Do collection accounts age off your credit report after 7 years?

So I have debt from store lines of credit to a bank credit card. I haven't paid on them since at LATEST December 2007. Chase, citi financial (store line of credit) and Sears line of credit all have it showing closed but I am getting reporting from some debt collector companies.

I live in Arizona and just ordered my actual credit report today. I viewed the information online through a credit score tracking website. I read a lot of comments and researched online somethings. My questions are can any of them take me to court still because from what I read some debts are 3 years and some are 6 here in Arizona, I am not sure what they fall under, also at 7 years they have to stop reporting to my credit so I am told. Does this mean that it will show the old reports but they cant continue to report and since the original lenders have the accounts closed can the debt collector who purchased the debt also show up as a closed account or do they just disappear forever?

Any information to better understand when or if this will ever not be an issue for me would be helpful, as these debts were ran up by my ex and are thousands of dollars I cant and haven't been able to afford to even attempt to fix.

Do collection accounts get removed from my credit reports after 7 years?

—Jennifer

Original lenders and creditors show payment default on your credit reports for 7.5 years.

When you first miss payments to a creditor or lender, you will see lat pays show up in 30 day blocks of time on your credit report. If the accounts remain unpaid long enough, those 30 day incremental late pays turn into a charge off reporting on your credit. Charge offs normally occur within 180 days  of consecutively missed payments (they can happen sooner than 180 days).

 

The 7.5 years the negative item stays on your credit report starts from the first missed payment to your lender.

 

When your accounts get this far behind, it is standard to have the account placed with outside collection agencies repeatedly. Many creditors have practice of selling off debts that remain unpaid long enough, to debt buyers. They are legally transferring the rights to the debt to someone else, as laid out in your original contract with them.

 

Collection agencies and debt buyers showing up on your credit report.

When an additional entry from a collection agency shows up on your credit report it is important to look for some key items:

  • Is the new entry showing a balance due? A debt buyer who reports a collection account to the credit bureaus with a balance owed should be matched with the original lenders negative credit reporting to be certain that the original lender no longer shows a balance is owed to them. You should not have more than one credit entry showing an unpaid and due amount on your report for the same unpaid bill.
  • Does the collection account show a date of last activity on your report that is different than the date your original lender is showing? Collection accounts that are reporting separate from, but related to an existing negative item on your report, should not show a newer date. If a newer date is used by a collection agency report, it has prolongs the credit damage and will take longer for you to improve your credit because the collection account will stay on your credit report that much longer.

All negative trade lines related to the same collection account should age off of your credit report at the same 7.5 year mark you use to calculate your first missed payment to your original lender. The exception would be if you got sued for collection and ended up with a judgment over one or more of the debts – which would show in the public records section of your credit report for 7 years from the date judgment was entered in the court.

What to do if you need to dispute a collection account on your credit report

I will have an upcoming article about disputing incorrect information on your credit report, but for now, it is important to consider the following:

 

If your debt is within the SOL (statute of limitations), to legitimately sue you for collection, you should carefully consider whether or not to send a dispute about a collection account on your credit report, even if it is showing incorrect information. When there is still room on the clock to sue you, sending a dispute may wake the collector to the fact that you are:

  • Still an unpaid account.
  • Care enough to start cleaning up your credit report (usually for some credit goals, which means you are more collectible).

If your debts are beyond the SOL to sue you legitimately, you should have less concern about waking a sleepy debt collector who may not have been bothering you, with disputes about getting your credit reports corrected.

The furnisher of the information to the credit bureaus, in this case a debt collector, is going to be alerted to any dispute or request for correction that you send to Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion.

Legislation was passed in 2011 that changed the SOL from 3 to 6 years in Arizona. Given the information you shared about 2007 being the earliest date of last payment, your debts may/may not be off of the current debt owner’s radar. You would need to be certain about the date each of account was last paid. Any of them you know were paid last in 2006 would be clear of the SOL.

 

Reviewing your credit reports for accuracy when you know you have old collection items is important. Staying on top of when and how to get your credit reports corrected will help you plan for future access to credit at fair prices.

 

Anyone with questions about collection accounts on their credit reports is welcome to post in the comments below, or join in the discussion.

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Comments

  1. So then my best bet is to wait till jan 2014 and run my credit report and dispute any incorrect dates, then another year and a half they aren’t able to report to my credit any longer and I can start rebuilding my credit and they eventually fall off and wont be seen when my credit is ran by lenders? Or do they just fall off my credit report right at the 7.5 mark? Also what if I were to get married? Can any collectors come after my husband at that point?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      2014 – Waiting until the SOL expires in order to dispute any collection account that is reporting a newer date of last activity than the original creditor will keep you from waking a collection in hibernation. If you are contacted about the debt before then, especially if you receive a collection letter from an attorney, then that would change things a bit. Post an update here if that happens.

      2015 – all negative credit report entries related to accounts that have not been paid for 7.5 years would age off. You should check to make sure they do though, and if not get that corrected.

      You can start to rebuild your credit score and improve your credit report profile by opening up a secured card, or even get approved for a low limit unsecured credit card, but wait until after the SOL expires for this step too. Collectors do flag accounts to apply new collection efforts if they see recent credit application activity.

      After the SOL, there is no legitimate risk to your new husband. It would be really rare for your husband to be legally pulled into collecting an old debt in the courts. There are good arguments for that, even in community property states, so post an update if that were to happen.

      Sounds like you are moving on with your life in some positive ways. Congrats!

      • Jennifer says:

        Perfect thank you for all of your help :)

      • Jennifer says:

        Ok so I have another question after talking with my boyfriend. The SOL passed in 2011, wouldnt my debt already have hit the SOL from the previous law or 3 years? I would have already gone 3 years, does it not still apply to me from then? Or do I fall under the new law now since I didnt contact then before the law passed?

        • Michael Bovee says:

          I am fairly certain there was no grandfather clause for the date of last activity for accounts already delinquent 3 years.

      • Christina says:

        So I have some credit card accounts in collection. It’s been about 6 years. Will they fall off my credit report at the 7 year mark? Should I pay on them or let them fall off?

        • Michael Bovee says:

          They should drop from your credit reports no later than 7 and a half years from when you first missed payments.

          Before I offer any feedback about paying them or not, I have some questions:

          What state do you live in?
          When you say it’s been 6 years, do you mean 6 years since you made any payment (I do not want to assume)?
          Are there debt collectors showing on your credit reports as well as your original credit card banks?
          Do your credit reports show that some of the banks negative reporting are set to fall off on a date earlier than any debt collectors reporting for the same account?

          • Christina says:

            I live in Texas. It’s been about 6 years since any payment. And I do have 1 new card (up to date). Trying to fix my credit. But I don’t know if paying those on collections will help much or let them fall off.

            • Michael Bovee says:

              You cannot legitimately be sued for collections on these debts in Texas after 4 years. You are in the drivers seat if you wanted to negotiate settlements or pay on these old accounts. But if credit reports and scores are your main concerns for resolving the debts I wouldn’t. It may actually be counterproductive (unless you are aiming at home loan approval between now and the accounts getting dropped).

              • I just had a firm contact me about a bill through T-mobile that is from 2003, claiming rights to sue me. They say it is out of Idaho, but the account was opened in Utah. How do I handle this and can they come after me….11 years later?

                • Michael Bovee says:

                  Can you post the name of the collection agency calling you on the old debt? Also post whether or not you see them, or any other debt collector showing up for this account on your credit reports.

                  • The name of the agency is R & J Firm. Nothing is showing on my credit report of it. They claimed they sent a demand letter and aren’t willing to work with me any further…that it needs to be paid in full. I told them I had not ever received a demand letter and that they need to send me documentation of such bill. He claimed they could email me the paperwork, but I have yet to receive anything.

                    • I’m sorry..the agency name is R & J Consulting Firm.

                    • The same thing just happened to me a few weeks ago! I live in Texas and there’s nothing on my report showing the “law firm’s” name. And it’s a different name everything they call me. Total Scam – and they had my social as well.

                  • I have researched this company and it appears to be a scam. They had my SSN. How should I deal with this?

                    • Michael Bovee says:

                      I would first consult with an experienced consumer law attorney whose practice focuses on debt collection violations (often referred to as FDCPA violations). You can typically talk to this type of attorney at no cost, and many take on your file without charge to you (if they are pursuing collectors who step over the line while collecting, and not credit reporting).

                      Post the name of a nearby city and I will send you contact details for any lawyers I find in the area.

          • Christina says:

            I think I’m getting your response to someone else. I’m asking about my collection accounts it’s been 6 years since my last payment. I live in Texas and I do plan to buy a home just not any time soon maybe like in 3 years. What would be my best way to go. Pay them, let them fall off at the 7 year mark? I do have new credit up to date. But my score is not going up.

            • Michael Bovee says:

              If it were me Christina, I would let them drop off your credit. After they drop off look at adding one other unsecured account.

              Do you have any positive credit beside the one newer account reporting (car loan you paid off in the past, student loans, other credit cards you paid but closed)?

        • Christina says:

          I do have a car loan paid off and school loans that are all in good standing. How soon will the collection accounts fall off? Last payment was March 2008. And when will I see my credit score go up?

          • Michael Bovee says:

            Look for collections to start dropping off in March of 2015, but be ready for them to stay of for 6 more months, so as late as September 2015.

            Your credit scores are a moving target. Your score gets calculated on many data points. Old collections are just part of the formula used. The older the collections, the less sting to your credit scores. After 2 years of accounts showing as collections on your credit reports, they lose potency. After the accounts fall off next year, I would not expect a huge jump in credit scores, but perhaps a bump. By how much I cannot say, as there are just too many variables.

        • Christina says:

          Other than staying on point with my current accounts what else can I do do get my score higher?

          • Michael Bovee says:

            I would have to be looking at your reports to offer up actionable feedback. I no longer offer paid services.

            MMI is a nonprofit credit counseling company that currently offers live credit report reviews. You might try calling them at 877-721-9723. The call is free, and you may pick up some useful tips to increase your scores over the next year. You are already ahead of the game by preparing to purchase a home this far in advance.

        • Hi I have a question regarding the SOL
          I have a delinquent debt with capital one, and my Equifax has the SOL age date as 7/2014 Transunion is showing 9/2014. When should I expect my credit report to update no longer showing this.

          • Michael Bovee says:

            Are you referring to when Equifax and TransUnion are listing the month the Capital One account will fall off your credit? With the Equifax July drop off date gone by, is it still appearing on their report? Are you relying on a third party version of your credit reports with these bureaus, or looking at the ones they provide direct to you?

    • Michael,
      This is the only negative thing on my Transunion report (I haven’t checked my other two yet)-they are trying to get a hold of me as of last week. This was in Florida (I now live in NC)…what is the SOL for this debt?
      Thank you for your time

      REGIONAL ACC
      Auto
      Apr 20, 2007
      Closed
      5 Missed Payments
      $0
      Account Details
      Last Reported
      Nov 01, 2009
      Creditor Name
      REGIONAL ACC
      Account Type
      Automobile
      Account Status
      Closed – Paid
      Opened Date
      Apr 20, 2007
      Closed Date
      Nov 01, 2009
      Individual
      Balance
      $0
      Highest Balance
      $19,139
      Payment Status
      Current
      Worst Payment Status
      Late 60 Days
      Date of Last Payment
      Nov 27, 2009
      Amount Past Due
      $0
      Times 30/60/90 Days Late
      4/1/0
      Remarks
      Closed
      48 Month Payment History
      2009 OK OK 30 30 60 OK OK OK OK OK
      2008 OK OK OK OK OK OK OK OK OK OK OK 30
      2007 30
      J F M A M J J A S O N D

      30 Days Late: March 2009, April 2009, December 2008, December 2007
      60

      60 Days Late: May 2009

      Creditor Contact Details
      REGIONAL ACCEPTANCE CORP
      33859 US HWY 19N
      PALM HARBOR, FL
      34684
      (727) 781-1992
      Dispute Details

      • Michael,
        I just checked Experian and it shows the same info for Regional except last reported 12/2011 and it looks like that is when they are showing the closed date on that report.

      • Michael Bovee says:

        How long have you been in North Carolina?

        • I have been in NC since Jan. of 2009

          • Michael Bovee says:

            The SOL for negatives on your credit report is 7 to 7.5 years. When did you make the final payment? Did you complete all payments?

          • AND…this vehicle was repo’d either the very end of 2008 or the first month of 2009 yet Experian and Transunion both show that I was 120 days late March-June 2009 but I no longer had the vehicle…in fact I had already bought another car and moved Dec 2008 to NC ….so I am not quite sure what is going on there??

            • Michael Bovee says:

              What it looks like, based on the info I have to go on… You had the repo, the car fetched whatever it did at auction, and there was a deficiency balance. That balance is now being collected by a debt collector not associated with the original loan.

              The SOL to sue is passed (at least legitimately), but if sued, your defense would put this to rest quickly.

              That is the collections aspect.

              The credit reporting aspect is that this should age off of your credit reports early/mid 2016. You will want to monitor your credit and make sure that it does. If not, you dispute it off. And if that does not work, post an update and I can help from there.

              Do you have any major finance needs between now and 2016?

              • Thank you for the information…no, I do not have any finance needs between now and then (major or minor).

                I also have two federal tax liens that I settled thru JK Harris two years ago that are on my report (public record), but I believe they are going to come off soon as long as they are not re-filed…once those two items fall off and the Auto thing falls off my report will be great (minus the fact that I do not have a good grade in credit longevity, but that too will get better with time)…Equifax does not show the two public records, but Trans Union and Experian do and all three show the Auto one…my scores right now are 669 (Experian), 667 (Equifax) and 683 (Trans Union) so I think I will be good to go in another year or so…

                Thanks again for all of your information and advice-have a great weekend :)

                • Michael,
                  Do you think I should go a head and send a cease all communications with me and this address letter to Regional Acceptance Group?

                  • Michael Bovee says:

                    If I had no intention or reason for settling the debt, and I was passed the point for a legitimate collection suit to be filed, I would send a cease communication letter in order to stop collection calls and mailed notices.

  2. I have a debt collection agency trying to collect a 13 year old debt. I did credit repair in 2011 and it should have been removed from my credit report. Is it still legal for them to collect this debt?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      laura – Are you receiving collection phone calls and letters? Is the account at issue on your credit report right now? If it is, who is the debt collector reporting it?

      A debt can go unpaid for 13 years, but it does not legally go away. But it should not appear on your credit report if a payment on the debt has not occurred for that long.

  3. I have an account in collections that I have disputed 2 times about the inaccuracy of the debt owed to oc. It’s a cell phone debt. Oc is over charging me $150 for early termination, however, according to their terms agreements, the fee should be $50 for canceling 30 days prior to end of contract. I sent a copy of terms highlighting the fees to both cra and debt buyer, only to have that ignored and cra sending me email that amount is being reported as correct, verified, according to cra. I contacted Tmobile, oc, and finally someone said, “oh you’re right the fee is $50.” I’m in the process of paying off my debts, but up until now debt buyer would claim that if I paid less that’s settling and not paid in full. What can I do about this? I’m requesting a copy from oc stating the actual amount due. Debt buyer still reporting those extra $150 on my credit report. Thanks in advanced.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Danny – Get the amount owed straightened out first. If the account went to collection (assigned or sold) the account getting to that stage is what causes the credit damage. Whether you settle collections for less or pay it off in full, is not of much consequence – the damage was already done.

      Having a single account like this show negative on your credit is debilitating to your credit score, but that impact would be short lived compared to having multiple accounts in collections. How many collection accounts do you have on your credit report?

      • I have two. one already paid, it was in house agency collections and oc was the one reporting to cra. How long should I expect to see the update for this one?

        On the cell phone debt, oc has agreed to change the amount I owe and they said they will get my account from debt seller. Can this really be done? I thought once account is sold to a debt buyer, the oc has no say on account anymore. Thank you.

        • Michael Bovee says:

          If the original creditor collection account you resolved was recent, it can take up to 60 days for the updates to hit your credit reports. If it has already been longer than that, time to get proactive and get that corrected.

          Original creditors can recall accounts if there are provisions for that in the purchase and sale. It is not common, but can and does happen when there are good reasons. Stay on top of them.

  4. Hi ijust recieved an offer either to pay in full obviously dont have that amount and a settlement amount…. which is better I think the first but does the second one afffect you …plus if I contact them would they settle any lower from what they offer for the settlement amount?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      liza – Depending on the situation, and your goal, settling will make the most sense. In order for you to have received a written offer to settle you would already have to be behind with payments. This would mean your credit report is already being harmed. If the offer to settle is from your original lender, and you are not yet considered 6 months late, settling now will prevent a charge off and further damage to your credit. If the offer is from a debt collector and you are passed 6 months delinquent, settling or paying in full is not going to make much difference to your credit score, so saving money in the settlement makes the most sense.

      I hope I addressed your question. If there is more to the situation post additional info in a comment reply.

  5. I spoke to a rep from T mobile and was told since they sold the debt there’s is nothing they can do to correct the amount. All I got was an I’m sorry, try to make the change with the collection agency. After, I told I have tried and they refer back to T mobile who reported that inaccurate amount in the first place.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Danny – What you are experiencing is the center of recent workshops hosted by both the FTC and CFPB. Debt seller passes on bogus info and data, knows about it, but cannot or will not do the right thing. Debt buyer only has the info given them.

      Best thing for you to do is file a complaint with the CFPB under debt collection here. Be very specific with what has occurred. You should see some meaningful responses with a couple weeks (maybe sooner from what I am hearing).

      It would be great if you posted an update to this comment string with how things progress from here.

  6. I had a student loan go into collections in June of 2006. After being harassed by the debt collectors I was able to set up payments through my original creditor, and they would then report the payments to the collection agency. I ran my credit report in April and it showed my collections account as passed due each month. I called my creditor and they explained that the late reporting was due to a timing issue on their end of when they reported the payment to the collection agency. She suggested that I contact the collection agency and make payments directly through them instead to avoid the late reporting. When I called the collection agency several months later to make payments through them, they said that they do not report late payments, but just report that the balance has gone down, so I decided not to make payments through them and look into it further. I realized after I called them that the negative account had been removed from my credit report since 7 years had passed. I have been making steady monthly payments for 7 years and still have a balance due. My fear is that I called them after this 7 year statute of limitations and now they can re-activate the negative account on my credit report. Is that accurate? I was not sure if there was a difference since I have been making payments and have never disputed the charges. Any help would be appreciated.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Erin – The negative credit reporting from the missed payments on the student loan would not reappear.

      • Student loans only report for 7 years from the date of default. WThe information the creditor gave you was wrong…once you default, the account stays negative until it drops off or the account is paid in full. You might have been sending payments to the creditor but they simply just direct pay them to the CA. Continue making payments until you are paid in full…call every 6 months or so to get current balance. Keep in mind when you defaulted you were charged up to 24% in collection fees plus your interest is still accruing.

  7. My husband and I are in the process of trying to buy a house. When they pulled up his credit report it showed asset accept for $3,270.00 and liberty acq for $ 208.00. But does not say for who. He had a credit card that cancelled on him either 2002 or 2003. there is nothing else he has incurred . Not even medical bills. My question is is this legal since it has been 9-10 years. We live in Colorado. Also these are judgements and he was never served. How can we proceed to fix this?

    Thank You, chris

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Chris – The judgments get a brand new credit reporting shelf life. In most instances they will stay on the credit report for 7 years from the date of judgment entry in the court. Can you access your court records on line and see when they were entered? What does the credit report show as the entry date? If you cannot access the court record on line, go to the court house and pull the info. More than credit report calculations, you also want to look at the court record to see what date, address, and who was supposedly served the lawsuit. Post a follow up comment with what you learn. Your options for proceeding to fix this can be impacted by what you have to share.

  8. Please help – I’m desperate!

    I have a daughter who is a freshman in college and a newborn baby (I started young!). I am $8k short on her tuition and I’m having trouble qualifying for a student loan. My situation: Credit score ranges from 630-650, however, I have 3 accounts in collections most from 5-6 yrs ago (I was a struggling single mom). And somewhat high credit utilization. I have a mortgage of $220k but it’s not on my report as my bank doesn’t report to the agencies ($1500/mo). I also have a car I just purchased but not on my report yet ($10k, $230/mo). I make $65k and my husband makes about the same.

    I can’t qualify for student loans I’m assuming for 3 reasons; score, debt/income ratio and accounts in collections ($450, $1800 & $700). What is the best possible way to qualify? And I need to do it fast – I need at least $4k by end of month. I tried to dispute the charges with no luck. Since then, one of the accounts was several years old and now has hit my report as a NEW account in collections!! I’ve received offers to settle but I don’t have enough money. I sent letters trying to get them to agree for a pay for delete for a lesser amount but no response. I think they are all scheduled to come OFF my report within the next 1-2 yrs. Should I just wait it out rather than pay if I really can’t afford these? And can the account that changed dates actually RENEW like this?

    Is there other options or courses of action you could recommend? I’m embarrassed to ask my family to cosign for her and there’s really only one who may be able to do so. My husbands credit is about the same as mine.

    Any help or advice is appreciated, I really don’t want to break my daughters heart, she is a great student.

    Thanks

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Julie – I have feedback to offer that centers on the credit reporting and collections, but I am sending this to a friend and infrequent comment contributor to the site who has had years of experience with both debt collection, and working in student aid and financing departments. Her reply, if she is available, will likely come from a more whole frame of reference, which is what you need. Hang tight.

  9. Were you applying for private or federal loans? Has your daughter taken out an unsub stafford?
    Did you do a FAFSA?? What type of school is she going to and have you talked to her financial aid department???

  10. I hired a law firm that specializes in correcting credit reports, Lexington Law. After failing to get it resolved on my own. Basically the collection agency just ignored me and the credit bureaus took the collection agency’s word, even after I sent proper documentation of the debt being paid off. I sent all of the paper work to Lexington Law showing that I paid off debt owed to an apartment complex after falling on hard times and loosing my employment then the apartment. I have a letter on the apartment complex letter head that states the amount was paid in full. The apartment complex then sold the debt to a disreputable collection agency National Credit System(s). This disreputable company increased the amount owed by about $2,936.00 or more and are now reporting that I owe them $4,376.00. My original lease contract stated that in the event of early termination or default on rent the maximum that I would be liable for is about $1,440.00, twice one months rent. So this disreputable collection company just tacked on an extra $2,936 just to make a massive profit. The original default was March 2009, the debt collection agency reported it as an account opened on 3/1/2010 a year later.

    Lexington Law fought this inaccurate report and it was removed from my credit report early in 2013. I have since reviewed my credit report and found that the disreputable collection agency National Credit System out of Atlanta Ga has re-reported it with a new date of 5/11/2013 thus as I understand it re-aging it. So now there are two issues, the amount owed is incorrect even if hit had not been paid off, but since it has been paid off it is totally incorrect, and they have reported it as a new debt with a new date that it was opened.

    It seems as though I have to keep getting this incorrect information off my report even after successfully fighting them and having it removed. I’m at risk of being homeless because of this disreputable company trying to abuse the system to fatten their wallets. I can’t buy a home or even rent a place. There are no jobs where I am currently residing, but I have a great offer for another state and in another city. So they are also preventing me from earning a living. Please help me stop this madness?

    Thank you in advance

    Jay B

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Jay – I encourage you to outline all that has happened with National Credit Systems in a complaint to the CFPB. You could file the complaint as a debt collection, or credit reporting issue. If I were in your shoes I would file as a debt collection issue. Here is the CFPB complaint page: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/

      Take care to outline all of the issues and the credit reporting concerns too. It would be great if you posted an update to this comment string with how this all shakes out. Later readers of this page will benefit from your experience.

  11. Hi… I’m still not sure what to do… my husband and I have been trying to buy a house, but when they check our credit reports it shows a old cell phone bill from 2000. It was with Nextel… but now Nextel is with Sprint… Sprint, is showing up on my credit report showing how much I owe them except it’s not effecting my credit score but it is on my credit report. When the banks pull my report, it shows a flag saying that I still owe them… I just read some thing about how I shouldn’t pay this because it could give them the opportunity to SUE me? Please help. ..don’t know what to do. … thnxs

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Cheryl – Where did you read about paying off a debt leading to the risk of being sued? It is the opposite. Paying off a collection debt is how you keep from being sued. But before you do that, I am wondering why a collection account, from a phone bill in 2000, is on your credit report at all? When exactly was the last payment made on this bill? If the last payment was made 13 years ago, the negative credit reporting from that should have dropped off of your credit reports 6-ish years ago.

