice your monthly award is protected in your bank account, but anything over that is subject to seizure, if state collection laws allow it. Any other bank account on which your name is listed could be levied.

      A lien could be field that would encumber property you own. Some property could be seized.

      So, while your income is not going to be garnished at the source, it is important to understand the risks I listed so you can best protect yourself and anyone with whom you may share a bank account.

  • AD
    Jan, 2017
    This article rocks!
  • 35x35
    Aug, 2014
    Thanks for the information on Northstar. I know thousands of people have concerns and questions, and this is really helpful.