Collection agencies can be really aggressive with their tactics to collect a debt that they claim you owe. Intimidation, nasty remarks, harassment, and unprofessional responses have been reported.


If you conduct a quick search online you will see many complaints from consumers who have had issues with this collection company.

What is CBE Group?

This is a debt collection company who buys your debt from companies for pennies on the dollar. According to the Iowa Secretary Of State this is the current information they have listed for their company:iowa-state

Business Number: 104622

Legal Name: The CBE Group, INC.

Status: Active

Type: Legal

State of Inc: IA (Iowa)

Effective Date: 10/1/1985

Filing Date: 10/1/1985

This company was bought by Thomas R. Penaluna in 1996 who still owns it.

After purchasing the company, he grew it to over 1,000 employees as it stands today.

What are my options if CBE Group keeps calling me?

You have many options when dealing with the creditor in question. A lot of times debt collectors will contact you stating that you owe them money and they will try to make you pay immediately over the phone. Midland Funding is another example of a debt collection company that uses very extreme collection tactics.

There have been many times where people pay out of the fear of having a negative item reported on their credit.

However, before you ever decide to pay or negotiate with them, you need to check to see if the item is listed on your credit report first.

In order to do this, you should always obtain a copy of your credit report. You can typically find websites online that offer a free credit score or can use a free service like CreditKarma.

Be advised that CreditKarma is not as accurate as other services so it may be worth paying for one up front.

You should also be monitoring your credit regardless, especially if you are currently rebuilding.

After you have determined if they are reporting to the credit bureaus or not, then you can plan your next course of action. If you do see this item reported on your credit negatively these are the typical options that you have:

Option #1 – Hire a professional to help you clean up your credit and fight.

legal-counselThis option is what most do in order to be sure that the item in question gets deleted. Many people just don’t have the time to do everything required to fight collection agencies themselves.

There are a number of different reasons that you can have this debt deleted off your credit.

One of the main reasons you can have something deleted off of your credit report is if a credit bureau is not following the Fair Credit Reporting ACT (FCRA) which is a Government legislation that is enforced by the FEDs.

There are laws in place to protect consumers from shady collection methods and inaccurate reporting.

Another law that applies would be the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA). This law typically applies directly to original creditors and collection agencies.

When they are in direct violation and you can prove it, you can win judgments of $1,000 or more just because they failed to be in compliance with the law in question.

The above methods are most commonly used in most cases.

Pros: Professionals who are usually lawyers have typically fought and won many cases against creditors and credit bureaus and have a lot of experience. They know all the tricks that these companies pull and have a few tricks of their own to help you win the case or get items deleted completely.

Cons: This will cost you money. If you’re low on funds you may want to consider other options but be aware that if you’re serious about rebuilding your credit, you will need to invest more than just time at some point. 

Option #2 – Contact the creditor yourself and work out a payment plan.

Pros: Typically a lot of creditors will work with you in order to make a payment plan which will benefit you in the long run. If you work out a payment plan, be sure to get it in writing and keep good records, because often a creditor will take your payment and not fulfill their part of the deal. 

Cons: There are many shady companies who will not work with you and will demand a full payment. Also, even after the debt is paid in full, it still may show as a negative item on your report for 7-10 years depending on the item.

Option #3 – Contact the creditor yourself and work out a pay to delete.

Pros: A pay to delete is always beneficial as long as you have the money and you can afford the payment in question. The good part about this is the fact that you work out an amount and settle on it with the creditor, then you pay that amount in order to have them completely delete the negative item from your credit file. 

Cons: There is a chance that the creditor may not agree on the price you settle on and often will want more, cause hassle or simply not fulfill their part of the deal. 

Option #4 – Fight the creditors yourself.

Pros: You will often save a lot more money in the long run and educate yourself in the process. Once you master fighting the creditors you can also help out family and friends to fix their credit as well…

Cons: This process is time-consuming and can sometimes be very frustrating when dealing with certain companies.

In my experience, the best option to take here would be to consult with a legal expert who has a lot of experience on the matter. Even though that does cost money, like I said earlier, if you’re rebuilding your credit you should be willing to invest in your future.

This method ensures that your business matters are being handled properly and while they are, you can go on with your life as usual.

Regardless of which option you decide to go with, be sure to be patient because it can take a lot of time to clean up your credit.

It took you years to most likely be in the position you’re in now, so this stuff won’t happen overnight.

How do you get in contact with CBE?

Phone Numbers: 319-242-7350, 866-912-1312, 800-925-6686, 319-234-6686, 800-348-3304, 1-800-410-8089

Fax Number: (319) 235-1996



PO Box 930, Waterloo, IA 50704-0930


Be sure that you’re always checking the address listed on your credit report for the creditor in question before you send them any mail.

Also, you should be sending all of your letters via certified mail to ensure that you know when they received and signed for it. Also, this allows you to have a good record of your contact with them just in case you have to appear in court at some point.

Are there others who have filed Complaints?

Anytime you are being contacted by a debt company and you’re uncomfortable or annoyed, it is almost always safe to assume that you’re not the only person who wants to complain about your experience.

There has been many cases of others who are upset with this company due to their aggressive collection methods. One of the many complaints that I see online is from consumers who have had a Verizon account go into collections.

I believe that their Verizon accounts make up a large percentage of their revenue. Student loans seem to be another complaint driver for this company as well.

In any case, if you’re contacted by them, you should be very prepared for a lawsuit. They have a track record for suing consumers and winning a default judgment.

If you are sued, you almost always want to consult with an attorney to ensure you’re receiving proper legal counsel.

Here are a few cases you can reference in regards to lawsuits filed against this collection agency:

Carman v. CBE Group, Inc., 782 F. Supp. 2d 1223 ( 2011)

Jerry Thomas VS The CBE Group, INC (2015)

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