      Exactly how is this showing on your credit report? And who is it that is reporting the collection?

  12. Michael, I have done a lot to turn my credit around since my first inquiry to you. I have a new question. I had some smaller amounts that I found after running my credit report (mainly medical bills I didnt realize I had due) I paid some off and now I am wondering if I paid something off, say today, that was already 3 years past due is it going to fall of my credit report 7.5 years from today or from the original date it became past due with the original medical provider? Thank you for all your help, you have really been a blessing to me to help take care of my past debt issues.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Jennifer – Thanks for coming back to the site and participating. The medical collections should drop off your credit report 7 to 7.5 years from the date payments stopped. Settling for less, or paying in full, 3 or even 5 years later, does not reset the time for it to stay on your credit reports.

      • Thank you so much for all your help. I am so excited to have my credit repaired!!

      • What about medical collections past SOL? I live in Michigan, SOL is 6 years. All 3 of mine pass SOL in Oct of this year (2014) The agecncy told me they could not negotiate a PFD without the account paid in full. I am wondering if I could attempt for PFD again after SOL is over? Are they able to negotiate then? I only contacted them to find out my options and get the original date of delinq. They have 3 seperate accounts on me for small amounts ($279, $239) and only have 3-4 months to take legal action. I’m not really concerned with being sued at this point. I just need the items removed, but for a smaller amount. Maybe in Oct they’ll reconsider?

        • Michael Bovee says:

          It is possible they will reconsider, but I doubt it. It is probably their policy. You would have to have a compelling reason for them to make an adjustment to their standard operating procedures. And even then they may not.

          What is going on in your credit life that has you concerned these three small collection accounts get removed from your credit reports now, as opposed to a year and a half from now?

          • I really want to get a mortgage. I am sick of renting and could be saving more money by paying less for a loan. I want to own something. I just want to move on from these collections and build my credit so I can have a better financial future. I have started by adding 2 new revolving accounts as of April. I have never had revolving credit on my report and I believe this will help to build a good history. I have studied hard on how to improve my credit and I just need these collections to GO AWAY! I can’t even get an installment loan to pay them off because …. I have collections. It’s a terrible situation. I don’t want to spend the only money I have to put toward an FHA loan getting these collections removed. It’s pointless in the end – because I end up with no down payment. I’m not sure what I can do at the moment. October looks bright – but I’m not sure if this new credit history will be enough to put me over a 620/640. Eq 571 (3 collections, 1 “other” account (with a lot of late payments, utility) and now these 2 revolving lines. That’s it! Oldest account over 3 years, and AAoA just dropped to a little over a year. 18% utl.

            • Michael Bovee says:

              It sounds like you either need more money, a skip forward button, or the patience to wait this out. This far along with collection items like this, you are looking at settling, or the collection accounts falling off your credit, in order to increase your ability to qualify for FHA underwriting.

              Do not allow any new derogatory information to appear on your reports, keep your utilization low like it is now, and you will probably be in the shape you need to be in when the collections roll off. It is probably a good idea to locate an FHA lender and start working with a loan officer too. Just be sure you connect with an experienced one. There are exceptions to the general guidance on underwriting from the FHA. You may qualify.

              • I understand, and that is what I thought about the collections. I am wondering though, if these 2 new added revolving accounts will be enough to raise my score within 6 months? I’ve had a “thin file” for so long and now I actually have some credit to show. But from what I understand, it takes FICO 6 months to score me on them. Is this correct? (Or are EQ/EX scorable because they had the “Other/Open” loan for 3 years?) I’m new to figuring out my credit and I really just want to know what to expect! I don’t want to have unrealistic expectations. I do intend to make on time payments from here on out and keep utilization low. I was hoping to be where I want (620/640) by October. If you have to break my heart and tell me it’s not possible – please do so. I need to hear the truth!

                • Michael Bovee says:

                  I do think it is possible, but more so from a point where the older collections drop off your credit reports, than from the seasoning of the newest trade lines.

              • One more question (Sorry). I just found out that for 1 of the medical collections (that was for my daughter) – she had insurance at the time! I’m having medicaid send me the proof of her eligibility at the time. But it’s 6 years down the road (almost) and I know Medicaid more than likely will not pay it. But I don’t know how this mistake happened in the first place. She’s always had insurance through the state! Is there any way to clear this one up? The OC is no longer collecting, it’s a CA.

                • Michael Bovee says:

                  I think you are fighting a huge uphill battle getting insurance applied to a 6 year old medical debt that has reached late stage collections. More so if the debt was sold.

                  • I received my verification of eligibility for my daughter’s insurance yesterday. I’m not sure what I can do with this document. Any recommendations?

                    How do I get the collection agency to settle for less for a deletion?? The SOL is up in 3/4 months. They’ve already stated to me that it would have to be paid in full to be deleted. I know there has to be some way around this. Do I just keep calling back? They have a very routine call where they notify you immediately that they are trying to collect a debt and the call is recorded. I made sure that the one time I called that I did not admit to the debt and just want to clean up my report.

                    I feel like I’ve hit a brick wall with these collections. There has to be somewhere to meet in the middle between letting them fall off or paying them in full. Please give me your opinion!

                    • Michael Bovee says:

                      What is the name of the collection agency, or debt owner?

                    • Money Recovery Nationwide. They are based in Livonia, MI.

                    • Michael Bovee says:

                      If it were me, I would let the SOL lapse, and save up more for my initial down payment in the mean time.

                      I do not think you will get a pay for delete from Money Recovery Nationwide. But you can resolve the debt by either paying the balance, or negotiating a lower payoff, and get your credit report updated to show the debt is paid. This may not help your credit score immediately, but can still help you get approved for a mortgage.

                    • I would like to negotiate a lower payoff – so how do I do that once the SOL passes? And what would be a reasonable offer? The 3 debts total $797. $239 of which I am still fighting because my daughter had insurance at the time.

                    • Michael Bovee says:

                      I generally target medical debts at 50% of the current balance. If there are severe hardship scenarios those targets can be lower.

                      Read through this post and the comments for tips and timing for settling with debt collectors: http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/question/medical-bills-collection-agency-settle-make-payments/

                • Jeffrey yi says:

                  Hi,
                  My question is I had a car loan of $8000 about 6, almost 7 years ago but my car was stolen so I stopped making payments. About a month ago I got a call from a debt collector saying I owed $4000 and they asked me to make payments. I made about 4 ($100) payments but I financially I cannot afford it. I told him I am not making anymore payments and id rather wait till if falls off. He said since I made payments it reset the years of how long it would take to fall off. Is this true? And what do you recommend I do? -Thank you for all your help -Jeff

                  • Michael Bovee says:

                    What is the name of the debt collection agency?

                    • Question regarding account bought by Midland credit management and I am in Virginia. Original debt was to Capital one for 1500. Capital one account says closed and $0 balance, sold to midland funding. Midland funding brought a judgement against me. I hired and attorney and went to court. Because they do not have the original documentation, the court agreed I did not have to pay. It is still on my credit reports and is now $2100. any advice on what to do about this. The balance date is Feb, 2010. I have disputed it last year and my reports reflect that.

                      Also I have a bankruptcy from January 2005. does this automatically come off next January or do I have to call and have them remove that.
                      Thanks

                    • Michael Bovee says:

                      Midland Credit Management on your credit reports will not necessarily be impacted by your getting a lawsuit dismissed, or even the court saying they could not prove their collections claim. Credit reporting from debt collectors is often separate from the court action unless you make that part of some outcome you are looking for.

                      The bankruptcy from 2005 should fall off your credit on schedule. You should not have to call or write the bureaus to get that removed. If for some reason the BK is not removed at the right time, post an update and lets go from there.

  13. Also, one of the citi credit cards I had was no interest no payments for 12 months, it was open 6/1/07 so does that mean since it technically wasnt past due until 7/1/08 that I need to wait 7.5 from 2008?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Jennifer – If the agreement with Citibank was such that your first late payment was not recorded, or considered late, until that 12 months elapsed, than that is when the first 30 day late pay should show on your credit reports. Can you verify when Citi is reporting the first 30 day late on one or more of your reports and post an update with what you found?

      • On this freecredit report I still have access to is only shows the date open. I could call them and find out though right?

        • Michael Bovee says:

          Yes, you can call and ask about it.

          Kinda weird that Citibank did not report a 30, 60, 90 day late etc., on your credit reports. Does the account show as charged off?

          • It does show charged off I am just trying to figure when it should fall of my report. Also I think another agency picked it up, and the original open date of the account was 6/2007 and the collection agency is saying open date of 8/2008.

            • Michael Bovee says:

              Collection agency and debt buyer reporting is another thing entirely. You do have to stay on top of that and be aware of any and all corresponding entries, that relate to a single account, drop from the credit report at the same time as the original creditors credit report entry. Collections reporting has had a tendency to report a date newer so that it can stay on the credit report longer. This is becoming easier to dispute with credit reporting bureaus and collection agencies directly. Having said that, the 12 month deferment puts the first late payment on the Citibank account pretty close to what the agency is reporting.

      • Also just so it’s clear for other readers, from my understanding if you make a payment on something past due, say 2 years past due, and then default on it again, it WILL reset the date to the most recent date you defaulted. Is this correct?

        • Michael Bovee says:

          Jennifer – Your example is too vague to respond to. Here is what I am referring to:

          Monthly credit card bill cannot be paid for 18 months. Collection calls and letters come and go, new debt collectors call for a while, then another new collector etc. At 18 months you are back on your feet with a new job that pays well. You pick up a call from a debt collector on this account and agree to payments. Two months later you are told in a review that you are not right for the position and are let go. You miss the 3rd scheduled payment you agreed to because you cannot afford it. Nothing in this example allows for a reset of the negative account to stay on your credit report for a fresh 7 years. The account would still drop off of your credit reports using the date you first stopped paying the original credit card bank.

          There are instances where an account can be brought current or re-aged, and thereby have longer credit reporting legs, but with credit card bills that usually needs to happen before creditors charge off debts, so accounts get turned around after only a few months budget shortfall. Even then, 30/60 day late pays on open accounts are going to age off too.

          Did that answer the question?

          • I think so…. So when it is with original lender and you go past due and then bring current, then at that point if you become past due again then it will be a “NEW” report for a new set of late payments but the old report from the first late payments will age off for its own separate report. If an account if far enough past due for it to go to collections then that account will never change with the original past due date since you cant truly get “New” charges (other than fees).

            • Michael Bovee says:

              Pretty much how you said it, yes. There are some nuances I could throw in there, but they do not apply to your situation with accounts that old.

  14. I have a collection that i paid off and its due to age off in 2015. Will this improve my credit score?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      jason – Maybe. How long ago did you pay the collection account? Is it showing a zero balance owed or paid on your credit reports now? Were you paying attention to your credit scores at the time you paid the debt off? If so, what were your scores before and after paying the lender/collection agency?

  15. I owed Chase about 10K on 2 different accounts. Hired an attorney who helped us settle other credit cards. All others are settled and we get a copy of a 1099-C for each account showing Chase has written off the entire amount. Now that shows on our credit report as a much more negative than the others that we settled for less than the total balance. We were very surprised becuase we were willing to settle. How do we fix this so the reporting to the credit agencies is not so negatively affected? How do we get Chase to change the reporting to the credit agencies?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Steve – What is the date showing for the Chase charge off accounts on your credit reports? It is normal for credit cards to show charge off after 180 days on nonpayment. It is normal for Chase to report there is a balance due and still owed. If Chase sells the debt, it is normal for Chase to then show zero owed to them on your credit reports, and for the debt buyer to later show up as a collection account and show that they are now owed the balance.

      Where do both Chase credit cards fit in your credit reports given that brief outline?

      Credit reporting and the 1099c are not related. But there may be some options for you to pursue here. Post answers and any additional details in a follow up comment and lets go from there.

      • Account submitted to collection on 10-13. In April of 2012 I had never been late on a payment in over 30 years of payment history. Several credit card companies raised my interest and payments by an extreme amount. I called to discuss and I was told by two different companies that I had never been late so there was nothing to negotiate. I then hired an attorney and stopped paying these credit cards. I have settled all but these 2 chase, which I was willing to settle but instead the 1099′s showed up and they just wrote the debt off. We are wanting to purchase a home and the settled debt is OK but these two Chase accounts are a problem. I appreciate your counsel here.

        • Michael Bovee says:

          Steve – With the Chase treating these accounts as forgiven debt for IRS reporting purposes, does the balance owed on your credit reports show zero? Let me know and I will have some additional feedback to share.

          • Michael,
            The balances I owed are still showing on my credit report.

            • Michael Bovee says:

              Steve – Can we connect on the phone about your issues and my feedback? I am out today and Friday. Let me know with a reply to the comment notification emails you get.

  16. I had a dept for unpaid vehicle (divorce) it came off my cr because of age , it was back in 2005 original (last payment) . I just received a letter from a credit agency for the dept , it’s almost 9 years old , how do I get it off ? Do I dispute with the collection agency or credit agencies (transition etc) or both ? How do I go about doing that ?

  17. Should I do by phone , mail or computer?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Matt – If the debt aged off of your credit reports after 7 years already, it should not have reappeared. Who is reporting the collection account to the bureaus? Is it only appearing on TransUnion, or have you checked your other credit reports and it appears there too?

      Your answers to those questions will help me offer better feedback. Once you are ready to dispute a collection entry on your credit report that should not be there, it is best to do that through the mail and by sending certified return receipt.

  18. Matt…the car was paid off in 2005?? If s, as a good debt it would continue to report for 10 years, regardless of your divorce. A divorce is a family court matter…they have no bearing on debts whatsoever. If a party refuses or does not pay what is order by a family court order, you would have to take that party back to court on contempt. To the creditor, your name is still legally responsible for the debt.

  19. If I had an unpaid debt in June of 2006 and it was charged off but sold twice, this last time in Dec. 2013 and no payments have been made in 7 years can this new collection agency that just bought it put it on my credit report as opened in Dec. 2013 (which is what they have done)? Am I able to have it removed since it was originally over 7 years old?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      sandy – From what you shared January 2014 would be 7.5 years from the accounts first missed payment, so any negative credit reporting related to the account should drop off your credit reports. Yes, you can dispute things like this and get the corrected/removed. First some questions:

      Is the original credit still reporting this? If so, what date to they show as your first missed payment?
      Who is the debt collector or buyer that is suddenly reporting this?
      Is this collection account showing on all of your credit reports? If not all, which ones have this on there?

  20. Can you tell me how to find out the original late date on a debt that is now with a collection agency? I have a few accounts that are showing opened 2006/2007 but reported 2011, 2012, 2013. if I remember correctly my last payment was in or around 2006/2007 but before I dispute I would like to verify. thank you in advance for your time.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      tatiana – Which credit report are you looking at in order to determine your date of last payment?

      • Im getting the info from scoresence it shows all 3..

        • Michael Bovee says:

          Are you able to match up the original creditors that are showing up as a negative item with those that are appearing from collection agencies?
          Your date of first missed payment on the original accounts in the reports should be what you use to measure when those, and any later collection entries for the same accounts, would fall off. You can raise disputes on those more recent debt collections reporting if they are reporting a much more recent date than the ones from 2006 that are likely supposed to have fallen off, or soon will. 2007 dates may not age off until sometime this year, or early part of 2015 (depending on when the first payments were missed).
          If you cannot find a corresponding entry for the more recent collection accounts you know are older, it could be that those should have fallen off with the original entries, but did not due to how the debt collectors reported. These can be disputed as too old.

  21. I made an agreement to pay off a debt through a collection agency and after the agreement I checked my credit report and it does not even show. can I stop payment with that CA?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      tatiana – It may be that your agreement to pay off the collection account is not going to update to your credit reports until you meet the agreement (made the final payment). Who did you make the deal with, and what are the payment arrangements?

  22. Hi if I have a debt that does not show up on my credit report anymore and is a student private loan not a student federal loan. Do I still have to pay that back?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      yousef – Who is the lender? When was the last payment sent in? What state are you in?

      • Hello, I have the same problem and with a student private loan that is old. I filed for a ch.13 bankruptcy which held them off from collecting from me and now I am finished paying the bankruptcy. I finished the bankruptcy in 2013 and am now recieving phone calls from collectors for the private loan. I live in California and the Experian report does not show a start date. It’s NCO Financial Services and says its a closed account. Lately I have been getting phone calls from an attorneys office about it. I’m not sure what to do. I don’t know when it started being reported as late but I did start my bankruptcy in 2008. Any information on what I should do or to better understand it would be wonderful. Thanks!

  23. Hi,
    Yesterday I recieved a collection letter on a Sears card balance that had been charged off in June 2006, I recently pulled my credit report and it is not showing up on it anymore either. My question is since I live in California I’m i still legally required to pay this debt now that I received a collection letter and should I respond with a validation letter request or should I just ignore it now that is has been 7.7 months since it charged off.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Cristine – From what you shared, your debt appears to have reached an age where many would define it as a zombie. If the state SOL to file a legitimate collection suit has passed (4 years in California), and the credit reporting limit of typically 7.5 years is up, meaning the collection account cannot hurt your credit, it’s dead, but still walks around from one debt collector to another.

      I do see people circle back and settle or pay off debts this old, but for personal reasons. Any meaningful collection leverage is gone.

      The quickest way to stop collection efforts with zombie debt is usually sending a cease communication letter certified mail return receipt to any debt collector that writes or calls. Some of the less than exemplary debt collector tactics are used on debts that are really old. If something pops up that doesn’t seem right to you, post an update and lets go from there.

      • Thank you for your response, I would like to settle the account I just have
        worked so hard to get my credit solid again I didn’t want anything to
        jeopardize it now.

        • Michael Bovee says:

          Christine – Settling an account at this late stage of collection is usually pretty straight forward. What is the name of the collection company that is contacting you?

          • The letter is from Capital Management Sevices, Buffalo NY, and the balance is approximately $1000 with their interest.

            • Michael Bovee says:

              Christine – If I were ready to settle this debt I would probably not offer more than 25% of that balance. Be sure to get the deal documented before you pay anything. Read this report for more information about getting everything in writing.

              • Michael

                Thank you for the advise, it definetly has put my mind at ease and give me a game plan to finally get this behind me.

                • Can you tell me how long a repo stays on your cr in tx

                  • Michael Bovee says:

                    Matt – I am not aware of anything in Texas that would change what is typically a 7 credit reporting shelf life for the auto repossession, starting from the date of the first missed payment.

  24. Hi, I have several small collections on my credit some of which I paid but was never report, all of which r from 8 to 10 yrs ago and the debt keeps getting bought out, will this ever come off? And they all r still affecting my credit

    • Michael Bovee says:

      michael – Generally, any collections 8 plus years old (that long since payments were missed) should already be off of your credit reports. I suspect you may have had a few debt collectors reage your accounts when they started reporting the negatives years ago. Can you post some of the collection companies still showing up and indicate whether you paid or settled with them, and also if you are able to tie that collection account with an original creditor that is still showing on your credit report?

  25. Hello,

    I have an account that is now 6 years old. The original creditor was HSBC, a Best Buy store card. As of this Month it has been sold to NCB Management, a debt buyer. The date of last activity is now January 2014. I have had no activity in 6 years. Waiting for the SOL to expire is not an option..but I am unsure of how to handle this. This is actually the second time this has happened. This time it has caused a 41 pt drop in my credit score. Any help at all would be greatly appreciated.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Whitney – How many times is this same debt appearing, or been reported, on your credit report? Who had it before National Collections Bureau (all of them)?

      By waiting for the credit reporting SOL to expire not being an option, am I correct in assuming you meant letting the get away with reaging the collection account is not going to happen? Is there some reason you need to resolve this collection debt now?

  26. Hi,
    I was wondering if you may have some insight into my current situation. I live in NY and had a private student loan go into default about two years ago. The original loan debt owed was $19,000. Since then it has been sold over and over again multiple times. Each time it is sold a new collection account pops up on my report with a newer collection date and a higher amount owed. It is now listed as just over $34,000 debt with a date of 12/13. It is also currently listed on three times (the original debt as a charge off, then twice by two different collection agencies for roughly the same amount, one being about $400 higher than the other). How do I go about fixing this issue? And should these collection reports eventually be removed when the original charge off account will be removed (in about 5 years if it is not settled before then). Thanks.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Crystal – Is the original creditor reporting a balance still owed to them, or does is show zero due? What are the names of the two debt collectors showing on your credit report. Which one is trying to collect now?

      The collections should fall off at the same time the original lenders trade line ages off, but collections are sometimes reporting with more recent dates, so you have to keep track and monitor your credit consistently around that time. You can dispute those items off when the time comes. You can also dispute multiple entries for the same debt that should not appear and cause triple jeopardy. I often suggest waiting for the smoke to clear on the SOL to be sued for collection, or after you have settled, or otherwise resolved the debt, before trying to clean up collections.

      What are your credit goals now and looking forward a few years? Are there other collection items on your credit reports?

  27. Crystal….As a general rule, private loans are NOT sold, but assigned to CA’s. Your loan balance is going up because your interest is accruing and capitalizing on itself. Plus as the loan ages, the collection fees go up. Also, private loans do sue, generally right before SOL expires.That can affect your credit up up to 20 more years and will end up costing you more in court and legal costs. Also it is normal for student loans to have multiple trade lines…the lender, the guarantor and then the CA/or law office.

  28. Hi! Michael. I received a call and a person told me my name, and ask if this was me, I said yes, and then she said is this the last four digits of your Social Security, and I said yes. This ended up being a Debt Collector, she called on February 3rd 2014 at 2:42pm about a Citibank card, I thought the lady was talking about an AT&T Card, that I closed out sometime last year, she got agitated, and said when did you pay it, and to whom. I told her, I’m a little confuse, I had close that account, because my wife had past away, and I didn’t need that card anymore. The lady said I’m talking about a debt you owe back in the 1990′s. I kinda laugh and then said, I have know idea what you’re talking about, my credit is perfect, and I owe no one anything. She went on and on about what they will do to my credit, if this is not paid off. I told her she’s mistaken, it’s not me, and I hung up. She call again today, from a different number on February 7th 2014 1:34pm, but in a more threatening boiterous voice, and more things about what this will do to my perfect credit. I got angry, I told her I have know idea what you’re talking about, an hung up. Today February 11th 2014 I received a letter from this Creditor, I won’t mention names, but the letter states you currently owe $6703.05 with accumulated interest, it also states the Original Creditor, this is about a Visa Card. I don’t remember having, and I don’t believe I ever did have this card, but it’s possible. This is 20 plus years ago, and I’ve had many Credit Cards in my life, but I know I never defaulted on any of them, and I don’t understand why or believe it’s mine. I have Identity Theft Protection, with a company, and they e-mail my an alert during this time frame. So I went on line to see what it was about, same Collection Agency that call, and the one that sent the letter. I got nervous, and got all of the three Credit Reports, only one Equifax shows this Collection Agency, the others showed nothing. Equifax showed that they were only inquiring. My credit report goes only back to 1996, with 19 still active, and all in good standing. Not one single late payment, in all that time, everything paid as agreed. Can you please give some incite on what I should do. I don’t want something like this to come up, and bite me in the ass, just because I ignored it. Thanks.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Max – Mistakes happen with debt collectors. Even if this debt were valid, and you knew it to be yours, I would still consider any collection attempt on a debt 20 years old to be a mistake.

      If it were me, I would send this collection agency back a a cease communication letter. I would send it certified mail return receipt requested.I would keep a copy of the letter and the return card I get from USPS together in a safe place. You can use the sample letter language from the Cease Communication letter available on the CFPB website here (last bullet item).

      If you hear from any one at that collection agency after you know they received your letter, post an update to this comment string and lets go from there.

      The debt collector soft inquiry on your Equifax credit report should not impact you.

  29. Hi! Michael
    Thank you for your prompt reply. I do have a question. Should I send the Collector their original Statement back or a copy, together with the Cease Communication letter? Sorry just one more question. I find it odd that the Statement doesn’t show any account numbers anywhere on it, only the payment stub is there an account number. If I was to have paid this Collector, I would have never had an account number for reference. I looked at all of my banks, and credit card statements, and other bills, they all have account numbers on both. Michael, is this a bit unusual? Thanks again for your help, Max

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Max – With such an increased awareness of debt collection practices, information easily obtained on the web, new collection guidelines that will be applied nationally later this year/beginning of next, what you have going is a bit less usual, than say 10 years ago.

      You could send a copy back with the letter, but keep the original for your records.

  30. I recently ran my credit report and noticed a collection agency on it. It apparently got turned over to them in March 2013. I never received a bill from the originator or had any communication regarding this debt. It stems from a medical situation and didn’t even know that this particular company was involved. The debt is only $387 and I would have gladly paid it if I had known about it. Is there anything I can do (aside from paying it, which I will immediately) to get it off my credit report and raise my score back up? I currently have a 734 and am typically around 780.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Christine – Before calling the collection agency to resolve the debt, call the medical service provider or their billing company, and see if you can pay this debt directly and get it removed from your credit reports. Explain that there was a misunderstanding, billing error – or something – and it was never your intention for a bill to have gone unpaid. Only after you have tried that (even with a few phone calls), would I look to pay the debt collector.

  31. Hi! Michael I found a form letter that I think will solve a lot of peoples aggravation, including my own. I did look at the form letters that this website had to offer, but they didn’t seem to have enough to get the information one would need to fight off a debt collector. Please let me know what you think? I do value your comments. I haven’t sent this letter out yet, just waiting for your feed back. Again thanks for all of your help. Here it goes!

    To Whom It May Concern:
    I am sending this letter to you in response to a notice I received from you on 02/10/2014. Be advised, this is not a refusal to pay, but a notice sent pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 USC 1692g Sec. 809 (b) that your claim is disputed and validation is requested.
    This is NOT a request for “verification” or proof of my mailing address, but a request for VALIDATION made pursuant to the above named Title and Section. I respectfully request that your office provide me with competent evidence that I have any legal obligation to pay you.

    Please provide me with the following:
    • What the money you say I owe is for;
    • Explain and show me how you calculated what you say I owe;
    • Provide me with copies of any papers that show I agreed to pay what you say I owe;
    • Provide a verification or copy of any judgment if applicable;
    • Identify the original creditor;
    • Prove the Statute of Limitations has not expired on this account;
    • Show me that you are licensed to collect in my state; and
    • Provide me with your license numbers and Registered Agent.

    If your offices have reported invalidated information to any of the three major Credit Bureau’s (Equifax, Experian or TransUnion), said action might constitute fraud under both Federal and State Laws. Due to this fact, if any negative mark is found on any of my credit reports by your company or the company that you represent I will not hesitate in bringing legal action against you for the following:
    • Violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act
    • Violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
    • Defamation of Character

    If your offices are able to provide the proper documentation as requested, I will require at least 30 days to investigate this information and during such time all collection activity must cease and desist.
    Also during this validation period, if any action is taken which could be considered detrimental to any of my credit reports, I will consult with my legal counsel. This includes any information to a credit reporting repository that could be inaccurate or invalidated or verifying an account as accurate when in fact there is no provided proof that it is.
    If your offices fail to respond to this validation request within 30 days from the date of your receipt, all references to this account must be deleted and completely removed from my credit file and a copy of such deletion request shall be sent to me immediately.
    I would also like to request, in writing, that no telephone contact be made by your offices to my home or to my place of employment. If your offices attempt telephone communication with me, including but not limited to computer generated calls or correspondence sent to any third parties, it will be considered harassment and I no will have choice but to file suit. All future communications with me MUST be done in writing and sent to the address noted in this letter.
    This is an attempt to correct your records, any information obtained shall be used for that purpose.

    Best Regards, Max

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Max – This debt validation/dispute letter is much longer than it need be, but that is not a problem per say. My concern about such letters are the expectations people have when sending something like this. People tend to think they will receive something responsive to all of the points in the letter, but that is not realistic. I also have never understood the point of sending a letter with threats of suing in order to protect your rights. Any debt collector that has been in operation for more than a year should be real familiar with their legal obligations under the FCRA and FDCPA. No threats are necessary.

      There are a ton of letters out there like this that people use. But people often send them out not understanding how simple it is for a debt collector to meet their obligation to validate a debt. And folks may not quite understand how sending letters like this may actually lead to more aggressive collection steps being taken, like suing to collect a debt, or that you may actually prefer to resolve a debt (if that is your goal in the first place) with the specific collector contacting you, as opposed to the next place the account may land (account gets placed or sold elsewhere for collection as a result of a letter like that being received).

      I suppose if you are going to use a template letter, you might want to go with one that the CFPB has on their site. You can review those letters here. Some of those letters are even longer than yours. But vusing them will let the collector know where you got it. And I suspect that would lead them to the assumption that you know how to file a complaint against them with the CFPB. But most collectors will look at all of this the same way regardless.

      You referenced form letters you found on this site in your comment, but I have not really published anything like that. Mainly because I focus most of my time, and the content on this site, to helping people resolve legitimate debts – not fight off a debt collector. Form letters like the one you posted, or most any letter sent to a debt collector, can be used as part of a strategy to resolve debts. But they tend to be used, at least in my opinion, as a tool to make debt collectors go away and chase someone else. And to that end, I find using these letters to be a mixed bag.

      What exactly is your goal with any legitimate debts you have out there in different stages of collection?

  32. Hi I have a couple of questions:

    1) I have a private loan $21,000 that shows up on Transunion report only. It is due to go off my credit report this spring/summer. They have not contacted me in many years and the original lender is not even reporting to the credit agencies. It does not seem to be affecting my score too much, although my transunion score is a bit lower. I live in Illinois so I think the SOL is 10 years (it has been 7 years). Is it possible they will sue me even after it goes off my credit report this year? Would they have sued me by now or can/do they wait until close to the SOL?

    2) I have a closed charge-off account for $3541. It is not a collection account but they are hounding me for payment. I made the mistake of picking up their call but told them I have to do some research before I consider paying them. It now states ” Deragatory charge off occurred in 2/14″ on my identity guard information page and “balance date” on my report also states 2/14. Does this mean the debt/SOL reset? I believe that it become derogatory initially in 2009 and I have not paid anything since before it was derogatory. I’m not sure how this account is affecting my credit score.

    3) I have raised my credit score 20-80 points in 2 months by paying all accounts on time, opening up 2 credit cards totaling $2500 and disputing incorrect information. However, I have several late payments on my several student loan accounts (60, 90, 120 days late) over the years with the last being Oct 2013. I’m wondering if I pay everthing on time for 2 years if this will significantly improve my score?

    Thank you

    • Michael Bovee says:

      1. Some creditors and debt owners are more prone to place accounts with collection attorneys, with authorization to sue in order to get paid, in the 6 months leading up to the SOL expiring. But that is not always the case, and some (larger banks and smaller credit unions) are prone to more aggressive collection efforts long before the SOL need be considered. How sophisticated is the lender? Does your local court see them listed as plaintiff in many cases? Is this a business loan, or personal? These are just some of the questions I have in order to help you assess how likely they are to sue now, or for the time remaining with Illinois SOL on written agreements.

      2. If you could post the name of the creditor with the closed charge off showing on your credit report I would be better able to offer feedback. Generally, the SOL for credit reporting is not going to reset, though a court judgment for the same account gives a collection account a new and different type of shelf life. It is possible to reset the SOL in your state to be legitimately sued for collection, but from the sound of it, that did not happen (need to know more here too).

      3. Paying all existing accounts showing on your credit report on time, and for 24 months, would likely improve your credit scores. The negatives you have now would age off by then, which is going to help too. But what are your scores now, and what are your credit goals, or loan product you will be looking to get approved with fair pricing, in the next few years?

  33. I just check my credit score, which I haven’t done in 7 years plus because I already knew my score of low from debt. I got all my Debt while living in Ohio at a young age. I’m 30 now and moved to Florida going on 8 years in April. I have no had any new credit cards and all the ones from when I was 18-20 have been closed for years. All of these old credit debts have also been in collection for at least 8 years. Will they ever go away? How can I get them off my credit report and start fresh?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Bethany – Can you post a list of who is appearing on your credit report today (names of companies, banks, debt collectors), the balances reported as still due, and the type of accounts you had back then (credit card, store card, personal loan, utility bills forgotten)? I can offer feedback once I have a better picture of what is showing.

  34. Michael Bovee says:

    Moving comment discussion:

    Amanda said:
    “My immediate goal is to get my credit score to a minimum of 620. We are hoping to buy a new house using my husband’s VA benefits in the next year. As of two weeks ago, my credit score was 587. My husband’s is 640, so we are good to go with his credit. I am looking at my credit report, and of course the judgement was the biggest obstacle on it. However, we have a $1300 closed Capital One credit card balance, a $380 HSBC closed credit card balance, a $359 Old Navy closed credit card balance along with about $3400 in 11 different medical bills tht have been reported to my credit. That was the end of the derogatory items, thank goodness!!! Our home is in my name alone. (Ironically enough when we bought our home, our credit situations were reversed.) We have 2 vehicles and a $6300 loan in both our names that is helping my credit situation. We owe about $3000 on that loan (We will be paying off as soon as we have the judgement situation taken care of.) I have a Capital One credit card, a Best Buy (Capt One) Card, and a Credit One credit card in just my name that have ZERO balance on them. Soooo, after all that, can you suggest a quicker route to increase my credit score? THANK YOU AGAIN FOR YOUR ADVICE!!!”

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Amanda – Are the accounts you listed as closed (CapOne, HSBC, Old Navy) still receiving payments, or are they collection accounts. If in collection, for how long?

      How old are the medical collections? Are you prepared to settle them as well?

      Settling the judgment we discussed on the other thread is part of the picture, but depending on your answers to the above questions, these accounts are holding you back as much or more.

      The quickest route to improving your credit will depend on the answers to your questions too.

  35. Hey Michael. The weirdest thing happened today. I got a phone call from an atty’s office trying to collect on a credit card my husband had TWELVE years ago!!! They were actually trying to verify our information so they could have us served with paperwork to go to court. Yup, we were fixing to be sued for a Wells Fargo card my husband had. Talk about ironic, huh? If I did’t know any better, I’d say they knew we were trying to settle our finances, and now was the perfect time to come knocking! Twelve years ago, my husband had this Wells Fargo credit card with a limit of $500. Today the atty’s office wanted close to $7000! After I calmed down, I did some pleading and groveling and got the balance down to $501.23. I had to pay it while on the phone with them today, but it was worth keeping us out of a public record judgement in his name AND saving us from the $7000! I couldn’t believe they were coming after him twelve years later! Anyway, back to the game plan…
    The credit cards we have been talking about have been turned over to collections.
    The CapOne card shows to have been charged off 11/10. ($1302)
    The HSBC was charged off 11/10. ($380)
    The Old Navy Card was charged off 7/10. ($359)
    All three also show to have been purchased by another lender. (I’m not sure exactly what this means.)
    I’m just going to list the medical debts to try to answer your timing question:
    8/13 $478
    8/13 $438
    8/12 $253
    7/12 $165
    12/09 $164
    6/12 $163
    8/13 $122
    2/11 $99
    8/12 $76
    12/09 $67

    We DO want to settle all of the above issues; however, we owe about $1000 in local bills right now (in addition to the $594 that remains from the Citi Financial Sears judgement settlement from before) that we will pay first. We are looking at about 3 months before we can start to whittle on the debts above, BUT we will get to them!

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Amanda – Debts that are beyond the SOL to sue you, and to appear on your credit reports, are off the radar. Anyone trying to collect on debts that old can be sent a cease communication letter as long as you are certain that the SOL is passed.

      It is not an “as if” that debt collectors somehow appear to know that you are settling or paying collection debts. They often actually do know. There use software and/or services from companies that can alert them to changes in your credit reports. When an account gets updated as paid/settled, or you apply for new credit, they can be alerted. This is sometimes why people seem to get bombarded by new collection calls and notices on debts they had not heard anything about for a couple years. If any more collectors call about debts that old, post about it here before taking any action. It would be good to hit priority debts, like those appearing on your credit reports now, in order to reach your goals sooner.

      The credit card debts shown as purchased by another lender – It would be good to know by whom, but generally I target settlements with debt buyers at somewhere between 30% and 50%. I would look to settle those credit card bills you listed first, then circle back with the medical bills.

      When you are ready to get started, I may have the second and third stage settlement with debt collector sections up on the site. Check back for updates on those new sections that will have tips for what you will be working toward. You can subscribe to the RSS feed on the site to get email updates of new sections being published.

  36. Oh, and the $500 (or $7000 total balance) from the Wells Fargo card IS NOT ON my husband’s credit report!!! Which was another reason I couldn’t believe they were so aggressive.

  37. I have been trying to dispute an auto loan that I opened in 2005 that was originally with Americredit that is now with GM Financial. That account is paid in full and has been for over 3 years. In the begining I did have some 30 day late payments but not toward the last 3 1/2 years of the loan. These late payments are still affecting me when I try to apply for credit. With the exception of these late payments I have an excellent payment history and have been able to make several new car purchases however some lenders won’t take me due to those late payments. My question is since this account is almost 9 years old from the opening does the SOL apply and should the credit bureaus remove it?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Adam – Negative information has a shelf life of 7 years in the instance you are describing (if I interpret what you shared correctly). What are the precise dates of the lat pays showing on your credit? And are these late pays showing the same on all credit reports, or are they not showing on some?

  38. I went through a divorce a few years back as well as the loss of a business. I used a settlement attorney to settle out my debt, all except for one debt with chase was settled. The balanced owed is right at $10k. The SOL in NC appears to be 3 years and the last payment activity on the account was back in early 2009. My understanding is that if you contact the creditor after that SOL they can use that as a recognition of the debt and restart the clock. My credit score has begin to climb from the low of 520 to about 640 now (even with this out there) and continues to get better each quarter. My question is regarding this aged account, is it worth calling them to settle? Or should I continue to let it age off entirely? My wife and I are planning to purchase a new home next year and suspect that by the end of this year my score will be at about 670, not great but reasonable enough for a mortgage. I have a secured and unsecured card that are helping to rebuild my score and a car. I have never been late on a mortgage in my life, no bankruptcy, no lates on car payments etc. I am unsure how to proceed on this one particular debt, any advice would be great. Thanks

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Mike – That unpaid account with Chase showing on your credit report will skew debt to income calculations, and that could mean an impact to how you are viewed using the “ability to repay” rule – new this year. You could also find that the existence of an unresolved account (regardless of the SOL expiration), could be a concern with loan approval.

      Can you come up with the money to settle this? How long will it take to pool together, say 4k? Are you comfortable calling and negotiating the settlement yourself? If you do circle back to settle this one, I would wait to wake up that sleepy little bear until you have the money together.

      • I can pull cash together quickly I was not sure what a reasonable settlement amount would be to close this quickly.

        • Michael Bovee says:

          Mike – If it were me, and with how aged the debt is, I would start with an offer of, say 25% to settle with Chase (if they still have it), with an expectation that it could be higher, up to 40%. If you find out Chase does not have the account, ask who does, and for contact details if available. Post an update and lets go from there.

          You may want to consider talking to a loan officer about your credit profile, and the unpaid collection. Just to round out the feedback you are getting.

  39. My husband took a car loan 7year back in which he defaulted to pay. But after 7 year collection agencies are calling me at my office for default even though i don’t live with my husband. but collection agencies are harassing me for not paying loan taken by my husband and collection agencies are calling at hr department. it is really frustrating. how do i deal with this?
    please help.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Somya – Did you cosign for the loan back then? Was there ever any lawsuit filed to collect on the deficiency balance? What is the name of the collection agency calling your HR department? Did the debt collector mention anything about the fact they are trying to collect a debt to the the person at your job they spoke with?

      I am asking all of these questions so that I can offer more focused feedback. Also, what state are you in?

  40. I received two collection notices today, both of which are for debts that are over 10 years old. They both don’t show up on my credit report as I just had my credit report pulled yesterday. Should I ignore the notices or respond to them and dispute? I could pay them if I need to but I don’t want them to show up on my report after the fact.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      joanne – What state do you live in? Were the debts ever taken to court? Are you certain that no payment was made for all of those years? What are the names of the debt collectors contacting you?

      • I live in California. The debts have never been taken to court and no payments have been made. The name of the collection agency is Convergent.

        Thanks!

        • Michael Bovee says:

          Joanne – If the debts were unsecured debts, like credit card or similar bills, the SOL to legitimately sue in California would have passed. What types of debts were these?

          If indeed unsecured debts, and passed the SOL, sending debt collectors, like Convergent, a cease communication letter, will stop collection calls and notices from them. The danger in sending cease communication letters is that it leaves creditors and collectors only two options to try to collect from you:

          1. Violate federal law (often state consumer protection laws too), by ignoring your cease communication letter and continuing collection efforts over the phone or in writing.

          2. Limits the contact they can have with you to collecting through the courts, which means suing you, and that is something most of us would choose to avoid.

          You are passed the risk of being sued, and if you were sued, you would have a simple time of putting that to rest. And if they continue trying to collect from you through the phone and mail, you have an action you can bring against them.

          You could also just do nothing.

  41. They are very old credit card debts. I think I will just ignore the letters. Thanks for you response Michael! You have been very helpful.

  42. Hi Michael I been reading all your reply’s for ppl answers which I think is just awesome you give nothing but great advice…I have a question I had a At&t cell phone bill that was put on my credit report by three different creditors each with different amounts march 2013 I disputed the incorrect amounts and different accounts down to one account which is accurate that i know of they are reporting to EQ and Ex I pulled my CR again just a few weeks ago feb 25 2014 the account is no longer on my report is it possible who ever took it off can put it back on my CR?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Will – Thanks for the thumbs up. I am assuming the reporting you want back up there is a positive trade line? Who was reporting it? What is the reason you are sensitive to it being back on your credit reports?

  43. well is a collection account that had a balance of 412 that i was looking to make a payments on but when I seen that it wasnt on my CR that kinda messes things up because if it some how get back on my CR it will drop my score right?

  44. btw thank you for your reply and your welcome :)

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Will – Depending on the credit scoring model, your score can go down some with a paid collection. But some models do not hit you for a paid collection. The ones that do, only temporarily. Are there other debt collectors showing on your credit reports? And how long ago was it that these debts were paid?

      • The debt isnt paid yet thats the thing I was going to set up a payment plan but its no longer on my report there was three other ones but they got paid off last year they were small balances ..are they able to keep deleting a account then keep putting the account on back on the report?? and if so would I be able to dispute the account if if does show back up ?

        • Michael Bovee says:

          Will – Once you pay it, and if it does show back up on your credit reports (I suspect it will), it may not be that big a deal, and less of a deal (credit score hit) over time.

          Do you have a big credit or loan product you are seeking in the next 3 to 6 months? How about in the next year?

          What would be the premise of your dispute if the collection account shows back up after you pay, or agree to make payments?

  45. I have a 8 year old collection and the old debt is resolved but the new collection agency has picked it up and has added an additional 2 grand to the account. Do you think i should send in a dispute or leave it be?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      marcus – It sounds like the old collection is passed the point of showing on your credit reports, is that correct?

      When was it you resolved the old debt? Who did you resolve it with? Who is contacting you now?

      I can offer better feedback if I know the answers to those questions.

  46. thanks for your reply…Im in the process of cleaning up my credit to get a loan for a house in 3 years or so…so I want to get rid of all negative accounts on my file and keep them off…but I know this process is going to take time I started last year Jan 2013 with my credit clean up so far so good just a few loose ends.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      You do not need every negative off of your credit report to qualify for a home, or to get the best available interest rate. These days, with new mortgage lending rules, you do want to have unpaid accounts resolved. You have a huge head start over most folks who look to repair their credit to make a large purchase like a home. I suspect, from all of your comments about your current situation, resolving all collection accounts; maintaining good accounts on your credit reports now (or obtaining a couple if you are light on credit trade lines); saving money for a down payment; and maintaining a healthy debt to income ratio, you will be golden in 3 years.

  47. :) that is such great news to hear…Thank you so much for your help.

  48. Ok, so my husband and I have taken on the responsibility of tackling our credit and cleaning it up. We paid off 4 debts that were shown on my husbands credit report. Now all of a sudden other creditors are on the credit report that were not there 2 months ago. One of them is from a Collection Company that acquired the acct from the original Cellular Company. Now if the Cellular Company ever reported this as a charge off on my husband’s credit report, how can the Collection Company that now owns the debt report to the credit report. It’s like getting slapped twice for the same debt. Is that legal?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Selyn – Unfortunately yes, and it is all too common. But be sure only one creditor or debt collector is reporting a balance owed, as multiple credit report entries for the same account balance due is wrong, and can be fixed.

  49. How is the FCRA compliance date set for medical collections accounts. I have 2 accts from 2007 with DOFD listed as 2009. I disputed several times and keeps coming back verified. The bills are from two ER visit co payments

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Melanie – Most any negative entry on your credit report is going to have a 7 to 7.5 year shelf life. There are some limited exceptions to this, but the fact that this is medical debt is not one of them.

      Add 7, or 7 and a half years to 2007 and the debts would age off this year. If 2009 is the starting point the credit reporting agencies are using, even longer.

      What is the position you are using in your disputes?

  50. I just received a call asking me to settle an account where I last gave payment in 2003 which is what the lady said on the phone. I honestly can’t remember since its been years since that last card and now I gave good credit. I told her I wanted to dispute it and had no info regarding that account anymore since it was over 10-11 yrs old. Can this still affect my credit now? What do I have to do to make sure it doesn’t affect it now and have them stop calling me?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Brissy – This collection debt should not reappear on your credit reports now.If it does,post an update as soon as you discover it.

      Sending a debt collector a certified letter (send with a USPS return receipt green card too), where you request they cease any and all further communication with you, is much safer to do when your states SOL has passed. If you are certain of that, it means they cannot file a legitimate collection lawsuit. If that same collector calls, or writes, after they receive your letter, post an update.

      I recommend you monitor your credit reports regularly. You can do that free through http://www.annualcreditreport.comusing one free report for the three major bureaus every 4 months. SO pull one today from Experian, another in 4 months from TransUnion, and the third 4 months after that from Equifax. This time next year you would be pulling Experian again.

  51. Jennifer says:

    Hello Michael,
    I am back again, so I have gotten more of my debt settled, and settled with pay to delete! Everything left on my credit report is all over the 6 years SOL for Arizona (for taking me to court) but I want to stop the reporting and finish settling. I am wanting to dispute a few things because the dates are all messed up and different credit agencies have different dates and amounts. How do I go about sending these letters? Do I send it to each individual credit reporting agency (experian, transunion, equifax) or to just one main company? I also have a question when it comes to the 30-day rule. If they delete it from my credit report because they were not able to verify the debt, can I settle the debt still (I know I owe it) and will it prevent it from showing still? Or will it show back up because its now a settled debt? Thank you for your help!

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Jennifer – Very cool that your original question that started this page, and our comment exchange, is from nearly a year ago, and you are back to update with the progress you made. Congratulations on those successes!

      Send all of your credit report disputes certified mail with return receipt requested. Document your disputes in a file with all copies and green return cards. Send the dispute to all relevant credit reporting agencies, and I like to include a copy to the offending furnisher who is giving the CRA’s the bad information.

      If your disputes do not result in only accurate, complete, and correct info being reported, post an update and lets go from there.’

      There are real concerns for settling debts that are no longer appearing on your credit reports, but that are still within the 7 to 7.5 years to legitimately show up. Standardized systems can mean a debt settled; account is updated with current debt collector/debt owner; an update to the credit reporting systems can occur.

      How close are these debts to the 7 year marks?

      • Jennifer says:

        Michael,
        These debts have just hit the 6 year mark so another year and a half before they drop off, so I want to settle them so they don’t keep reporting but this will be over the next 6 months. Also there are old accounts that are showing closed/written off but their dates dont match either, they are showing a later date then what they really are. I want to correct those closed/written off accounts so they fall off accordingly. The others I do owe but its not the amount they report and the date shows pretty much as the date the collection agency received the debt which is anywhere from 1-3 years later. If those debts can’t be verified for some reason and the credit reporting companies remove them isn’t there a chance they can show back up later after verified? I will work on the letters to each individual reporting agency this weekend and send out. I was told by someone to originally start them all as “not my debt” , then once they can verify that, then go from there on then sending for the dates to be corrected and the amounts. Also are they allowed to add interest after they have taken on these accounts or should they be the same amounts that the original lender last reported? Thank you for all your help Michael, you really are doing something so amazing with this site and helping people get their lives back on track, and its amazing you don’t ask for a thing in return.

        • Michael Bovee says:

          Jennifer – Sorry for the delay in responding. I moved, and things did not go smoothly.

          I would not raise disputes with the accounts you still have to settle as it can (but not always), raise the collectors/debt owners awareness that you care about your credit and have a goal. If you have already sent those letters, do not worry about it, you can use talking different talking points if something gums up the process.

          I am not a fan of disputing something as not your debt, if it is, or across multiple accounts in the same letter. That strategy is less and less effective,m and can also lead to your later follow up disputes being tagged as frivolous (based on prior dispute behavior).

          Debt collectors and debt owners can add interest and fees that are allowed for in your original creditor agreements, or legal interest if a judgment. It is has been hard for them to prove their calculations up,and we are currently looking at rules and regulations changing soon that could cause all collections fees, charges and interest to be fully detailed and transparent. But those changes are not likely to come before you achieve your goals in the next 6 months.

          I do not ask for anything in return… unless someone brings it up. And because you did, if you believe you received something of value from the site, please consider picking up some extra food on your next grocery trip and donating to your local food bank – And for that I will thank you!

  52. I’m having a collector call me with different phone numbers all over the state.The debt is from 2005 and is not on my report anymore..I contacted the original owner and they said it was sold and they could not tell me who owns it now. They also said sine the 7 year SoL was up that I don’t have to pay for it..The collector will not email or mail me any info about the collection just tell me over the phone until we start the payment process.my question is this..
    1..Can this be re-open on my credit report since they have contacted me after 9 years.
    2.. what is this threat he is taking about having someone bring papers and serve me with over a 9 year old debt…
    3..I made a mistake calling with guy back on Work cell phone Cause wife was freaking out over the home message they left..how can I get them to stop calling it..I’ve block 5 numbers now

    Thanks
    Sean

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Sean – A negative item that falls off your credit report – when it is too old to stay there – should not show up again. Not if you paid it off, settled, etc.

      The threat about suing you is likely an empty one. If your states SOL to legitimately sue is passed, that threat is empty and can be considered harassment. It is a good idea to run what is happening here with an experienced attorney who sues collectors for violating state and federal laws. Many attorneys of this type will take on your case with no cost or retainer, so it is worth taking the time to talk to one and learn about your options. I can refer you to some if you like. Just let me know the name of a nearby larger city.

      You can stop the calls with a cease communication letter to the debt collector in most cases. But if you are dealing with a collector who has already shown a willingness to harass, I am not sure how effective that will be. If you do talk with them, get as much information from them as you can, and post that here for further discussion and/or share that with an attorney you may consult with.

  53. If u pay on a collection that’s 9 years old and off your credit report ..will it reappear on it again?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Sean – A paid collection account should not reappear on your credit report after it has already aged off. But do not let credit reporting threats be the measure you use to pay, or not pay a really old debt.

  54. Hey Michael. I have a question? I went to my bank yesterday to make a deposit and the teller asked me if I would like to update my credit card for some new perks and such? The only problem is to my knowledge I have never had a credit card with this bank. They said it was opened in 2001 and had a $1,000 balance on it! I was floored. Long story short, I sat down with a bank officer and am going to be in touch with their fraud division either today or tomorrow. In the past 13 years I have never received any mail or phone calls from collection agencies nor did I see anything strange on my credit report from several years ago. In the highly unlikely event that this IS my debt would I still have to pay it after 13 years? From my understanding there is a statute of limitations in my state of NY that says I cannot be sued for this debt after 6 years.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      karl – Pretty odd thing to have happen. No, a 13 year old debt is highly unlikely to be sued on, and your response would be really brief and to the point, so not a big worry.

  55. I have two accounts charged off through Navy Fed Credit Union. One is 10k credit card and one is 8k loan. The 10k one shows no balance. Not zero, but nothing at all. Date of last activity is 5/09 and 9/09. My score is a 656 presently. I got behind as I was hospitalized for four months back then. Fast fwd… I would like to get a house. Any suggestions??

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Brandon – Call Navy Federal on a fact finding mission. You are not calling to discuss account resolution, but want to know the status of the accounts. With no balance being reported on the one, it may not be owned by NFCU any longer. Once you know who owns the debt, if not Navy Fed, post an update and lets go from there.

      Also, post what you can come up with to settle these debts.

  56. I checked my credit and see that a truck I bought in 2004 is still on my report. I paid it off in 2008. I was wondering how long it stays on there because even though I paid it off eventually, it shows up as repossessed or reclaimed and I’m sure this will hurt me when purchasing a home. If it stays on for 7.5 years, is that from the day that I bought it or the day that I paid it off? Thanks!

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Blake – It sounds like the truck was repossessed, but that you reclaimed it and continued paying off the auto loan after that happened. Is that correct? When was the exact date of repossession? What is the date the repo is showing on your credit reports?

      • Michael, that is correct. I reclaimed the truck and ended up paying it off. It was repossessed late 2005/early 2006. I paid it off early 2008. There is no date of repo on the report, it only shows the dates that I opened the account (April 2005) and the date the account was closed (January 2008). So do I have to wait 7.5 years from the date that the account was opened or the date that was closed? If it is the original date, it should be off already. Thanks!

        • Michael Bovee says:

          The negative aspect of the trade line is more than 7 years old, so if it were me, I would dispute that part of the credit reporting as too old. Who is the finance company doing the reporting?

  57. hi, i want to buy a house in the coming months, i have paid in full all my debts except one, a resident collection from an apartments i defaulted on a lease and they are reporting negatively on my report from 2007 for $1500 . Should I pay this? wondering if the debt can be sold to another agency but its not really a debt i wasnt extended any credit i just broke a lease. anyway i broke my lease early due to personal problems. this is the only derogatory mark on my file. please give me some guidance

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Joseph – Are you working with a broker, or loan officer yet? If you are, ask about how a single unresolved collection account this old is going to impact underwriting. It may have little to no impact. If you are not working with someone on your loan already, this may be a good time to start.

      These types of debts can be sold to debt purchasers. But many apartment management companies are content to place negative items on your credit report and make only halfhearted efforts at collection. Settling with them should not prove too difficult (though account location might), if you learn it is important in order to get your home loan approved.

  58. I have been contacted via mail by a collection agency for a debt that I don’t believe is mine. I phoned them and asked them to send me the info to review the validity. They said the would contact the original lender and have them send it to me. The debt collector said it was a loan and gave me the name of the original creditor/bank. I have had credit cards before. However, as far as I can remember I have never taken a LOAN with this creditor/bank or any lender other than a loan to purchase my first car some 30+years ago and it was a different bank. The collector mentioned that the debt had been sold off three times, them being the third. The last payment made was in 2003. They didn’t have the date the loan started. And they acquired the debt in 2013. My questions are: Does each time a debt is sold off to another collector, does it renew the debt? Since it its been 10years, can they still pursue me for collections since they’ve had the account less than a year? And, if I am able to determine the debt is not mine, what are my options? I live in California so the SOL is 4 years if I’m doing my research correctly. The debt occurred in Texas, where I lived at the time of the loan commencing. Honestly, I don’t remember ever taking a loan out with the original creditor. My first thought was identity theft when I received their letter in the mail. However, when I spoke to collection agency on the phone….they had my right info at the time I lived in Texas. I’m perplexed.

    Thank you

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Lucky – Each time a debt is sold to a new debt collector, it does not renew the debt for credit reporting purposes. It would generally not reset the clock that is ticking for someone to be sued for collection in their respective state wither.

      Debts can be pursued, and collection attempts made, anytime after it ages off of your credit report, or passes your state SOL. Debts do not become invalidated after a date passes on a calendar. Debt collectors are not limited in their collection efforts based on how long they have owned a debt, so this one only having the debt a year, means nothing by itself.

      If you determine the debt is not yours you can tell the debt collector to cease communicating with you, but do it in writing and sent that demand certified mail return precept. If they continue to try to collect after that, your copy of what you sent, and that green return receipt card will come in handy. Even if you are given enough info to then recognize the debt is yours, you could still demand communications cease, but I caution against this unless you are 100% sure the SOL in your state has passed (in Texas it would have).

      Check your credit report for any anomalies and things you do not recognize. Identity thieves can often procure accurate info about you when they go about screwing up your life, so I would not discount this.

  59. I have a lot of problems and it was 5 years this year about my credited pls any answer me and what I can do ??? My question is :
    1. If I paid of my collection debt amounts it’s stay in my credit report or not?
    2. My student loan office report to debt collection office and I have to deal with that thing so badly can any answer me what I should do about these thing and I want credit back..pls …pls……pls..

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Steven – Paying off collection items will not generally result in those items being removed from your credit reports. Most negative credit report entries in most states will come off the report in 7 to 7.5 years from the date the negative item occurred (such as missed payments etc).

      What will it taketo get your student loans out of default? Is it feasible for you to do that? You can often help your credit reports when it comes to different types of student loans.

      • Hi Michael can not get away from about my situation rightnow . and I would like to asking you this.?
        I did let some one do my income tax for me alright. And I did by papers to IRS on 03.21.14. Until now I didn’t get my fund back and it was different from last year . so I did checking on IRS website to know my refund status finally my refund status results said..these..
        Your refund has been applied to a past due obligation such as child support, another federal agency debt or state income tax. The financial management service who issues IRS refund will send you a notice informing you of the reduction that’s all .
        Like I asked you about my student earlier that it was on default right now and I did spoke with the collection agency and I did make a payment for them to pull me out from default so I think only problem is student loan and why I can not got my refund please tell me Michael i ‘m so dump with these situation…thank you again
        Sincerely
        Steven

        • Michael Bovee says:

          Steven – I cannot know whether what is happening with your tax return is related to your defaulted student loans, or not. Have you contacted the DOE about your situation. Have you written to the student loan ombudsman?

          If the intercept of your tax refund is related to government backed student loans, it would mean that whatever arrangements or payments you made to a debt collector in the past, did not bring them out of default.

          • There is no such thing a making a payment to take a loan out of default. Some lenders do allow for a lump sum payment to be made by a certain date to be removed from the offset list.

            Call 800-304-3107 IRS tax offset seizure line

  60. Natasha says:

    Hi, I’m trying to clean up my credit report and I noticed a few things.
    1) RGS Financial is reporting on my CR twice for the same debt, same account number but each debt shows a different amount. Is there any way to dispute this?
    2) I received a letter from Convergent wanting to settle a debt that I was only an authorized user on. How should I go about this? They also sent settlement offers on debts that are due for age of my CR 5/14 and 6/14. Should I take the offer or let the accounts age?
    Thanks!

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Natasha – There is often little reason to settle or pay off older collection accounts when you can no longer be sued, and when they are already, or about to fall off of your credit report. Is there something particular you are doing with your credit in the next several months?

      You can dispute the RGS Financial credit reporting entries, or at least one, as a duplicate. Send your dispute certified mail with a return receipt requested. Keep a copy of your letters and the green return card in a safe place. I would also send a credit reporting dispute direct to RGS. If your credit report is not corrected (a duplicate entry removed), post an update and lets go from there.

  61. 2 years ago I was notified by GA Dept. of Labor that they had overpaid me nearly $8000 in Unemployment Benefits. I did not have the money to repay this amount. I just received a letter that I need to pay $440 a month towards my dept or they will send it to collections. I cannot pay that either…I’m still unemployed. My questions- Will this affect my credit score? If so, how much will it affect my score? What can they do? What can I do? I have very good credit and hate to see this ruin my record since I had no way of knowing they were paying me incorrectly for 8 months.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Casey – If this winds up on your credit report it is going to hurt your score, ability to qualify for loan products, and the price you pay (interest rates) on loans, and for some time. Have you talked with them about any other payment options? What was their response?

  62. I just pull my credit report and noticed that I have a past due Credit card on my credit report from 2006(open date), I also have a collection agency on there for the same bill but the open date for that is 2013(open date), Is the collection agency able to sue me? should I just pay on it or can I depute this?

  63. So im trying to get a house and have been cleaning up my credit for months now. I realized that an unpaid credit card (capital one) has fallen off of my report. I havent spoken to them or the collection agency (forster & Garbus LLP) at all. They sent me a letter today telling me I need to pay and that they have a settlement for me. Can they sue me or go into my account and take my money even though its fallen off of my credit report? Or should I just ignore them? I am in rochester New york and im not sure what to do. Please help.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Jessica – What is the date of the last payment made on this account?

      • Michael,
        I dont recall the exact date but it was in 2005. Plus, the letter they sent me has no details on the account and it says they have a settlement for me but it doesnt say what it is. It was also dated as March 31 and said it should be paid on March 31 but I didnt recieve it until April 10. Im just so confused on what to do because I dont want it to magically re- appear on my credit report.

        • Michael Bovee says:

          The way I read your situation:

          You last paid Capital One in 2005. The limit for a negative to remain on your credit reports, and the SOL to legitimately be sued for collection in New York, would have passed. If anything does reappear on your credit reports regarding this account, post an update and lets go from there.

  64. Yesterday I applied for a car loan and was told that I have a repossession from 2002 on my credit report. At the time I lived in NJ. I thought that a car repossession fell off of your credit report after seven years?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Lavon – Repo’s from 2002 should have fallen off your credit reports several years ago. Pull your credit reports and tell me if they are showing a deficiency balance being reported by a debt collector as a result of the repo, or if it is the original finance company still reporting. Either is a problem, and should not be happening. And both can be handled effectively with some disputes, and perhaps by filing some complaints too.

  65. Hi There Michael,
    I recently paid off two debts. One on February 18th and another got paid on February 24. They were both reported to the credit agencies as paid in full on March 18th, but they are still showing as non paid on my credit reports. How long does it typically take for reports to be updated as paid in full?

    Thanks, Coreen.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Coreen – Can you be a bit more descriptive and detailed with what is happening with on your credit reports regarding the two collections?

      Who is reporting? Did you pay the full amount to the collectors,or did you negotiate a lower pay off? Are there entries from the original creditors you are questioning, but the collection agency you paid the money to is showing correctly?

      Your comment above is contradicting.

  66. Hello Michael,

    I am trying to clean my credit. I live in California and I just ran my credit report and I show 3 credits that are still on my credit. One has offered to a deletion from my credit if I pay the full amount, is that true can they completely delete that from my credit report?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Jamie – There are some instances where a collection account could be deleted by the collector or creditor reporting it. It is rare to have one solicit that from you in their collection efforts. So rare, in fact, that I would caution you to be absolutely certain you are dealing with a legitimate debt collection outfit. What type of debt is this, and who is the debt collector making the offer to remove credit reporting in return for you paying them?

  67. Hi Michael!
    I am currently in the beginning phase of trying to buy a house with my boyfriend. The mortgage consultant said that when we come to possibly closing on a house, old collections could come back. Is this true? I have had several that have dropped off all my reports and haven’t reported again for over a year or two. It has been some years since I have even received a letter or phone call from an agency to collect a debt. We live in Idaho and I am not certain on the limitations the state or even Federal gov. have in place. I keep hearing this 7 year stuff and thought I would be safe. Any help would be appreciated! Thanks!

    • Michael Bovee says:

      JP – Were any of the collection accounts lawsuits that resulted in judgment? If not, you should be in the clear if the collection accounts went negative more than 7.5 years ago. You can pull your credit reports and take a look at what a mortgage lender is going to see. Post an update with what you find to the comment string here.

      • None of them were lawsuits that resulted in judgment. I had my report pulled on Monday and none of the accounts that are older than 7.5 years are on there. So I shouldn’t worry that somehow they will come back? Thank for the reply!

        • Michael Bovee says:

          Actually JP, you should worry. The error rate with credit reports is high. I encourage you to monitor your credit reports every 4 months by pulling a free one from Equifax, followed by your free report with Experian 4 months later, followed by pulling TransUnion’s free credit report 4 months after that. Then repeat that process. You can do this through the website the major credit reporting companies set up to comply with federal laws requiring them to give you access to 1 free credit report every 12 months: https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action.

          I hope nothing pops back up on your reports, but if it does, post an update here and lets go from there.

  68. Hi, a collection company from TX called me 2 months ago regarding a car loan I had that was last paid 6 yrs ago and still owed $9000. The car was already repossessed. I got scared and made payment arrangement. So paid them $300 down then $50 a month. Then I checked my credit report and it shows that this acct is already closed. I looked up this company online and saw lots of complaint against them. And that the company already filed chapter 11. Also, everytime I call them, they never answer the phone. I was thinking to stop making payments since I don’t trust them. Can they still go after me even the acct tho is closed? What should I do?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Paula – What is the name of the collection agency? While you say the account on your credit report is closed, does it still show a balance owed?

      • Commercial recovery system is the company. I use credit karma for my credit report, and it does not show any balanced owed. It just say it’s closed, and payment status is 0%.

        • Michael Bovee says:

          I suggest you talk with an experienced consumer attorney with fdcpa, or collection defense experience. I can email you contact info to some if you post a reply with the name of a large city near you.

          From the information you shared, the deficiency balance on the repo was passed the SOL for you to be sued, but not passed the SOL for it to appear on your credit reports. You may have reset the SOL to be sued for collection (not for credit reporting purposes) by making those payments. But talking with an attorney about all of this will help you make an informed decision.

          • I’m from Reno, NV. So I would say Las Vegas?

            • And also, with them filing chapter 11, can they still legally collect money from debtors? Cuz I read some comments on other site that any collection actives against them should stop. And is there any way I can find out the exact date of the last payment I made? I think the place I got my loan is already closed.

              • Michael Bovee says:

                Not sure on the chapter 11 preventing them from collecting. It may depend on whether they are liquidating, or reorganizing.

                What does your credit report say about the date of last payment?

                • I don’t kno about the lasts date of payment. But it says it was opened on April 2007 with a balance of $7021. Then it was opened on March 2010 with a past due of $5217 and it was charged off. I have no idea what means. I would say it was last paid around middle of 2008.

                  • And also I saw that some of my credit cards was opened 2009-2014. But I haven’t use any since 2007. Or maybe even before that.

                  • I meant it was reported on July 2010.

                    • Michael in this site, you’ll read under the subject “Does partial payment restart SOL?”. It says that even with a partial payment, in some states, it doesn’t restart the SOL unless the agreement is written. Which we didnt have. Only by phone. But it also says this “Please review the exact state statutes and the fine print associated with them before relying on this website’s info. Your situation may not apply.” Where can I find the exact statutes?

                    • Michael Bovee says:

                      Paula – Ideally, you will want to talk about this with an attorney whose practice is active in this area of law. You can read legislation, but may interpret incorrectly, or case law in your state may have developed to a place where you have more strategic options than a statute can imply.

                      What is it you meant by “in this site”? I do not recall responding to a reader, or writing an article that covers the topic in the way you have quoted.

                    • I’m sorry. I tried to copy the link to the site about statute of limitations for debts.

                    • Michael Bovee says:

                      Paula – The comment you posted with a link to credit info center went straight to the spam folder for the site. Not sure why.

            • Michael Bovee says:

              Paula – After sending you contact details for the attorney in Las Vegas, and the one dual licensed with a practice in California and Nevada, I sent another with details for a Reno attorney.

              • Thank u so much. I will definitely call one of them. I just really want to fix my credit. But I kno that it’s gonna cost a lot to settle since I have other credit cards that was closed. And me and my fiancé r planning to get married soon, but now I’m not sure if that’s a great idea. We bought a car together 5 months ago with credit scores of 575 for me and 576 for him. Since then my score went up to 605. The loan is for 54 months. And were planning to pay it off before the end of the year. So it’ll be paid in less than a year.

                • Patricia says:

                  Just curious what kind of car did you buy? My score is a little higher about 600 and I’ve always been so scared to even attempt to try to buy one. Maybe I’ve been freaking out for now reason lol.

  69. KANTRELL says:

    I live in Louisiana and I recently checked my credit report. I have a debt that was charged off and the opening date is 11/01/2006. I was told it would stay on for 7 years but as of yesterday. It is still there. How can I have that removed from my credit report?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Kantrell – What was the date you last paid the account in question? The clock starts not from when the account was opened, but from when you missed your payments.

  70. Samantha says:

    Hi There Michael,
    I’m trying to fix my credit score FINALLY! The last activity for my accounts was probably mid 2008, but when I checked creditkarma tonight the collection agencies my listing them opened from 2009 to as recent as 2013.
    Midland fund (bank of America)
    10/15/2010
    Pin cred see (verizon wireless)
    6/20/2013
    Midland fund (citi bank)
    2/8/2011
    Ltd fin svc(citi bank)
    5/22/2009
    Midland fund (citi bank)
    2/12/2010
    Rjm acq llc (target)
    10/12/2009
    These accounts were opened in Maryland which I believe has a 3 year SOL and I now reside in Florida that has a 4 year SOL. I’ve been doing a lot of research on the matter and came across your sight. I’m not really sure what the first steps to take would be. I know I’m getting close to the 7.5 but according to the above some are just getting started. Just so you know it’s not really a time sensitive matter, I just want to get the ball rolling to hopefully have something accomplished 6 months to a year from now. I’d really appreciate any and all advice you might have on this matter.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Samantha – I would start by sending a written dispute regarding each account that has been inappropriately reaged on your credit report that will cause them to stay on your reports years longer than should be the case. You want to send the disputes to the credit reporting company that has them on there, and to the offending debt buyer (all of those listed are debt buyers). Send all communication certified mail return receipt requested. Keep a copy of all letters you send, and the green return receipt card in a safe place. Post a follow up comment with what gets corrected on the firs letter volley. Anything not reflected accurately, that still chooses to report after the dispute response time frame, will need some more attention.

  71. I have back credit card debt showing on my report that the last payment for one was April 2007 & the other was june 2008 I think. I checked my credit report on credit karma and they say they are open & the date is April 2008 balence 992 & the other is May 2010 with a balance of 2901. Im trying to get my score up so im able to get a home loan but because of the I cant. I live in NY state. How do I go about getting them of my credit report if they have passed their sol?
    Thank you

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Crystal – Credit card charge offs have the potential to stay on your credit reports for up to 7.5 years from the date you last paid.

      Start with determining the exact date you last paid these accounts. Also post what the credit reports are showing as the dates these accounts will age off.

      From what you shared, one of the accounts may have been reaged to reflect a last paid status of 2010, causing it to stay on your reports for longer than should be allowed. Is that what you are seeing?

      • Ok here’s what I have found.
        on my citi bank
        Asset. Acc. is the collection agency
        says its schedule to continue on record until Jun 2015
        Says it was opened on 3/2010
        I know my last payment was jun 2008. Due to moving out of the state. It took me over 6 months to find a new job.
        Then Capital one is listed two times.
        The original says opened 8/2006
        The charge off on April 08 to May 08
        They list my last payment August 07.
        Portfolio rec. Ass also has this same account listed
        The opened date is April 2008
        Says it will continue to be on record until Jun 2014.
        I really dont know much on this one because last I knew the last payment was April. But I was young & dumb bc this card was in my name but my parents had it. I know I shouldnt have let them it also looks like the account was also opened befor I knew it was…
        I also found on the report
        Ge Cap.
        it says charge off Dec 07 to july 08
        last payment was June 07. This account I thought was paid in full it was a pay pal card I must of still owed more then I thought.
        what should I do? I really want to fix my credit. Should I make a deal and pay them or am I better off waiting it out? Would it make a difference when I apply for a home loan. Im just confused. Im in my 20s and I dont know where to begin.
        Thanks for all your help

        • Michael Bovee says:

          Thanks for the follow up details Crystal. Here is how I understand what you have shared:

          Asset Acceptance is showing on your credit report related to one of the old collection accounts. Even though Asset Acceptance says account opened in March of 2010, the credit report shows this will fall off in a year. Based on your first comment, it would appear that Asset Acceptance is reporting accurately. More on whether this will impact your goal of buying a home below.

          Capital One is reporting to different trade lines? Did you have two different accounts with CapOne? If the credit report entry from Capital One is singular, it should (like the original creditor for the account Asset Acceptance now has) be showing as a zero balance owed to CapOne. Be sure that is the case. Portfolio Recovery Associates has the Capital One account listed as opened in April of 2008, and aging off the credit report in a month or two.

          The GE capital account shows charged off. What does it say for a balance owed, if any? Is there any other corresponding collection entry in your credit reports that you can associate with the GE capital reporting?

          Buying your home in the next year:

          If your goal is home ownership in the next year, and you can qualify with FHA type underwriting standards (credit score thresholds of say, 620 or higher, Debt to income in good shape to afford the mortgage payment, etc.), you could negotiate settlements with the debt collectors (PRA is going to fall off in a month so maybe not with them) and the negatives would be immediately passed the credit reporting limit for paid collections in New York.

          If you are not shopping for a loan in the next 12 months or so, you could let all of this fall off and then start your home hunt and mortgage shopping?

          Thoughts?

  72. Patricia says:

    Michael, I need your HELP! I recently did a credit karma profile to check my credit. I’ve been out of work for some time but recently graduated from college and I’m thinking about getting married so I wanted to sort out all my paperwork. 2 store accounts from 2008 showed up on my account as Charged Off. They are fairly small amounts off money both under 500. I called up the stores and they said they dont have my accounts anymore and the customer service actually told me to call the credit bureau. Strange? I was wondering if they even wanted the money or not because I was prepared to pay. On my hunt I did an Experian credit profile and again I saw the 2 store cards charged off. They did say one would “this account is scheduled to be on record until Feb 2015 and the other in March. What exactly does this mean? Will it be gone completely and my score will go up or eventually recover? or should I pay it and the 7 years starts up all over again? I am so confused. I also have another store card that has been closed by the company a few years ago but I pay regularly. I was thinking of paying this off soon this immediately would this change anything in my score? Also I checked my score last month and it was 640 and when I checked today it was 628. Is this because I keep checking it? because I havent done anything financially. Lastly, my experian is showing both cards, but transunion is only showing one. What does that mean? After I make my next move how can I improve my credit? Waiting your response I cant get anyone to answer my questions! lol not even the people I owe money to ! THANK YOU

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Patricia – It sounds like the original creditors sold the debts off. That is normal. Your credit reports will often show an additional collection entry by the new owner, while the originator, having sold the legal rights to the debt, would now show a zero balance owed them. Is that what you are seeing?

      I would not be concerned if Transunion shows one less collection account. That is a good thing :)

      If you have the money, I would encourage you to pay off the one creditor you are making monthly payments to. That will help a bit. The unpaid debts that are set to fall off next year are another matter. Paying or settling super old accounts is not always the best thing for your credit scores. But first, what state do you live in?

      • Yes I am absolutely going to pay off the one I make every month. I live in New York the 2 older accounts that are charged off are from 2008. Or atleast that’s when they went delinquent. The experian says they will “come off 2/2015″ so I was confused as to what that actually looks like and why they didn’t want the money from me. If the 7 years mean it’s not going to show then I rather not start up another terrible 7 years . I’m finally finishing my masters and am praying for a teaching job with my own home and car soon to follow. Just trying to get out of this debt and very thankful that it was minimal under 2k. I just had no idea what charged off means, I always thought just paying is the best thing I’m learning that it’s not I think? Right ? Lol

        • It isn’t showing the new collections or creditor. It is still showing macys and bloomingdales but says charged off. I figured they sold the debt when I called macys directly and they said they don’t have my file or any info for me. When I asked where I should call to pay they said call the credit bureau. Then I spoke to experian and the customer service was more interested in trying to sell me a membership and wouldn’t give me any specific info about macys or bloomingdales. I went online got a hold of the free report from experian and trans union and that’s how I saw the “charged off” and the dates they would come off. Actually pretty confusing and worry some considering I’ve been saving up to pay them off. Now I’m figuring that might not be a good option and use that money to pay off a current account (well not current bc the company closed it) but I’m current with payments.

          Thinking about getting one of those preloaded or secured credit cards after the charged off accounts blow off in 2015. What do you suggest?

          • Michael Bovee says:

            I would be inclined to leave the two unpaid accounts alone at this point, unless the proper owner contacts you for collection. At the same time, I would view any collection effort, this far down the collection cycle, with skepticism. As in – there are debt collection scams out there that prey on consumers using info they somehow get a hold of from your credit reports or elsewhere. Post an update to this comment string if you hear from anyone about collecting the really old debts. If nothing happens for the next year, they will fall of your credit reports. But collectors can still try to get paid after the debts disappear from your credit reports.

            I would encourage you to use a secured card over a preloaded one. Your bank may offer a secured credit card option, so check into that. If you want to look at options for rebuilding credit, I would recommend using http://www.credit.com for matching you with credit cards, both secured and unsecured.

            • Patricia says:

              Hey Michael! I have not heard from creditors regarding these two “charged off” accounts thank goodness! I’m just waiting out the time till they come off my report. If experian says they will come off in Feb 2015 and March 2015 would that be true? The one other card that I was regularly making payments on that was closed, I finally paid off in full shortly after I first contacted you. Its been a few months since then and I checked my CREDITKARMA report today and it was still showing the same score of 629 (“poor”) and still showing the 2 other cards which are charged off as “closed” and a credit inquiry for a capitol one card i tried to get in june 2012. Shouldn’t there be a change in my score since i paid off the one card I had regularly been making payments to? ?????

              Second question.
              I received a “pre approved” letter from capitol one in the mail, you know one of those deals that says pre-approved and you have to call in or go online for a decision. I think thats what I tried back in 2012 and they in fact did not give it to me and now its showing on my report. I do want to build my credit but is it worth the try to see if this offer goes through? I wouldnt want to be rejected and then have it show up on my report after all the work ive been trying to make my credit better. I would really appreciate your advice. Thanks so much.

              • Michael Bovee says:

                There are many data points that go into calculating your credit score. How much was the balance you paid off for the closed account? How many other open credit accounts do you have (not out for collection)? Are you making monthly payments on student loans, or are those differed?

                It is hard to say whether Capital One would approve you now. Probably the only thing different with your reports is the positive of paying off a closed account that was not in collection, so whether the preapproval was based on data prior to that being paid off, or they go to get updated info, it makes sense that they would approve you. If you do go through with applying, request the lower end of credit limit available.

  73. Hello, I have paid the majority of my debt but I have one left, $1600 from a big box store. I contacted the original creditor to pay off the balance but the creditor advised me not to pay due to the age and it was over CA’s SOL. Last payment was 12/09 I don’t want to wait for the debt to fall off but I also don’t want to reactivate the account. What should I do?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      justin – How is the collection account showing on your credit report? Is there someone other than the retailer or bank that serviced the card showing?

  74. AZDivorcee says:

    How can the law changing the SOL be applied retroactively to a contract signed prior to 2011? I thought that contract law implies that you are signing a contract with knowledge of the law at the time the contract is signed.

  75. I have debts that went to court. I’ve paid them off, but they still show up. How long will they be on my record?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Judgment debts will most typically stay on your credit report for 7 years from the date of entry in the court record, but with some variables depending on the state, and situation.

  76. Samantha says:

    Good Morning,

    I am here to ask for your help. My husband has a Maryland state tax lien that is on his credit. It was placed in 2007 but according to the people at the tax office in Maryland it is from taxes that he owes from 2002-2003. We asked for proof because they are saying he made $950 in state taxes for working 3 weeks there. That seems awfully high. With interest and penalties they are asking for $1500. The only paper they sent us stated the amounts owed. We can not get any other proof from them that he owes this, like anything showing where he was working then or how much he made etc… what can we do? we need this off by August because we are buying a house but don’t feel as though he should pay for taxes he doesn’t owe and we don’t really have the $1500 to send them right now. Please give me some guidance :)

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Have you talked with them about any compromise to resolve the debt (settle the tax lien)?

      • Samantha says:

        He has tried but they wont work with him. They won’t provide anymore proof either about the amount. I didn’t know if we would go by date taxes were incurred (2002)or by date filed (2007). I also thought if they couldnt provide proof then they had to remove?? My husband is saying he only work there 3 weeks making $500-$600 bi weekly gross before moving back to PA and he was having taxes taken out during that time. He just wants proof that he actually owes this but getting no where.

        • Michael Bovee says:

          Date filed would be what I set my credit reporting clock to.

        • Michael Bovee says:

          Have you contacted any grievance or complaint center for the state of Maryland? An internal consumer affairs type of department? If not, that is where I would begin. And I would follow up all calls with written communications.

  77. Hello, im 26 years old and when i turned 18 got a couple credit cards of $300 and $500 limits. i was 18 years old and not ready to have these cards but i didnt understand that then haha. i never paid anything to them and maxed them out right away, on my credit report it has them as Estimated month and year that this item will be removed as 09/2014. Should i try and pay this off? or after this date do they go away, in return improving my credit score? i know its bad not to pay off your debt but i want to be smart about this. im more responsible now than i was back then and could afford a credit card. So if i wait until September will these just go away and allow me to apply for a credit card and “start over”?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Michael – Yes, your credit profile, and probably your credit score too, will improve in a few months when the charged off credit cards and collections fall off. Be sure that any debt collectors or debt buyers that are reporting on the same accounts fall off at the same time as original creditors reporting. Also, keep a complete copy of what your credit reports look like now… just in case anything pops back up later (it happens).

      You can be doing things today (and yester-year for that matter), to improve your credit score and reports. Do you have any other items appearing on your credit reports besides these 2 collection accounts? If so, what?

      • Yes. I have 17 negative things on my report it says. I looked at this and all but 3 are student loans related. I’ve had my student loans consolidated but it still has all of the original student loans on my negative report as paid, closed. Then my consolidated loans on there as current and never late. Also under my good reports I have my dads cc that he put me on as an authorized user years ago but also took me off of that 5 years ago. It seems like my student loans are doubled on my negative report side because they were transferred to another company. I also have one student loan that says being paid by insurance which I have no clue what that means. I really trying to fix my credit problems so I can start to apply for things that I need improved. Like a car. But as of now it looks like I’m in bad shape and I really don’t understand what I’m looking at 100%

        • Michael Bovee says:

          If you have steady work, I would suggest looking at an auto loan come September/October as a credit building tool. You will want to look at getting an unsecured credit card too. Use it little, and pay it off each month. If you do carry a balance on it, just try to not let it exceed 30-ish percent of your available credit limit.

          I really like the free credit report card tool you can use with http://www.credit.com that will help you get a handle on what you can do to improve your credit reports and score.

  78. Hi.. my fiance and I are looking into getting into the home market. My credit score is at a 660. The lower of us two. I have two accounts in collections and one public record. These debts are about 6 to 7 yrs old now. Does this mean we will not be able to get into the market until these debts are taken care of? Might be a dumb question but how harshly will mortgage lenders look into these accounts in collections and the public record?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      justin – What are the debts from, and the balances owed? What is the public record debt about?

      Home loan lenders do care about collections that are unpaid, and less about ones that are paid. But with yours being so close to falling off the reports, is there a reason you want to be in the home buying market in the next year?

      660 is not an impossible credit score to work with in home lending. FHA underwriting will roll with that (when collections are paid/settled).

      • Michael, the debts are from credit cards. About 12k. the public record was also from a credit card balance. Are you suggesting to either wait for it to fall off the report or work with collections to settle before entering the home buying market? How long does it take for public records to fall off.. assuming they do?

        • Michael Bovee says:

          justin – I know very little about your situation, employment, life style etc. But just based of the debts, how long its been since these were paid, the cost to settle, the interest rates on home loans today vs speculating where they will be next year, and FHA type underwriting, I would wait until next year for the non judgment debt to fall off of my credit report. I would settle the public record credit card judgment appearing on my credit report. It has its own fresh set of 7 years for reporting, and will certainly calculate into debt to income ratios that will impact my loan down the road.

          Who is the judgment creditor (name of plaintiff)?

  79. Good News People says:

    I have had over 30K in debt since 2005-2006 when I stop paying them due to job loss and other circumstances. I recently checked my credit score on a few different sites from Credit Karma, Experion and one more. They all had my dilequent debt for years on my report, I just checked today and finally they have dropped off – none of them show up anymore and they’re all gone. Not only that but my credit rating increased over 100 point since to around 670 from 568 years ago. Never again this will happen to me, but what great news to hear this beautiful spring season. I feel bad not paying them, but my original debt was only 9K but it soared to 30K in penalties and other fee’s. Keep the faith people, I suffered long enough for the mistakes I made. AMEN!

  80. Michael-

    I see you give great advice to others, so I have decided to ask for your help. I have a pretty low credit score. Pretty much made some bad decisions when I was a teenager, and it came back to haunt me! Working on cleaning up my credit now so as too prepare for a better future. Now, there are some things on my credit, that are showing up as being opened n 2011, when I set stuff up in my name, in 2008. Can you explain why it would take 2 years from the time I actually had the issue, to when it was opened please?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      amber – Can you post more details of about each account showing on your credit reports that concern you?

      • This is a piece off my actual credit report:

        RJMDVD
        Current Balance: $301
        Original Balance: $301
        Account Condition: N/A
        Reported as: RJMDVD
        Original Creditor: 01 COLUMBIA HOUSE DVD CLUB
        Date Opened: 11/28/2011

        I actually received a notice today in the mail stating that the date that the account was opened was on March 25th, 2008, and the date that it was purchased by RJM was November 28, 2011.
        I am just mainly trying to understand whether or not this would fall off from the date that the account was opened (in 2008) or does it go by the date RJM purchased it in 2011? Why is there a 3 year lapse of time in between?

        • Michael Bovee says:

          The date you first missed paying on the account is what you set your credit report clock to. When that original collection account falls off your credit, it should be accompanied (fall off at the same time) by the 2011 entry from RJM Acquisitions. RJM on your credit report with an open date later than when your account went to collection is not uncommon. Just make sure you are checking your credit reports to be sure all negatives, no matter who is reporting (unless a judgment) on the same account, drop at the same time. If need be you can dispute items off of your credit report that should not be there.

  81. Kristen says:

    Hi! I am hoping you can answer a few questions for me. I apologize if these are repeat questions.. In 2008 I got divorced and became a displaced homemaker/mother. I ended up using credit cards to make it through some rough times. Eventually, I made it through nursing school and found a loving fiance with whom I live and we now have 2 more wonderful children.

    So while in school,and while a single mother, I ran up lots of debt that I could not pay. I even had a car repossessed. Late fee’s and overage charges piled up and snowballed out of control. I had hoped to repay everything once I got out of nursing school and started a good job.

    Now, I have a job but it doesn’t pay what I had hoped – I am trying continually to get something better but in the meantime I am on a tight budget. I don’t know what to do. Should I file bankruptcy or ride it out until the SOL runs out? All of these debts are from 2008-2009. I have been afraid to marry my fiance because I wouldn’t want anyone coming after him. Would they be able to do that? I also have a judgement from a major bank’s credit card in which they have been garnishing my wages for over a year now.

    I guess I am just not sure of what steps to do at this point. It feels like such a burden and I’m a little lost. Any advice would be very much appreciated!

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Kristen – I can offer the best feedback if you post a reply answering the following:

      What state do you live in?
      What is the name of the plaintiff in the collection action that you are now being garnished for?
      List the rough balances of all collection accounts, and the collection agency you last heard from on each?

      • Kristen says:

        Sure!

        I am in Arizona
        Plaintiff named is Unifund CCR (original creditor was Citibank) amount I owed was $2,218. after judgement it is$ 4,754.26. I have paid about half of the judgement balance off through my garnishments.

        Rough balances:
        Wells Fargo $10,000 – Equifax estimated removal 02/2016
        Credit Union (from car repossesion) shows balance of $6,000 est removal 02/2016
        Utility Company $275 est removal 01/16
        Bank of America $20,000 (ouchy) est removal 02/16
        Amex $475 est removal 07/15
        Medical Bill $291 – est removal 08/2016
        Old cable bill $141. removal 02/2016

        - all of the cards where opened during my previous marriage. Also should mention that our house foreclosed during the divorce as well. It is to be removed 07/2015.

        I also have about $20,000 in student loans that I owe Sallie Mae. I have been able to defer them so far….

        Such a mess! Thank you for your time and advice! My fiance is wanting to plan the wedding but I am scared – I don’t want him directly affected by my past mistakes! And I really want to clean up the wreckage that is my credit history and start fresh.

        • Michael Bovee says:

          Unifund is not likely to budge if you tried to settle with a lump sum offer while they are garnishing you. You may be able to impact that ability to garnish by requesting a hearing to show that the garnishment is creating a hardship, and getting it reduced or eliminated, if the numbers add up according to a set parameter. You could also land that better job you are looking for, and that would mean your current employer would stop paying, giving you a settlement opportunity.

          Wells Fargo is likely sold to a debt buyer by now. I would estimate you need 4k to settle the Wells account, regardless.
          The car repo may be sold off too, but many credit unions hold their nonperforming accounts. Let’s assume you can settle this collection account for 50%.
          Utility company collections is pretty low. You may have difficulty saving much through negotiating a settlement. Ditto on all of the smaller balance accounts. That said, they are all likely either sold off to debt buyers, or are assigned out to a collection agency. Are there any collection agencies appearing on your credit reports? If so, can you associate the debt collector with the accounts you listed?

          You need more than 9k to settle all of these collections. Doing that would help get collections shown as paid, and a zero balance owed on your credit reports. That could help with a home purchase. Is home buying something you have as a goal in the next two years? What about a car purchase?

          What are your options for pooling together the cash you need to settle the debts in collection? How long would it take to pull that together? If you need to do these one at a time, what would the cash flow look like over 12 months (saving up from paychecks, sell a personal item etc)?

          You can file chapter 7 bankruptcy, and it would be quite a bit less cost than settling, say between 1500 and 2k. And you can do it separate of your fiance. But you are looking at the damage to your credit from chapter 7 for a whole new, and longer set of years. So… affordable, but not necessarily in line with your credit improvement goals.

          Depending on your answer to what your financing needs and goals are, it may be better to lay low, and only address debt collectors if there is a clear indication that you are at risk of being sued for collection.

          • Kristen says:

            Thank you for the advise!

            There is only one collection agency showing on the report at this time and it shows a date of 2011. I do however get random phone numbers calling me that I do not answer – assuming they may be collectors and I have been advised before to never talk to collectors.

            My fiance owns our home and our cars are in his name as well. We are in no hurry to move or make any major purchases.I am just embarrassed that my credit is in shambles and that I owe money to so many places. It looks like trying to ride it out and stay low may be the best way to go unless I am sued again. I am currently only working part time but doing all I can to get a better job. Saving up 9k would actually take me a really long time unfortunately.

            So last thing – if we were to marry this year – he and the house/cars would be safe from the collectors right? Since they are my debts before marriage? Would getting married flag my credit and cause the collectors to start looking at me again?

            Thank you so much Michael!

            • Michael Bovee says:

              Kristen – Given the info you have shared so far, I would not consider your getting married as a reason for collection companies to target you any more than they are going to already. Keep your financial affairs separate for the next year if you like. Once the collections are either passed the SOL to sue in Arizona, and certainly once the accounts drop off your credit, it is business as usual.

              Arizona is a community property state with the provision that what you each bring to the marriage (assets and debts) can be viewed as separate. Anyone suing you, but including him, would have a really hard time overcoming arguments your attorney would make in defense. I do not see it happening to begin with though.

              • Kristen says:

                Hi Michael!
                Again many thanks for all your wonderful advise. Quick update on my situation. Apparently the credit union that repossessed my car back in 2009 reported the debt as written off to IRS in 2012 – to the amount of $6,000.
                I got a nice letter from the IRS stating that the $6,000 then counted as income and I now owe $2,700 in back taxes! I don’t even have a clue what to do with this. Do I have any options? I don’t understand how they’ve come up with that number! The IRS is the last people I want to be in debt to.
                Thanks again for any help!
                Kristen

                • Michael Bovee says:

                  Do you file your own taxes, or hire out?

                  You may be able to show that you were insolvent at the time the credit union wrote the debt off, or at least partially. It would be a great benefit if you have all financial records from that year, in order to tally up all debts, and compare that amount to the value of all assets. Remember that all of those unpaid bills are a liability/debt. This may be an issue where you can benefit from your debt (sounds weird… I know). Read this article about debt forgiveness and taxes for more info: http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/debt-forgiveness-taxes-settled-credit-card/

  82. Federico B says:

    Hi Michael well I had a a question back in 2002 I got credit cards some store cards and some bank cards like Bank of America and chase I was first making payment then got laid off so I completely stop paying them I went to collection but since them I have not hAd a credit card for about 9 or 10 yrs but I recently went on credit karma and I check my credit score which was very bad 588 to be exact and it shows I had 12 cards from different place but 11 are closed and it says I have one open account from capital one with a ballance of 2k but I’m wondering why if I never had one from capital now and why is it still on my credit if it’s been more then ten yrs since I ever had a credit card should it be gone or should I call them and pay it

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Did you have an HSBC card?

      You may be able to dispute this collection account successfully, so try that first.

      It sounds like your credit score is so low partly due to lack of establishing new credit, not just the fact that there were things sent to collections.

      When you say creditkarma shows 11 closed accounts, how are those appearing exactly? There might be more problems with your credit profile and rating than just the CapOne account.

  83. I recently have been served with papers for a court appearance due to a debt i owed from 8 years ago. I purchased merchandise paid on it then gave it back when i could no longer afford the payments. After 8 years i get served with papers is there no timetable for someone to go after a debt like this???

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Eric – What state are you in? When was the date you last paid? Is what you were just served with an initial summons or complaint, or were you served with something more like notice of an asset hearing regarding an existing judgment?

  84. Gurleen says:

    When I was 11 or 12 in 2008, I took a book from the library and never returned it. I accrued over $100 of debt. A collection agency started to pester my family but I hide the letters from my parents. Can this collection debt affect my credit now? I’m now 17 and want to start building my credit but I am apprehensive about this problem. Would it be on my credit now?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      I doubt it, but you should come clean with your folks. It might be on theirs if they are part of the account with the Library.

  85. Hello Michael, Great advice in this thread. I am currently trying to purchase a home and the mortgage company is holding me responsible for a debt that has aged off of my credit report (all three). They insist on telling me that the debt is still on my report when I have spoken with a representative from all three bureaus and each has said the particular debt is not on my record. Is it legal for a lender to make me pay a debt that is no longer on my credit report? Thank you for all of the great advice you’ve given.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Corey – Is the debt a court judgment, or some other type of public record (tax lien)?

      • No Michael, the debt is similar to a personal loan. Not a student loan. No court judgement or anything like that. The mortgage company (USAA) is trying to make me pay this debt in order to close on a house. I really don’t think I should be made to pay this debt as it has legally timed off of my report. It almost seems as though they are in cohoots with the collection agency.

        • Michael Bovee says:

          If the loan officer from USAA is looking at a recently pulled credit report, and can see what others cannot, it could somehow be related to the provider. USAA may use a tri merge credit reporting product specific to mortgages. Find out who they are pulling their reports from and let me know. I may have some additional feedback.

          As far as USAA wanting to see collection accounts resolved before getting your loan through underwriting, that may have more to do with new “ability to repay” rules for home lending, than lender cahoots. All debts, paid or unpaid, can impact your ability to qualify for a loan.

  86. I recently went through a credit repair process in May of 2013. I had a few credit accounts that went delinquent in Sept/Oct or 2008. I received letters from Transunion throughout the credit repair process and since then all of the negative accounts have been removed from my Transunion credit report. However there has been no change in my Experian or Equifax credit reports. I spoke to someone who does settlements (because I thought that was the route that I should take). He informed me that once one agency deletes the negative accounts then generally the other agencies should have done it as well. Its been almost a year and the information just says disputed. I live in Florida and I believe the statute of limitations is five years. Any idea on how I could go about getting Experian and Equifax to update my report. Or maybe I’m thinking about this all wrong.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Sasha – The SOL for collections to remain on your credit report is typically going to be 7 to 7.5 years, not 5. It is common for credit reports to contain the same information, but that does not extend to how each agency will handle disputes you file with them.

      What are your credit goals over the next 18 or so months?

      • HI Michael,

        The statute of limitations I was referring to was in regards to when I could be sued for the delinquent debt.

        As far as my goals over the next 18 months I am looking to purchase a home. The cost of renting a small two bedroom apartment is not that much for than buying a three bedroom house in my area. I got a preapproved for a mortgage about a month ago and began looking for a home. After weeks of no luck I finally found the perfect house. We made an offer and started the process of finalizing the loan. I got a call from the lender saying that the underwriter would not approve the loan because I had too many accounts on my credit report with “dispute” comments. I double checked and they use Experian when they pull credit reports. I asked how I should handle this and was told that I needed to contact the credit bureaus and have them remove the dispute comments from my reports.

        Now I thought this was simple enough process and that I would give them a call; but before I jumped the gun I started doing some research online to try and figure out how stating that “I am no longer disputing these accounts” would impact me. The lender said she was not sure what removing the dispute comments would mean. I looked through a few blogs online like ficoforums and there was a lot of details about how to go about removing the dispute so that you could get approved for a mortgage; but no one was clear about what the impact of removing it is. One thread I came across mentioned that having them removed would lower your score.

        So I guess my question is what does it mean when you have a dispute comment removed from your credit report? Would I be acknowledging that you owe this debt that is 6 years old? Does removing the dispute information now re-age the date of last activity and will the debt now be on my credit report for another 7 to 7.5 years? Would I now have to pay the collection agency?

        My lender said that she had never had a loan not be approved for situations like this. However according to my research online it seems like it is fairly common. I decided to hold off on getting a home until next year. I am not in a rush to move nor do I want to jump the gun without knowing what the consequences would be.

        Thoughts? And thanks in advance.

        • Michael Bovee says:

          Your removing disputes from your credit reports do not breath any new life into how long they can report. Those disputed entries will still fall off as scheduled.

          I do not think you will impact your credit scores overly much with fresh activity related to really old debts.

          If you have put your home purchase plans on hold for a year, and will wait for the collection accounts to drop off from age, that should get you where you need to go. If you were doing something earlier, and relying on the dispute removal, be aware that the collection balances themselves are often the cause of underwriting hiccups. Those balances do often impact your debt to income ratios, and can hold up approval until the collections are resolved (paid or settled). In this instance, it is not your credit scores that hurt you, but the debt being there at all.

          If I were not in a hurry, I would do what you are doing… wait.

  87. I have 2 chase accounts that I attempted to settle with beginning in March of 2012 totaling approximately $9000. Chase would not respond. In March of 2013 I received 1099′s from Chase stating the debt had been written off. I now discover that Chase continues to report me late on these accounts. How long can or should Chase continue to report me late each month on accounts they wrote off over a year ago?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Steve – Chase writing off accounts is an accounting and/or tax activity. That activity is separate from credit reporting activity. The 7 to 7.5 years from the date you first missed your payments is the timer that is running on your 2 Chase collections.

      Can you tell me what it is showing on your credit reports as a balance owing for these accounts? Does it say zero?

  88. Samantha says:

    Good Morning,

    I had a collection account removed from my credit reports recently. I have been disputing it and then all of a sudden it is off my credit reports. I verified with all the credit reports that it has been deleted. Is there a chance that they will put it back on? If so is there a time limit that they have to do that?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      If it was a legitimate collection account that got deleted by your disputing it, yes, it could pop back up later. If there were valid reasons for your dispute, and the deletion, it can still show back up, so be watchful and monitor your credit. If it pops back up you may have to take your issues a step further, so post any update and I can offer some feedback from there.

  89. Marianne C says:

    Michael can you please furnish me a ceast and disest letter so I can send it out. I have stopped paying Delbert services and received a rather nasty call on Friday. I have paid back all of the money that I had requested, which was 2600.00. I have paid back 3256.00 and do not intend to pay anymore seeing that they are illegal in the state of Rhode Island. I had told them that the loan was illegal and they told me that “you signed a contract and you need to pay it”. I need a copy of a letter that I can send them so they will not bother me anymore until all of this is settled. Thanks

    • Michael Bovee says:

      If you are referring to a cease and desist letters consistent with your rights to request Delbert Service quit calling and writing under the FDCPA… a simple sentence would do it.

      I might send something like:

      Dear Delbert Services,

      I am writing to demand you cease and desist from making any further collection calls to me, or sending any more collection notices too.

      If you want to, you can refer to your request being made pursuant to your rights found in federal debt collection laws.

      Keep a copy of whatever you do send, and be sure to use certified mail return receipt requested. You may need proof that you sent, and they received, later on.

  90. Michael, great work by the way, I’ve been reading through this massive list of other people’s concerns and such, and didn’t really see what “I” was looking for, so hoping you can help me out;

    My GF and I are coming into a small chunk of money, and while we both made plenty of mistakes financially over the years; both being older and much wiser now, our goal is to pay off all our delinquent and outstanding debts, medical bills, get our mortgage back into good standing (it is currently in “forebearance”) and basically we want to come back to “zero” if you will, and rebuild; once we’re squared away with what we owe, our initial starting plan then is to both open small secured lines of credit just to pay for gas in the cars and groceries, things we already pay for routinely, and thus stay on top of those payments; ideally just rather then paying like we normally would with cash/debit, we would be paying for those same things with credit instead, and then paying off the credit balance every month as we go, so our budget remains exactly the same, just essentially a new starting place to begin rebuilding current and positive credit, once we can get the negative squared away; and then as that is the starting place, after which we can re-evaluate our overall finances, where we stand, adjust the budget, etc. and continue on in regards to savings, investments, ultimately refinancing the house down the road, maybe buying another (more gas efficient) car mostly cash in-hand, and having just a very small and managable car loan to further build positive credit, but all in all ultimately going forward with planning for the future…

    so all that said, you now got a nutshell of where we’re at and what we’re trying to do, fix and re-establish; we’re currently doing ok, our heads are above water as is, even with the increased mortgage payments due to the forebearance, we have a very strong living budget in place that we intend on sticking with even when we can cut our expenses down, but my concern is that when we both ran our credit reports, not all our debts and/or debtors are listed… one example is, i and had a car repoed after a divorce in ’08, the original debt is listed (Santander Consumer USA; bought out for $16,815 / current balance $0 and “charged off”), but there is no agency listed as having acquired that debt, nor have i recieved any notices in years, and wouldn’t know where to look to try to find an old one… it hasn’t been 7.5 years “yet” either, it’s been about 6… There are some others that are in fact listed, but also some others that “should” be there, but aren’t, and now that we do intend to pay them, like an old directTV debt, an old personal loan that was charged off, how do I/WE go abouts finding out “who” we all still owe, in regards to those accounts we know are still out there, or at least should be out there still, but aren’t listed on our credit reports… And 2nd, is it worth tracking down debtors that we owe? Because to my understanding, while after 7.5 years it will be off the credit report, it doesn’t mean the debt just went away am I correct?

    We are in our 30′s now and with a family of our own, and find ourselves in a blessed position to “Get out of the hole” that we dug for ourselves, I just want to make sure we get ourselves all the way out, and not leave something unresolved that should/could be resolved, and/or also though, to not go out stirring up the bee hives that don’t need distubed, if you know what I mean… any help would be greatly appreciated, thanks.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Thanks for all of the details. It helps me get a grip of the situation set beside your goals.

      What state do you live in?
      Add the totals of all balances that appear on your credit reports as collections. What is the total? Add the totals of all that do not appear on your credit, but you know should. What are the totals?

      Are all of the collection accounts 6 years old (since a payment was made)?

      You may be at a place where more of your goals can be accomplished by not stirring things up.

      • we live in Pennsylvania; her grandfather, a true patriarch in every sense, and a self made man, he recently passed and thus left her a house in which we plan on moving into while renting ours out once it’s back in good standing with the bank, plus a decent sum of money in IRA’s (which we plan to keep in the IRA’s) as well as some decent life insurance and other accounts in which we plan on using for fixing our credit and household repairs, improvements, etc…

        i’m honestly not sure of all the exact numbers of what’s NOT on our reports, because it’s honestly stuff I haven’t thought of in a few years since my divorce… hasn’t been anywhere near my priority list, but I have rough estimates.

        listed ON HER report – $5582 would get all accounts back into good standing incl. the current mortage;
        not listed, a repoed car plus some other store accounts, estimated to be around $10-15,000 total

        listed ON MY report – just a $547 currently in collections,
        then there’s the repoed car; listed as “charged off”; payment recieved – $16,815; with a note saying “PURCHASED BY ANOTHER LENDER; TRANSFERRED TO ANOTHER OFFICE”, but there is no “other office” listed has having that account against me currently…
        projected date to be removed – 11/2015

        other balances NOT LISTED on my report, estimated total around $2-5,000

        so ON OUR REPORTS RIGHT NOW combined; $6129 puts us to good standing with all debts listed;
        we both have repo’d cars not appearing, estimated between $25-30,000 combined
        (i know those oftentimes could be settled for much less with a full payment)
        and then probably around $5-10,ooo in miscellaneous debts not showing up…

        so should we go looking for them in order to pay up what we owe, because as i understand it, even if they fall off the reports, we do still owe them right???
        or should we just pay what’s on the reports, keep some money aside for “just in case”, and then wait and see what sleeping dragons wake up when we start paying other stuff???

        also, a secondary question, once all in paid off to good standing, her credit score is currently 560 because of the mortage mainly, how long till that is back up over 600? and how long till we can get another bank to consider refinancing the current mortage at a better %rate ($70,000) considering she’ll have over $30,000 equity in the house being mortaged at that price + over $200,000 in additional equity in the 2nd inherited house which has no mortgage + upwards of at least $20,000+ left over after all is said and done, in liquid assets remaining in the bank, with proof of income in the $40,000/yr range… would we be able to refinance “right away”, say a month or 2 after all the debts are cleared back to good standing? or would we still have to wait a year or longer until the credit score comes back up???

        Thanks again.

        • So I took another in depth look at my report(s), and I noticed that on the experian report, the car loan that I had repo’d is listed as last balance $7714, I disputed it in 2010 cited as “due to long term unemployment”, (I left the military in early 2008, couldn’t find work till late 2010, last payment was 2008, car was repo’d in 2009), and it says it was last reported 9/2012, and listed as “Transferred, Closed, $7714 written off”…

          so what does that mean exactly, if it specifically says the last known balance of the account, was “written off”, does that mean they chalked it up as a loss??? i don’t exactly understand…

          AND ALSO, i ran my actual scores just now, and T/U = 652, Exp = 632, and Equifx = 645, so not near as bad as i thought it would be, and certainly in a MUCH better place to build up from, so of course paying that delinquent directTV bill is priority, but after that, what suggestions do you have for rebuilding and bringing the score up?

          • Michael Bovee says:

            Don;t get hung up on the charge off reporting. Lenders have to do that in order to be in compliance with accounting rules and regulations set by the federal government. It does not mean they wrote off the debt, as in forgot about or forgave it (there is such a thing as forgiven debt, just not in the context of your comment).

            Your scores are good all things considered. You could pay the direct TV bill if it is more recent than the others, but consider not doing so if it is the same age on your credit reports as the others (following the thought process outlined in my comment above).

            I would suggest using the free credit report card at http://www.credit.com and looking at the suggestions that system will make to you about improving your credit. But some of what you can do may not make sense to start this year, but would next.

        • Michael Bovee says:

          Sammy – What you shared suggests that all of these debts, hers and yours, are passed the 4 year SOL for you to legitimately be sued in Pennsylvania. When you combine that with the age of these collection accounts that are set to drop off the credit reports next year, it may be best to leave things lay.Follow my reasoning:

          Settling the collection debts will bring a certain amount of recency to them. You get the needed result of the credit reports updating to show these old past due bills are now no longer owed (you get the same result whether you pay in full or settle for less, so at this stage, not settling means tossing money away for the most part). But you also bring a freshness to what are otherwise collection accounts. While new versions of the Vantage credit scoring models do not factor paid collections, FICO still does. You could see a bit of a credit score drop for a few months, rather than an immediate bump. So if it takes several months to negotiate and round up all of the settlements, and several more for the new updates to your credit reports to “season”, you are bucking right up against thetime for these to fall off anyway. That is a lot of work, and many thousands of dollars later, just to get to your goals a few months early.

          Does that make sense?

          One other thing. While some of the collections are not appearing on the credit reports, the collectors or debt buyers that may now own them could still bepaying attention, and have periodic alerts set. Settling with one creditor may cause them to start reporting and seek payment from you, where they were not reporting collections prior, or blowing up your phone and mail box with calls and notices. It does not always work like that, but it can and does often enough.

          If it were me in your shoes I would weigh the cost and benefits of settling, and what I might save if I refi the mortgage a few months earlier, or even a year earlier. My guess, knowing what little I know now, is that holding tight would for the next year until these collections drop off would provide the larger benefit.Of course you would bring the mortgage current, pay any city, county, federal (tax) debts, and anything less than 6-ish years old.

  91. I lived in an apartment complex in college in 2006. Our rent was paid every month on time. As far as I can remember, we did not get our deposit back because they said the carpet was dirty. There was no damage to the property. I got a letter yesterday from a financial group stating that I owe almost $7000.00 in “past rent due, property damages, related fees and any eviction fees’. I do not believe this claim to be true and would like to contact them to dispute it within the 30 day time frame given in the letter, but I fear that responding to this letter will just open a bigger can of worms. The letter also states that they “will furnish at your written request, a verification of the debt, or the name and address of the original creditor”. The SOL in my state is 4 years for debt that is generated from a contractual agreement. Do you have an advice on how to proceed with this matter? Should I respond in writing or contact an attorney?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Lady – It is always a good idea to talk things over with an attorney. That said, you are dealing with a zombie debt collection effort. The debt cannot be sued on (not legitimately), and it is more than the time to show on your credit report. They have zero leverage were you to write a letter requesting all communications to stop, as is your right under federal debt collection laws. If you do send something like this, keep a copy and send certified mail return receipt. Keep the green card you get back, and the letter, in a safe place. If anything pops up with this collector afterward, you will want to have them.

  92. I have a Cap One credit card that I have been paying $30.00 per month through automatic bill payer for a couple years. The account shows charged off on my credit report, but the balance goes down each month, they are not charging any more interest. Am I hurting my self and that this now will not age off my credit report until 7 years from the last payment or will it go off after the first missed payment because the creditor as charged it off.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      If I am understanding what you shared correctly, the Capital One account will fall off your credit reports within 7 years of them having charged it off a couple years ago.

  93. I have 2 open bad accounts in South Carolina, but I live in NJ. They are both on a real estate deal that turned out to be a scam and everybody lost their units. The first mortgage was with Chase and the second mortgage (HELOC) was with Tidelands Bank. I stopped paying on March 2010 on both accounts. Chase filed for foreclosure but dismissed the case on April 2012. At that time they also stopped reporting lates. I can still go to my account online and it shows zero balance and zero amount due. Tidelands never responded to the lawsuit nor they ever contacted me, but they continue reporting lates to the credit bureaus. Those accounts will stay in my credit reports until 12/2016. I understand that SOL in SC is only 3 years, but some tell me that they can still sue me under installment payments contract law, and that is much longer. Is that true? Can they sell the debt to someone in NJ and them use NJ SOL instead of SC SOL? I am tempted to think I am on the clear now, but I am not 100% sure. What do you think?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Eduardo – I would recommend you sit down with an experienced consumer law attorney and go over all of this. The SOL in South Carolina has passed (to sue you, not to report on your credit). The SOL to sue in order to collect on a debt like this in New Jersey is not passed.

      If you need help locating an experienced attorney whose practice is focused in this area of consumer law, post a comment with the name of a nearby larger city, and I will email you contact info I find.

      • Eduardo says:

        Trenton, NJ.
        Is there anything that states that the SOL to follow is the one in the state where the debt is originally taken? Or no such thing?

        • Michael Bovee says:

          There can be. The jurisdiction for dispute resolution is often outlined in the original loan agreement, and can also be part of developed case law and legal strategy, even when outlined in the original loan.

          I sent you an email with contact details to an experienced consumer law attorney that can best advise you.

  94. Christine says:

    I have a debt from 2007 with cities financial for 16,000. My credit report is showing that LVNV funding purchased the debt and they are reporting it as 2009. They are also reporting late payments on the debt and have increased the dollar amount to over 32,000. My experien report says the debt should be removed July of 2014. Is this a true date and also what can I do to make them stop reporting as new every month. I am trying to buy a house and the ” new” reporting is keeping me from getting approved. Please help!

    • Michael Bovee says:

      If your credit reports are showing that the debt is set to fall off in a few weeks I am wondering how any “freshness” is being added. The debt showing unpaid would hurt your chances at financing more based on the new ability to repay rules, and your debt to income being affected.

      Is there some reason you have to try to finance now, as opposed to waiting for July?

      • Christine says:

        We are in a rental with a purchase agreement. The lease is up and I don’t have time to wait for July. The 2 banks turned me down because of this particular charge off. They said my debt to income ratio was good and my credit score was a 647. They said with the new mortgage regulations they weren’t able to help even though they could see the original date of the debt it was being reported as new. I don’t understand why? My income is over $3200 a month and all I have is a car payment of $540. My mortgage with taxes and insurance was estimated at $730 a month.

        • Michael Bovee says:

          I cannot know with the limited view I have, but my guess is that the credit reporting from LVNV is being characterized as “new” in error, but by the loan officers at the banks.

          You could dispute the debt and possibly get a result you need in order to get the loan approved. My guess is that it will be mid June before you know the result of that.
          You could call LVNV as see what gives. If it is a problem on their end, tell them to fix it. In the alternative, file a debt collection complaint with the CFPB. The CFPB complaint is the quickest way to get eyeballs on this by people who care about the issues, both there and at LVNV. I am just not convinced LVNV is wrong here.

  95. Madelyn says:

    Hello Michael,

    I have an old credit card from BOA my last payment was in july of 2006 the balance left was $3600 it was charged of in about October of 2006 with a balence of about $4900 in my credit report it shows it was sold seberal times but with different balances the last one being $8800 also shows that I made a payment of $85 in which I never did. I don’t understand why the balance keeps changing and why they report payments I didn’t make. Can I dispute this account? The account is in Massachusetts. Thank you

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Madelyn – I would dispute this as too old to be on my credit reports (over 7.5 years since last payment). Is it a debt collector, and not Bank of America, reporting a more recent payment of 85 dollars? If so, who is the collector?

      I would send my dispute certified mail return receipt requested. Wait for the credit reporting agencies to respond, and if not removed, post an update and lets go from there.

  96. hi michael. i read through a lot of your advice and have a question myself.

    I recently obtained a copy of my credit reports, and saw that there are 2 medical charges late as of 08. It was sold to a debt collector, and I honestly don’t ever remember being contacted about them. I had multiple addresses in a couple states over a 2 year period. I only know about them from looking at my credit report. Anyway, still to this day no one has contacted me about the debt. It says, between a couple reports, that it will fall off early to mid 2015 ish.

    Is this something i need to worry about being sued over or renewing itself? Or would it be safe to just wait it out and let it disappear?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      You are at risk of being sued on old debts until the SOL expires in your state. What state are you in?

      • Texas, honestly I would have taken care of it years ago had I known. But I was in school and not paying attention. Now that the damage is done, and I’ve already been punished for non payment, and it’s so close to falling off id like to just wait it out as long as there are no adverse effects. If that makes it worse in any way I would reach out and pay it. Considering I haven’t been contacted in 6 years is it safe to assume it will disappear quietly?

        • Michael Bovee says:

          I think you are making a safe assumption that the debt will disappear from your credit reports as scheduled and quietly. The SOL is passed in Texas to use the courts (at least legitimately). The only hiccup would come if you were to be turned down for some form of loan or financing because the debts are showing on your credit reports as unresolved.

          If you have no financing or credit goals in this year time frame, may just want to let things lay.

  97. Hi Michael,
    I just pull my credit report and noticed that I have past due medical Bills on my credit report. (account open 11/1/10 and 12/1/10). These medical bills was for my late husband who passed away recently 12/9/14. I was unaware of this medical bill. I was in Asia when my late husband hospitalized. Now collection agency trying to after me with these two accounts ($129.00 and 113.00)
    These 2 medical bills hurting my good credit. What should I do first? Can I dispute these two negative accounts? Thanks

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Do you recall why these bills were placed in your name and not your husbands? What state do you live in?

  98. California, As I remember it was on my husband name , collection agency tried so many times that was on his name. My late husband told me that the doctor was so mean to him reason for not paying. My husband doesn’t care about his credit history. I was wondering why is it on my credit report ?..How do I fix this problem hurting my good credit..

    • Michael Bovee says:

      You can send dispute letters to the credit reporting agencies as “debt not mine”. Have you checked your credit reports to verify the collections are showing with all three?

      I would try to dispute them as not yours first. Send the disputes in writing, and send certified mail return receipt requested. Post an update with what happens and lets go from there.

      What is the name of the medical billing company, or debt collection agency, showing on your credit reports?
      Do you recall the name of the doctor/service provider?

  99. Thank you, Yes showing 3 repoting agencies. Credit report printout indicated potentially negative? (Seriously past due date/aasigned to attorney,colection agencym or credit grantor’sinternal collection department)

    As i recalled this bills was during emergency room stay. My late husband had a medicare and medical insurance…Medicare paid all charges from this doctor except a small amount (below
    $ 100. dollars ) share for medical to pay. Reason that the G.I. doctor is not accepting medical insurance..

    My husband died 71 y.o. with no money and no assets. I am in the process of building up my own credit. But because of this 2 negative reports it drop down my score to 601… I was doing find with my score 4 months ago until just this month it was reported to 3 agencies…

    COACHELLA VAL COL SV, I dont know his doctor’s name. My late husband said that was during hospitalization only. He doesn’t like the doctor because he was arrogant to him. The sad part is i dont have any documentation now since i destroyed it last month.

    Hope by disputing this it will resolve my negative credit.. Thank you so much for quick reply.

  100. Hi, Michael

    I edited the last post and please consider this is the correct one. Thanks a lot.

    First of all, thank you for your efforts to help people to deal with their credit issues and hope you can give me some suggestions on my cases.
    I am living in California.
    On my credit report which I got it from Transunion yesterday, in the Public Records Section, there is state tax lien $6,525;
    Date filed: 08/20/2012
    Date Updated: 09/19/2012
    Responsibility: Individual Debt
    Court Type: Recorder of Deeds
    Estimated month and year that this item will be removed:07/2022

    In Adverse Accounts Section, there are two accounts both with Chase bank
    Home Equity Loan
    Date opened: 09/27/2006
    Date Updated: 01/31/2010
    Dated Closed: 01/27/2010
    Last payment Made: 07/23/2009
    Pay Status: Charged off
    High Balance $182,000
    Credit Limit $182,000
    Remarks: >Unpaid Balance Charged off
    Estimated month and year that this item will be removed: 08/2016

    Conventional Real Estate MTG
    Date opened: 08/31/2006
    Date Updated: 07/31/2009
    Date Closed: 07/31/2009
    Last payment Made: 09/02/2008
    Pay Status: Account 120 days past due dateForeclosure Initiated Foreclosure Collateral Sold In Collection<
    Responsibility: Individual account
    Account type: Open account
    Original Creditor: WaterStone At Millbrae CA (rental/ Leasing)
    Loan type: Collection Agency/Attorney
    Remarks: Placed for Collection
    Estimated month and year that this item will be removed: 05/2020

    Another one which is no on my Credit Report yet, the Collector has been calling me. and it is Ambulance bill of $2,600.

    My debtors seem to update the info every year so it seems that I can never get rid off my debts.

    My Questions are, does the state tax lien relate to my property that has been foreclosured already? Or is it property tax? Do I need to pay the property tax?
    If it is worthy for me to pay the rental and Ambulance bills in portion to settle the two cases?
    Right now I have a job with $2000 income after tax and I also have one credit card with $2000 limit. And it is very hard for me to save much money to pay off the debt if you live in CA.
    If you were me, what would you do to settle the debt?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      I may not even look at settling the debt as an option. Not unless there were some compelling reason I should avoid bankruptcy.

      The tax issue could be related to the foreclosure, but call and ask for more details.
      How much is owed on the Water Stone collection account?
      Do you have any lump sum of money saved up currently? If so, how much?

      • Thanks for your reply. The waterstone bill is $1,760 . And I have $2000 cash on hand now.

        • Michael Bovee says:

          You may be able to settle the medical bill and WaterStone for 2k right now, but a few hundred more than what you have on hand today would be more realistic. The balance on the Chase home equity loan is going to haunt you for a long time. That leaves the tax lien. If you can discharge that, along with all of the other debts, through chapter 7 bankruptcy, it could provide the fresh start you need. If the tax debt is of a type that is not easily discharged, using BK to free yourself from the other bills, and setting up an affordable payment plan for the tax lien, will still get you there.

          Find out what type of tax debt it is that led to the public notice of lien on your credit reports.
          Talk to a bankruptcy attorney if you have not already. If you have, what stops you from filing? If you have not, you can call 877-278-8117 to talk more about the option.

          If bankruptcy is just off the table, post more about that, and lets go from there.

          • Thanks Michael!

            Actually, I talked to a bankruptcy attorney 5 months ago and she told me charpter 7 can removed all of my debits including the tax lien. The reason stopping me from filing Charpter 7 was I really not sure filing a bankruptcy is really a good solution for me or not! Is there any bad outcomes incurring in my future life? I am an immigrant with limited English and knowledge. So, I really don’t know what is a better solution for me. What will happen if I don’t take care of the debts? Will it be really gone after certain years? Will my life be different if I negotiate with my debtors and settle the debts? I really don’t know what should I do right now!

            • Michael Bovee says:

              If you have not been sued yet, and the time allowed for in California to sue in order to collect expires (generally 4 years from the date you last paid), you just wait a few more years for the debts to drop from your credit reports. If you are sued, pursuing bankruptcy would be the most affordable, and complete route to debt relief. You could file now, and along with the fresh financial start, quit looking over your shoulder for debt collectors. There is a different kind of value in that.

              You could probably be in and out of the bankruptcy inside of a few months, and the cost would likely be less than 2k.

              As far as bad outcomes go with bankruptcy, it can vary from person to person. Most people are concerned about how bankruptcy shows on your credit reports, and how that impacts your credit scores. Read more about those concerns here.

              Do you work in financial services?
              Require security clearances for work?

              • Yes, Michael! I mayjor in accounting and now I am working in a bank!

                • Michael Bovee says:

                  That is the one area I would be concerned about with bankruptcy in your situation. Most focus on the credit reporting aspects of bankruptcy and the 7 or 10 years it can stay on credit reports. You can learn more about why that is not a great way to evaluate the benefits of chapter 7 here.

  101. So we got scammed in a timeshare in March of 2009, I tried to get them to cancel but they wouldn’t, I told them I would never pay them another dime until they recitifed the situation which they never did. BUT they did stop sending us bills, we have never received another bill since 2009. But of course it’s on our credit report as serious delinquency. I was told that at some point I can get it off my report…when would that be? I am in the state of WA. We will not ever pay them, I told them I would file for bankruptcy before I ever paid them another dime. We lost $5,000 when we signed up and I told them that was all they would get. We got screwed. But they have never tried to collect again on it.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      The time share loan delinquency on your credit report should age off after 7 to 7.5 years from the date you first missed payments… similar to how a credit card would fall off your credit reports were you to stop paying. That could change if you were sued for collection and a judgment entered in the court. That would breath new credit damage into this situation. But like you said, no one has made any efforts to collect, and that does happen. If anyone does contact you for collections, post an update, and lets go from there.

      Curious… what was it the time share company did to screw you over?

    • Actually it says it will fall off in 2/2016. But it says updated 5/05/2014. What is updated? They don’t send me bills. It does say account info disputed by consumer. So do I just wait till 2016? Or is there anything I can do?

      • Michael Bovee says:

        If you do not want to pursue the issue more than you already have, just wait for the time share to fall off of your credit reports.

        You have already disputed with the credit bureaus. You may be able to escalate this if there were false, misleading, or deceptive angles to pursue. I am curious about that.

        • There were false, misleading and deceptive angles, first was, my mom had a time share with them too, and they were going to roll hers into ours so she wouldn’t have to pay on hers anymore. They didn’t do that. Then they don’t give your paperwork, they give you a CD and by the time you get home to read the fine print the time to cancel has expired, I think it was like 5 days, but we were there 7. So in Mexico, you have no documents to go over. They completely lied to us. But how do I prove that?

        • Oh and I did not dispute with credit bureaus, I only did with the resort recovery solutions, I sent them a certified letter, told them it was fraud what El Cid had done to us and we were not going to pay another dime. So should I dispute with credit bureaus, or will that reopen the case. A part of me just wants to lay low and have this whole, horrible, stupid mistake on our part just go away.

          • Michael Bovee says:

            So it was not a financial transaction with a US based company?

            One path to follow would be to file complaints with the CFPB. I could view your situation as part of a credit reporting complaint, but if not a US based transaction, would file a dispute with the credit bureaus that have this on your reports. If the situation is not resolved, then file with the CFPB.

            I hear you on letting this lay fora couple years until it is over. Many of us would choose to do just that. And if you have no major financing goals until this collection falls off of your credit, it will not be a big deal.

  102. I have a debt from a cable company that is 9 years old but the date on the credit report shows 6 years old. What can I do about it? I’m in Arkansas.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      What is the name of the cable company reporting it, or is it a debt collector showing? Is this showing on all 3 credit reports? Have you disputed the credit entry in writing with the bureaus that have it? How about with the cable company (or debt collector if that is the case)?

  103. Britney says:

    I need help.

    My husband has an unpaid phone bill from at&t. It went into collections May 2008, so it has already been on hjs credit report before. We just checked his credit and now they are showing the collection account date changed to March 2014 which caused his credit score to go down again. What do we do to fix this? I know they arent suppose to do that right? Thanks.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Dispute the delinquency date with the credit reporting agency that the collection is appearing on. Send your written dispute via certified mail return receipt requested. Post an update with the result of that, and if necessary, lets go from there.

  104. Hello Michael I have a couple questions for you. I’m 27 yrs old and yesterday I was denied a apartment application which in tun was my 1st steps in rebuilding my credit. I was in the military at a young age and did alot of stupid things (taking out loans for other people, not paying cellphone bills or credit cards). I did the free report from creditkarma and they pull my report and score from transunion. My score is a poor 536. I have 11 collections. I have roughly 11k in school loans from Sallie Mae (payments start in June, I want to make sure they don’t default) and about 2300 left for my car loan (originally 20k starting back in 2006 ). I have no credit cards.

    1st question. 2 of my collection accts are from LVNV funding. First one is from Equity One. This loan was made in 2006 for 6,500 from American General. I took out 4k in Nov/Dec 2006 (the stupid mistake for someone else) and another 1500 like in Sept 2007 totaling 6500. I have not made a payment to this account since 2007 because the person who i took the loan out for stop paying. The younger me refused to pay for something I didn’t use, but I took it out and it’s affecting me so I have to take care of it regardless. LVNV is reporting that I owe them 7500 with a date opend of June 2013! That is totally false. It says the orginal balance (i’m guessing from Equity One, i think they bought American General) is 6725. My question is can they do that??? It seems they are re-setting my SOL 7 yrs clock. Shouldn’t that collection fall off 2015 regardless of them saying newer dates? The 2nd collection LVNV has is from my original debtor Credit One Bank for a credit card. The amount I owed is 603 and was from 2007 but LVNV says the balance is 1135 with a opened date of 2009! Totally false again. Should I dispute this with the CRAs or just wait until 2015 after the SOL and dispute it then for them to take them off?

    2nd question. These are the collection accts and amounts…474 medical bill, 7500 LVNV funding, 113 Uhaul bill, 1135 LVNV funding, 420 medical bill, 405 storage unit bill, 2081 Broke a apt lease, 557 capital one cc, 363 medical bill, 93 progressive ins, 74 library books. Some of these are really low that I could pay them off (113, 93, 74). The other amounts are low enough that I can pay then with my tax refund. 3 of them should fall off soon due to the 7yrs (7500, 1135, 557). Should I go with a company like Lexington Law first to try to get some of these disputed and taken off? Should I pay the full amounts or try to ask for a settlement? Does it even matter with collection accts if they are paid in full or settled in terms of my score? I understand even when i pay them, they will still show as a negative mark. Can I ask them to remove it in good faith (yeah I know i’m really ambitious)? Are there any ways to get these collection accounts off my report other than waiting the 7yrs?

    Last question…Will getting a secured credit card right now be beneficial for me, even without paying those collection accts off as of yet? I don’t want to wait until next march for my tax refund to start being proactive. Although I can’t pay the bigger amounts now, will getting a secured card help me (my score) anyway? Also when my car is paid off, will that help? Thank you so much for taking the time out to help me out!!

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Ashley – Before I go into more detailed feedback it would help to know what state you are in, and if you have been there for more than a year?

  105. Hello Michael! Thank you for responding. I currently live in Columbia SC. I moved back here (born and raised) from Atlanta GA Oct of 2013.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Thanks. I do not think you are at much risk of being sued at this point. And because the bulk of these debts are set to fall off your credit reports shortly, if it were me, I would wait for most to drop off, rather than shell out a good amount of money for little credit recovery.

      It is not clear to me that LVNV is reporting a newer date causing their entry to start its 7 year count down from 2013. That may be when LVNV got your account from some other debt buyer. If the LVNV, or any other debt collector now reporting, does not fall off from your credit reports at the same time the original creditor charge Goff’s do, that will be a quick fix, and a quick credit reporting complaint to the CFPB if your original efforts do not yield the correct result.

      The incorrect balance reporting by LVNV on the other account is, in the overall messy credit report picture you have, not hurting you. But include this dispute if you like when disputing any of the other incorrect collections.

      I would dispute the smaller balances if you find anything wrong with them, an not just because they exist. If any smaller collection accounts,or bigger ones for that matter, are set to stay on your credit reports for more than, say 18 months, I would consider negotiating a lower pay off and settling them (unless you plan on purchasing a home in that time frame). Small balance accounts do not often settle for any significant savings. You can read more about that here: http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/credit-card-debt-to-include-in-settlement-plan/

      Negotiate settlements for the best savings wherever possible. Any expectations for, or getting hung up on, a pay for delete strategy will not yield much of anything, and even if you were able to get a debt collector to agree, it is not likely to help your overall situation because of how much is going on.

      Here is my thinking on working with or hiring Lexington Law for credit repair: Only do that if you are not going to do this yourself, or you know that you have a tendency to start projects and lose interest quickly. This is something you can do for yourself, but the letter writing, tracking, and responses, will be a project. But tracking things to the point you have already has been one too, so you know that.

      Lexington Law is one of the only places I would send people to for credit repair. They are not overly expensive, and fill a niche in the credit recovery market place when people cannot or will not do this for themselves. Just know that they are probably not going to get all this stuff off, and that you should negotiated and settle the debts you want to first before sending in credit reporting disputes.

      I would get the secured credit card to start to build that account history as soon as you have settled the collection accounts you are going to. Debt collection companies can often see what is going on with your credit real time. New stuff makes it look like you are more collectable.

  106. Hi Michael!

    First, I want to say how wonderful it is that you take your time helping people with their questions and problems. I am very thankful to have come across your website and would truly appreciate your advice. I pulled my credit report from Credit Karma today, and I discovered that I have one account in collections. I would have paid this if I had known about it but no one has EVER reached out to me about it. I asked my parents if they had ever been contacted because I was in college out of state when it happened. My home address was the same as theirs and they never were contacted.

    Here is the information:
    Current and original balance: $160- I can pay this now with no problem
    Collectors: Merchants Credit Assoc.
    State: I lived in Illinois all my life but moved to Missouri a few months ago. The account is in IL
    Date Opened: March 3, 2010
    Date Reported: June 10, 2010

    This is an old medical bill that I honestly do not even remember. I have always had health insurance and have never had any major medical problems- just typical check ups so there is a possibility it was a mistake, I guess. I am not certain either way.

    What I am asking is for next steps. My credit is fine and this is the one problem but any improvement is going to be helpful. Should I pay it? Or will it go away within a certain time? Is there a chance that if I don’t pay it, the collectors could report it again so it will be new and never fall off my report? If I pay it, it won’t help my report any, right?

    Also I took a look at my accounts and there are two credit cards I don’t recognize. They say CB/EXPRESS and CB/ BUCKLE. I know those are two clothing stores, but I rarely if ever shop at either. Buckle I have been to once in my life and I would never have opened a store credit card. They were both opened in 2008. Everything is listed as $0 under these accounts- I owe nothing and have never spent anything, etc. I also don’t have the physical cards, so again, I am not sure how these were opened. However, I was young so I could have overlooked something, unknowingly. Does this hurt my credit?

    Any advice is appreciated.

    Please let me know if you need anymore information and thank you so much again.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Because you are fuzzy on the details of the medical bill, I would first want to know more about the debt, the dates incurred, services rendered, etc. This may be an error of some sort, and if it is, the result of correcting the medical billing error may be the removal of the collection on your credit reports.

      Start by calling Merchants Credit Associates, or the service provider, and get to the bottom of this. Post more details as you learn them.

      On the Department store cards you see on your credit reports… close um if they are truly yours, and you do not have any intention of using them. It could be one of those things where you walked in and bought something and were asked if you wanted to save 25% on your purchase today by opening an account, followed by data entry errors from there. But it could be an issue where the credit reporting agencies are mixing files with someone who has a similar name, or other identifiers.

      Have you only checked one credit report to verify these entries?
      Have you access your 1 free credit report every 12 months directly from the 3 majors?

  107. Hi Michael

    I just received a call from a collection company trying to collect a debt from years ago. The debt was originally from American General and then sold to Springleaf. I have not received anything reguarding this debt for many years up until recently I received a letter from LVN funding and that’s who is trying to collect but I received a call from a different company saying they were going to report back to LVN. I did not agree to owning the debt or anything concerning the debt, I told him I have not received anything about the debt for at least 6 years. The loan was taken out while I was living in PA and now reside in VA not sure how the SOL’s work for these states? Also he said the last payment was Dec 06. At one point LVN funding showed on my report but according to CreditKarma there is nothing bad and I currently have a 746. What should I do? and What can I do?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Archie – It sounds like the debt is too old to show on your credit reports any longer. And with a last payment date of December 2006, is passed the SOL in both Pennsylvania and Virginia to sue you for.

      There is literally no legitimate leverage left for a debt collector to use in order to illicit a payment from you at this point. That does not mean the debt goes away, it is still legitimately collectable. What is your goal with this account?

      • I would like it to go away, I just pulled my transunion report and it shows as normal account opened 1/30/2006, balance $0 with a high balance of 3500. I know different reports show different things. Creditkarma had it listed a few months ago with LVN as the collection company but now there is nothing there as well. There was no collection account and no missed payments but I do know that its a delinquent account after the moving to and from I totally forgot about it and now its so long ago and they are trying to collect 5k or so on debt that was not for that amount. Just looking for the best advice all traces should be off my report or a least coming off correct? What would be the best thing to do with it? I have worked hard to get my credit to where it is now and want to keep it there and not have anything bump it as my wife and I might be looking to put a addition on our house and I am currently not on the mortgage.

        • Michael Bovee says:

          It has been longer than 7.5 years since the last payment than all credit reports should have already removed any entry regarding this collection account.

          If it were me, I would send a written dispute letter to all credit reporting agencies indicating this trade line is too old to appear on your credit reports. Send a copy of your dispute to any creditor or debt collection company who is giving the dated info to the credit bureaus. Use certified mail return receipt to send your letters. Keep a copy of your letter, and the green return receipt cards organized and in a safe place. If the out of date credit information is not removed on the first go, post an update and lets go from there.

  108. Hello Michael, thank you for your response the other day! I have another question. Originally I only had my transunion report but I decided to pull the other 2. Low and behold I have other accts in collections that were reported to the other 2 and not transunion. One in particular is total bs and I would like to know what should I write in my dispute letter. The acct is owned by quality something something and they are saying I owe them 3400. Here’s where its from. In 2009 I moved into an apt called Highland Woods in GA my lease was from Jan 2009 until Jan 2010. The apts were so crime infected (my car was broken into) that I moved Jan 1 2010, not staying that last month or paying that last mths rent because I used it to move. I figured they would just take my deposit. I paid my rent that whole entire year, except for the last mth. My rent was $600 and my deposit was 600. There is no way I owe 3400 from 600! I talked to a credit counselor and she asked did I give 30 day notice to leave and I’m not sure. If I didn’t give a written noticed I know I voiced that I was leaving because my car was broken into etc etc. but they are definitely janky and it my word against theirs. She said they could have automatically rolled me over another 6mths knowing I left and charged me even though I wasn’t physically living there. She said they have to have records of my lease and payment info so to call them. When I looked them up to call today, they changed the name, then I found a article that in 2010 the owner Miles properties filled for chapter 11 bankruptcy owing 21 million! Now I see why they may have screwed me! Now I can bet my last dollar that they don’t have my lease info or paper work to prove I owe them that amount! Should I call the collection agency that now owns the debt or just bypass them and write the credit bureau with a dispute letter? When I write the CB should I say, the acct shown here xyz does not belong to me, please verify this acct and that I owe this debt of 3400. I would like this debt to be removed from my report. Thank you. Any info helpful! Thanks guys

    • Michael Bovee says:

      If you are going to go with an “account not mine” strategy, I would not elaborate in any way at all if it were me. I would just say this account is not mine. I would copy the credit reporting agency and the information furnisher.

  109. I’m trying to get a loan for a home. The loan institution has gathered my credit report. They have found that I have a judgment against me from a Stafford Student loan. My youngest child is 23 years old, I believe I had this loan when she was around 1-2 years old. I did not pay this loan off, but with it being 21-22 years later should this still be showing on my credit report? I’m thinking the loan was with another company many years ago. Unfortunately I do not have any of the paperwork. Thank you!

    • Michael Bovee says:

      What is the date the original judgment was granted in the court? What state are you in?

      Your consumer credit report may not be how the loan officer found the old collection account. Judgments are a matter of public record, and underwriting can access that information other than from the major credit bureaus.

  110. Stafford loans, judgment or not have no SOL. They probably didnt sue on it for about 10 years and then could have renewed the judgment. You will not get a house until it is paid in full.

  111. Cheri L. says:

    I have been paying the hospital for services I received during 2012 and 2013. The bill is about $1,500 and I have been paying $15 per month. Can the hospital turn me over to a collection agency or report anything negative on my credit report? They recently sent me a letter saying to contact them before they sent it to collections. I thought as long as I am making an effort it could not go on to collections or on my report. I will contact them but want to know if they can actually do that while I am making payments.
    Thank you!

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Cheri – It is common for debts that are only receiving partial/smaller payments to still get sent to collections. If you do not have an agreement to pay less than the minimum due, or some other payment arrangement, lenders and businesses will follow often treat those accounts just like they do when they are being paid nothing.

      Call them and see what you can work out. Post an update with the outcome.

  112. Hi, I had a contract with T-Mobile in 2010 i cancelled the contract before the end so had the termination fee which I disputed the amount with them but got no where and so apparently T-mobile sold the debt and it is obviously not close enough to the 7.5 year mark to fall off. My issue is that the original creditor (T-Mobile) is not showing on any of my three reports but there are two collections agency’s showing up with two different dates, same amount but with two of them the debt shows to be over 4,000 what should I do about this?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Kris – Are both collection accounts showing an amount due and owing as of right now?

      Who are both companies reporting?
      What was the balance owed immediately after cancelling with T-Mobile?

  113. Rachelle says:

    We are trying to buy a house and they pulled our credit report, we have sonething on our credit that is supposed to come off our report this month…(we didn’t know that)…my husband had contacted the company to see how much we owe, because we had to file taxes on it and we thought hat we paid it off, but apparently it was just the taxes that we had to not come off our claim…with us contacting that company will it not come off our credit report this month now

    • Michael Bovee says:

      If a debt collection account is set to fall off your credit reports, calling the collector that is the source of the information will not change the date it comes off of your report. Even paying an old bill cannot cause it to stay on your credit reports longer.

  114. Hello,
    I received a huge medical bill from giving birth to my son and the collection agency is calling me telling me that I need to pay it in one lump sum and I just do not have that kind of money. I explained this to them and they are making it sound like even if I get put on a payment plan through them that this can still show up on my Credit Report. How can I avoid this showing up on my Report w/out having to stress about paying the entire thing at once?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      How long ago was it that your son was born?
      Have you talked about payment options with the medical billing company for the hospital or doctor office?

      Ideally you want to work with the service provider or their billing company when setting up affordable payments. Some hospitals are required to write off a certain portion of services to patients that qualify based on low income parameters. Do you know if your bills qualify? You can ask the service provider directly.

      Working with the original lender and coming to an agreement, before any medical debts show up on your credit report, can often mean they never will.

  115. Hello

    Date Filed or First Reported is that the very first time that a debt was reported or just reported through this collection agency?
    I had a cellphone that I called and told Sprint i was moving to mexico and there was no service there. Apperantly they didnt cancel my service and now im stuck with 230.00 debt. But this was way back in 2007 im back in the states now and i seen on my credit report that they filed a collection with CONVERGENT OUTSOURCING Date Filed or First Reported 01/2012. Why did they wait nearly 5years to report this had they did it in 07-08 it would of be falling off this year or next. So my 7 years start after 01/2012?

    thanks in advance

    • Michael Bovee says:

      First reported would be specific to the furnisher, in this case the debt collector for Sprint. The 7 year reporting limit for Convergent Outsourcing is the same for the Sprint entry.

      Continue to watch your credit reports. And keep copies that you have in your hands now. When it comes time for the Sprint entry to fall off your credit, make sure the Convergent item disappears too. If it does not, post an update and lets go from there.

  116. Hi Michael,

    I reside in California, I came from a very abusive background, I was a very naive, and vulnerable young adult at that time. I did not know any better, I acquired credit cards to help my family. My parents who abused me, have used my credit cards, and when I decided to stand up on my feet to cut them off from using my cards. They refused to continue to pay their debts which resulted me in not being able to pay for them. So I sort of ignored the creditors, now it has been over 22 years, I just finally started to rebuild my credit last year or so, then my 20 plus years debt showed up today which threw me off guard. According to this letter that I received, it threatened to impact my current credit report with negative report if I fail to repay. It was from the bill collector, I don’t know what to do at this point. I was told that it would go off my credit report after 7 plus years. Now this letter, how can they give me negative on my current report after I already had negative report for so many years? What should I do? Should I dispute or write them a letter to tell them to leave me alone? Thanks for your help.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      If I were certain that the debt is one from that far back, or otherwise know it has been more than 7 and half years since a payment was sent in, I would send a letter demanding they cease communicating with me (send certified mail return receipt). If anything did show up on my credit report, I would consult immediately with an attorney experienced in collection violations, and fair credit reporting. In fact, if the letter you have is making a direct reference to harm your credit, and you have not read more into what is being stated, I would talk with an attorney about the letter now, and before sending a cease communication, or any other letter.

      What is the name of the collection company?

      • Sassene says:

        DYNAMIC RECOVERY SOLUTIONS, I am not quite sure if you would receive my in depth reply via email, but I replied. I had to Google the original creditor to see what credit card it was regarding to. It went back that many years, because I have not used that for years. It was bought off by another owner so is it then now not valid debt?

        • Michael Bovee says:

          I did get your email. I am going to respond to that here in the comments. Please keep everything in the comments on the site so other people can follow along and pick up anything useful they may use for themselves.

          Equifax asking you to match up credit information it has in its file as a security question, and that process failing to get you access, does not necessarily mean someone has used your identity, or that the Target credit card you have is part of the data breach that was highly publicized, etc. You need to get a copy of the Equifax credit report and verify the auto loan taken out in your name in 2008, and the mortgage from last year. It could be a mixed file issue, or something glitchy with the web security structure, or something else. You may find that your identity was stolen. But until you get that sorted out, there is little to file in a police report. And you need the details from their file in order to dispute what could clearly be inaccurate credit reporting.

          As for Dynamic Recovery Solutions appearing as an inquiry on your credit report, that is normal. Debt collectors can continue to collect on legitimate debts long after the debt fell off your credit files. The debt collector will often make credit report inquiries to judge whether you are someone who is now worth trying to collect from because the report shows evidence that your finances have improved (you have new cards you are paying on since 2010 etc). DRS is not reporting a collection account, that is the main concern I had.

          You can still send them the cease communication letter. The verbiage you shared in the email you sent to me does not suggest DRS threatened negative credit reporting if you did not pay them. If there was something threatening like this referenced in the letter that you did not share in your email to me, please post that here. But there is nothing to dispute on your credit reports regarding Dynamic Recovery Solutions reporting a collection account, based on what you shared with me.

          Send the cease communication letter to Dynamic if you like. It will stop the letters, and any phone calls they might make to collect. And this far along, where you cannot be legitimately sued for collection, and the collections cannot show on your credit reports, there is no risk. Be sure to keep a copy of any collection letters you get, or letters that you may send. Use certified mail return receipt requested when sending letters to debt collectors, or credit reporting agencies for that matter.

          You can write to Equifax and request a copy of your credit report from them. You do not have to rely on the web site.

          If you do find evidence of identity theft, post an update and lets go from there.

  117. Sassene says:

    Thank you, Michael for your reply. I was unable to get a hold of Equifax, so I am going to have to wait until Monday. I was very stressed out by the letter from Dynamic Recovery Solutions because they had stated that if I send them a letter will not make the debt go away if I owe it, they will not contact me again however, they will take a specific action against me. They expect a payment from me by July 12th, if I dispute the validity of this debt they will assume that this debt is valid. I really believed, and thought that if it was more than 8 years, they would write it off. Also, they also stated that if I don’t pay, they will impact a negative report on my credit score, which upset me because I came this far to reestablish my credit. If I recall correctly, I did stop paying them over 20 years, but to be certain, it was fairly over 17 years.

    You suggest that I send them a letter to cease communication, can Dynamic really impact negative report on my current score? That is what scares me, as I mentioned that I have came this far to reestablish my credit, starting over. It would be very unfair for them to do this to me, especially when I already had negative score for so long. Is it possible for us to get negative report again for same debt from years ago? Thanks so very much in advance. I will keep you updated on the identity theft. I won’t know until I get a copy from Equifax.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Sassene – I am at a disadvantage without being able to read the letter you refer to. What you say it says would suggest to me that their are collection violations in that letter. But they are so blatant that I would want to review that.

      Post the name of a nearby larger city and I can email you contact details to an attorney close by with the experience you need. Call and consult with them about the letter.

      • Sassene says:

        Thank you Michael, I live in Los Angeles county, so I would say Los Angeles, California. I reside in Compton, CA 90650. I was able to get a hold of Equifax through VRS (Video Relay Service, sign language service) so they told me that I will be receiving the report letter within 7 to 10 business days. I appreciate your input, and thanks once again.

  118. I am having a huge problem with a gas company (for heating). I have in the passed disputed that we originally closed our account, but could not prove it (lost papers since we move so much.) We should of never owed this money. But, my complaint is they keep changing the original date of payment of default. I had to send a letter a few some years ago because they changed it to a new open account. Now they are trying to get away with it again.

    The original date of collection should be 2005. This has been in collection since my first born was 2 or 3 years old. He’s 10 and half now. This account needs to be deleted. The original date placed for collection is a lie. They will also not work with me to pay off the debt of $608. I have tried to ask for payment plan and they were rude, very rude and cold. I do want to pay this off. But they just need to be honest.

    Also, most of my bad collections are either paid off and are since 20o8 or 2009. When will they be gone? Other two are judgement. One paid in full and the other still open says till 02/2015.

    [edited to remove collection account details]

    Responsibility: Joint Account
    Account Type: Open Account
    Loan Type: COLLECTION
    AGENCY/ATTORNEY
    Balance: $608
    Date Updated: 02/05/2014
    Original Amount: $469
    Original Creditor: [edited to remove collection agency]
    CO (Utilities)
    Past Due: >$608In CollectionPLACED FOR COLLECTION<
    Estimated month and year that this item will be removed: 06/2017

  119. oops maybe I should of not put the collection info. Can you delete that part?

  120. Forgot to mention my two collection judgments are school loans. One was from 2008. Other was small so I paid in full and was opened in 9/ 2012. Removed 7/2019

    I have four school loans that have the same acct number with different amounts of money showing. Is this right? Also these were opened in 7/2009. And is suppose to be removed 6/2016.

    I’m trying not to be excited about finally getting a fresh start. Hoping my credit score will go up after these are off my reports. And I can finally have a fresh start. My score is 599 and I have one secure credit card paying on time. Just opened. Don’t want anymore!

    • Michael Bovee says:

      File a credit reporting complaint with as much detail and chronology as you can with the CFPB. Complaint page is here. If the account you first posted about above persists, post an update after the CFPB investigation results.

      You should try to come up with a plan to deal with the remaining judgment. The balance is likely growing from interest set by the court, and often gives the creditor extra ordinary collection methods like bank levy and wage garnishment (how much or if at all depends on the state you live in). And thought the judgment may age off of your credit reports, it is still enforceable, and for much longer than how long it shows on your credit. It will still show up in public records, and may still hurt your ability to get a home mortgage etc.

      • The one civil judgement I owe $3,540 Date Filed 03/2008 Date updated 06/16/2008
        Will be removed 02/2015

        This is my only judgement. You said this one won’t just fall off as it says? This originally was owed same date as the other school loans since 2005. All of them are over 10 years old.

        • I am an Oregon resident too if this helps.

          • Michael Bovee says:

            Judgments fall off of credit reports. What I referred to is that just because it is off of the credit report, does not mean it cannot be enforced (collected on through lien, levy or garnishment), or located through public records search, and hold up something like of new home purchase. Judgment debt in Oregon is good for ten years, and can be renewed for another 10. Government backed student debt remains collectable for, well… ever for most people (but DOE does offer different solutions).

            While your credit is improving, and will continue to with all of the awareness and effort you are putting into it, there are still some concerns.

            If you would like to know more about your risks of collection, post details about the judgment, and include the fact you are in Oregon, over on this page: http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/question/social-security-pension-state-exemption-debt-collector-garnishment/ – I can respond with what exemptions there are from judgment creditors collection efforts.

  121. What can I do on this account? There is no way I can ever pay this back?

    Date Filed: 02/12/1998 AES/SunTrust Bank “Student Loan Perm Assign Govert; Claim filed with Government.Expire 06/2015

    Also, this account repeats same acct # four times and same info date and everything, but with different amounts.

  122. Date Filed : 7/16/2009 ECMC Expires 6/2016 private loan Same as above too, private loan

    Also, this one too, account repeats same acct # four times and same info date and everything, but with different amounts.

  123. Correction most of bad debt is from 1999 or 1998 and are paid debt or should be closed I thought?

    The Bonniville above here is not true on their Date Filed. They have done this before. I had it corrected and now they are doing it again. This account should of been removed. It was first diliquent in 2005.

    Sorry for all the posts, but I am so stressed and need advice as soon as you can.

  124. Credit card 6 Unifund CCR Partners v. [edit] (Oregon Court of Appeals Docket [edit]) and Unifund CCR Partners v. [edit] (Docket [edit])
    Spoken contract 6 ORS 12.010
    Written contract 6* ORS 12.080
    Mortgage contract 6**
    Promissory note 6 ORS 12.080
    Judgment 10 ORS 12.070 and 18.150 to 18.162, and ORS 18.180
    * 10 years for “sealed instrument” (ORS 12.070)
    ** Presumed.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      How much does this one with Unifund show as owing?

      • This (sorry) was just a copy and paste of Oregon’s SOL. Those are not anything owed statement. I was tired when I was posting these yesterday.

  125. In my attempt to self-help, I disputed two collection agency amounts on my Experian Credit Report that had small amounts on charged off credit cards. Both accounts had been paid in full through wage garnishments in 2010 and 2011. I was hoping that if they could not verify that they would be deleted. Not so much. One actually reaged it by reporting it with a new amount.

    I’m confused on how they can get a default judgement, garnish my paycheck, and then continue to try to collect and damage my credit even further.

    I received a email notification today from Experian where they both came back verified as either updated or remained unchanged.

    No. 1. This account was paid in full through a wage garnishment in 2011 for $2241.43. Why are they saying that I owe an additional $100, now $101.

    UPDATED WITH NEW AMOUNT

    Account Name LVNV FUNDING LLC (Mary Jane M Elliott P.C.)
    Account # 4XXXXXXX
    Account Type Debt Purchase
    Balance $101.00 (Was $100, but after dispute they changed the amount to 101.00) – the effect as if new collection.
    Date Opened 11/1/2008
    Account Status Closed
    Mo. Payment
    Past Due $101.00
    Payment Status Seriously past due date / assigned to attorney, collection agency, or credit grantor’s internal collection department
    High Balance
    Limit
    Terms 1 Month
    Comments Account in dispute-reported by subscriber

    No. 2. This account was paid/satisfied in full through a wage garnishment in 2010 through a different agency Weber & Olcese, P.L.C. Have a copy of the Certificate of Satisfied Judgment from the firm. How can National Credit Adjust be charging me. For what?

    REMAINED UNCHANGED

    Account Name NATIONAL CREDIT ADJUST
    Account # 54XXXXXXXX
    Account Type Debt Purchase
    Balance $99.00
    Date Opened 12/1/2009
    Account Status Closed
    Mo. Payment
    Past Due $99.00
    Payment Status Seriously past due date / assigned to attorney, collection agency, or credit grantor’s internal collection department
    High Balance
    Limit
    Terms 1 Month
    Comments

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Loise – I would encourage you to file detailed complaints with the CFPB. They could be credit reporting complaints, or debt collection complaints. Here is the page to start that process: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/

      Be thorough with your complaint as possible. Post an update with the results when you know them (can take a few weeks), and lets go from there.

  126. Last question, I think ;/

    My ECMC account for student loan is not my orginal collector. It was LVNV,LLC which the government bought my debt then turned and contracted it to ECMC. My orginial diliquency has been since 2004. It shows it will be removed 06/2016. What can I do with this situation? I can’t pay it is still too much. I have not talked to them ever, ECMC. They show that it was reported, filed 2009. Sorry for all the questions, but I do appreciate your advice greatly!

  127. Hi – thanks for this site.
    I had a lot of old debts I racked up back in 2002 – then left the country for 12 years. I am now looking at coming back and all 3 of my credit reports show $0 balances. However Experion shows the history of one debt (10k) as transferred / purchased by another lender – but the status is set to ‘ok’ and $0 balance. Last payment in 2002. Am I all clear here? Or can I expect to be harassed by collection agents upon return? And will I be able to build credit with this new $o balance/ok status? Do lenders see the ‘transferred’ status – or do they just see a clear $0 credit report, like a fresh start? There don’t seem to be any negative comments. Thanks so much for your help.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      You may get collection calls and letters if any of the debt collectors that have your accounts set alerts, or periodic reviews of your credit reports. You can manage those if and when they occur.

      From what you shared, your credit reports are cleared up. Lenders will view you favorably… so to speak. It sounds like you have no recent credit history at all, so you need to build that up.

  128. Hi Michael,

    I live in Illinois, and I got carried away with getting credit cards when I was 18. I was paying them off for a while, until I lost my job while in college, and with the course loads getting more intense, getting a job to pay my bills was out of the question. I was very fortunate and didn’t need to take out student loans, so the only debt on my credit score currently are several defaulted credit cards, all of which should be off my credit report by 01/15. My credit score is currently dismal, like under 500, and I wanted to know what should I do to try to fix this mess. I’m moving out of state in a few months for graduate school, and I’d like to get my own apartment and not have to get subleases for the rest of my natural life for something that happened when I was a child. Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      CRV – What state do you live in now, and what state are you moving to?

      Do you have any accounts showing on your credit reports at all, other than the credit cards in collection?

      • I currently live in Illinois, and moving to New York.

        I have one small school debt, under $1000, that should be off by 1/2015. The other debt is credit card debt, and that should also all be off by 1/2015.

        • Michael Bovee says:

          Was the student loan in collections? Part of the issue is there are nearly only collections showing on your credit reports. You need to add positive credit, not just not have the negatives removed. If all you are looking for is getting cleared for an apartment, and no other financial products, no worries. Wait until January (sublease for short term until then if you have to), and those collections dropping from your credit will not hold you back. If you do intend to build credit, you can get started with a secured card, and add additional credit diversity in measured steps.

          I really like the lay out, information, and functionality of the tools available with credit.com. Check that site for action steps, and even find the financial products you have the best shot at getting approved for that will help build your credit from the ground up.

          • Yes, it was in collections, and I’ve nearly finished paying them off.

            As far as the credit cards, the limits were very small, like the highest was $500, but most of my debt is fees. So thanks for letting me know that waiting until January is my best step. And I’ll definitely check out credit.com for more information.

            If I have other questions, I’ll come back in January or sooner.

            Cheers!

  129. Hi Michael,

    Who can I contact locally that can help me with credit issues like you do? I’m not looking for specific names but rather who do I even look for? A lawyer, a Credit Counselor, a banker, a mortgage lender? Who can legitimately help me out with advice such as yours, but who will go over every item on my credit report with me, and help me figure out which items need to be paid and which ones should be disputed or just waited out until they fall off my report?

    Thank you immensely!
    -Molly

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Molly – I do not mean to sound egotistical here, but there are not a lot of me’s. Most people want to be paid, or have a chance at being paid (you are a prospect for say a home loan). And there just are not a lot of folks that understand the minutia of settling combined with near term credit goals, or that are not somehow regulated to a point of not being able to charge you for the type of help you appear to be asking for. Some options:

      What city do you live in? I may be able to refer you to someone I know, or know of.

      Are you looking to purchase a home, or refinance an existing mortgage? A savvy broker or loan officer (someone with a decade or more experience) who is going to be working on a loan would be a good fit here.

      Are you willing to work with me off line to use your situation as a tutorial publicly on this site (not using your real name and the like of course)? You get me, no fee, and ultimately will be helping other people too (offer not available to anyone but Molly).

      • Hi Michael. Sorry for the late response; I somehow missed your reply and only saw it now as I read through your posts again. In response to your questions, I live in Vancouver, Washington. I am not trying to purchase a home anytime soon but would like my credit cleaned up for a future home purchase. And yes, I would be very willing to work with you off-line if you would be willing to do that. Thank you so much for your offer to help! :))

        • Michael Bovee says:

          If you check the box to subscribe to comments before you submit one of your own to this site, an email will be sent to you every time someone comments on a page you comment to.

          In between your first comment and today, I learned that MMI (largest nonprofit credit counseling agency) has a program available where you can talk with a counselor about every aspect of your credit reports, how to understand them, and how you can make improvements, free. The call will not cost you anything. Call Money Management International at 877-721-9723 and ask to speak with one of their counselors about their credit report education.

          • Thank you for the info! If you think MMI is a reputable company, I will definitely give it a shot! I will let you know how it turns out. Thanks again, Michael.

  130. I have a $5000 and a $1000 medical collection from a hospital and ER services. I had medical insurance at the time. I thought all along they were sending claims to the new Insurance company but they never went back to review my new information from medical records. It shows that they have it, they processed the claim, but because of untimely filing the insurance company didn’t want to pay for it. I remember giving them my insurance card for the third time while in labor pain. 2 months after having my son I moved to a different apartment and the new mail was lost and we didn’t receive some of the mail that had the old address for a while so I missed on some statements/medical bills. 4 months after my son they sent it to collections, I called them we spoke and they said they would send again to my insurance company but they were sending it to my old insurance. I called back again hoping that it was taken care of, I’ve spend much every year speaking to them about them same thing over and over again talking to different people. I found out in 2012 and the insurance company denied bc of untimely filing. So again ,they never called to let me know that. SO this time around they tell me that bc they sent 3 statements that it is my responsibility now and I have to pay for it. I told them I would not because it was their negligence due to them not seeking my correct info from the hospitals facesheet. spoke to one of their members once and they mentioned they would tell their manager to review that this is a negligence from their part bc of the facesheet and that should’ve been taken care of. He even asked me to contact medical records and confirm I have the right ins. info. Even medical records said the same thing. I called the credit bureaus and they said to get a letter of proof that I gave them my ins information regardless of the year 2012. The bills are from Feb 2010. And they said they could remove them from my credit report. The medical company refuses to give me that information because they say they just dont do that. the credit bureau told me that they have to bc Its my account my information that it is illegal to keep it from me. I called the collections agency and they said they don’t have that information and they cannot provide it either. What other step would you recommend in order to get that information of proof that I gave them my insurance card.

  131. Can you please tell me what the SOL on credit card debt is in Nevada? I have heard both 4 and 6 years. I have a number of defaulted credit card accounts that I last paid on in early to mid 2009. Only one of the many has sued me and obtained a judgment. I would like to start working on cleaning up my credit, but I don’t want to wake any of these creditors up since they don’t really bother me by phone or mail at all. If the SOL is 4 years then I am ok, but if it’s 6 and I start disputing things more of them could potentially sue me. What is the final word on the SOL? I suppose I could just be patient and let them all age off in another couple of years, but I would really like to try to buy a car and retire my old rattletrap. Thanks for any input you can give me.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      What I looked up shows SOL of 4 years for credit cards, and 6 years for loans tied to written agreements. When there is confusion on an issue like this, it is sometimes related to how the SOL has been argued in your state courts. Your best resource would be to talk to an experienced debt collection defense attorney in Nevada. I can email you contact info to some if you like?

      How many collection accounts do you have?

  132. I have a repossession on my credit that’s through the finance company I had the loan through I’m trying to figure out when will it drop. The account was opened for the loan in 7/08 the car was repossessed in 12/09 because I didn’t have full coverage on the car and got into an accident so I gave up the car I think in 2/10 it was charged off but when you look at the account on my credit report it does say repo but it still gives the date it was originally opened which was 7/08 so my question is when will it drop.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      In general it is 7.5 years from the date you first missed a payment, so after you bought it, but before they repossessed the car and auctioned it off.

  133. Okay so 2009 is when I got into that accident and in November is when I didn’t make a payment at all because I couldn’t drive the car so it started around December. I’m trying to rebuild my credit now I figured if I pay off all my credit cards and maybe do a secured loan through my bank and as long as im on time I should be okay.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      What are your credit goals for the next 2 to 3 years?

      • Well right now I’m paying off all my credit cards leaving a 0 balance then I’m going to start paying off the small things that are in collections once I get my EMT job next year I’ll be making more money so then I can really save more, payoff the repo but also put more into my 401k

  134. Hi Michael,

    So here goes. I have 3 debts from the same collections agency LVNV LLC. All from different Original Debtors. All 3 are already pass SOL and even 1 of them has already fallen off the credit reports(not sure when) after 7.5yrs. Currently I am in the process of purchasing a new home and the with the current credit report only 2 remains from LVNV LLC. So I opted to pay them off per request and condition of the loan. I managed to settled both accounts that was on the credit report and paid them off.

    Question now is I wasn’t even aware of the 3rd one until I had called to LVNV LLC to arrange settlements for the other 2. They mentioned it on the phone to me as I was making arrangements for the other 2. But I told them I am not even sure if the 3rd was legit or even remember which the Original Debtor is. And Honestly I don’t. So I told them to handle the 2 for now and I’ll deal with the 3rd later when I get more information. Just today I received a letter from them stating I have 30 days to dispute the validity of this debt or the will ASSUME this debt is valid. Can they do that, Assume it’s a valid Debt? I want to dispute it, but how will that impact my credit, will it start the SOL all over? I will be typing up a dispute letter for the validity of the debt. What should I include in the letter. should i just say I am not responsible for the debt and what information should i request from them? And when they send back information about the Debt how should I handle the information Provided.

    Much Appreciated
    David

    • Michael Bovee says:

      LVNV cannot put the account back on your credit report if the time for them to legitimately report has passed, and it sounds like it has. Your sending them a dispute letter, or even a cease communication letter (which I might do if it were me, but I do not know enough about your situation, and would wait to close on any loan just in case), whould not result in any additional credit reporting on the debt collectors part.

      The 2 accounts that LVNV showed up for on your credit reports do not get to stay on longer now that they are settled/paid.

      If you are serious about asking them for more details about the debt, you can send a simple validation request asking for who the original creditor was, how much is owed, etc. Send any letter certified mail return receipt requested. And keep a copy of all communications organized and in a file. You may need to refer back to details later on if mistakes in reporting do occur, or the debt gets passed along to other collectors.

      • After some research on the debt. The 3rd account was a charged off visa card from a failed business I had to close in 2007.

        Since it has already fallen off my credit report and past the SOL. Would it just be better to send a cease of communications letter to the collector? Since currently I am in process of purchasing a new home. I would not want it to impact my borrowing ability at this time. And will this restart the SOL over, if I decide to ignore the letter? And if they decide to file a judgement, will that impact or go after the house I am purchasing?

        • Michael Bovee says:

          Generally speaking, because the account is no longer showing on your credit, and the SOL to legitimately sue you to collect has passed, sending a cease communication letter would not impact you in any way, other than to stop the calls and collection notices from this collector. But you should talk with an attorney in your state that is familiar with debt collection and credit reporting from the consumer perspective. There are not many consumer law attorneys out there, so if you would like a referral, post the name of a nearby larger city and I will email contact details I find.

          They cannot file a judgment with out suing you first, and if the SOL to do that has passed, you should not have to worry about this. If something did occur, it would be simple to resolve.

          If I were you, and based on the details I have to go on, unless I wanted to pay or settle this debt for purely personal reasons, I would send a cease communication letter.

  135. There are a number of items (10 total) that are scheduled to be removed from my credit report over the next couple months what can I do if they are not removed what is my recourse?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Have you calculated the removal dates yourself, or are you relying on dates the credit reports are stating that each item is set to be removed?

      In general, when an item is too old to stay on your reports, but is still there, you send a written dispute. You can use online portals offered by each agency, but if they fail to do the right thing, and they do sometimes, you will want a paper trial. Which is another reason you use certified mail return receipt requested when writing to the credit bureaus.

      Your dispute is simple enough; the item is too old to remain on your credit report. Be sure to include all of your info so that you can be identified clearly. It is best to include a copy of the agency credit report that you are disputing, with a highlighter pen covering the entry at issue.

      Give the agency 30 days to respond to your dispute. If something that should be taken off your reports does not get removed, post an update and lets go from there.

  136. Jonarhan says:

    I’m having an issue getting two repossessions removed from my credit bureau specifically Experian. Trans Union and Equifax have both dropped off at the 7ish year mark, but Experian still show up and the reason it does is because the bank reported it being charged off on November 2012. I have documentation from the bank showing that they charged one off in May and the other June of 2006. I have sent this to Experian and they are telling me that the information is correct. What else can I do? Thank you in advance.

    • Jonathan says:

      Also I have contacted CFPB but that got me no where it just shows the investigation is complete.

      • Michael Bovee says:

        What is the name of a nearby larger city? I will send you contact info to any experienced fair credit reporting attorneys I can find. You should consult with one. Most will offer a no cost initial consult to review your situation and learn if their is anything actionable to pursue.

        Who is the creditor or debt collector?

        • Jonathan says:

          Springfield, MO is the closest big town to me.
          The creditor is Community Wide Financial Credit Union in South Bend, IN

          • Michael Bovee says:

            The closest with experience I found were in Kansas City and Columbia. Distance does not have to be an issue with situations like this, and the experience is what you need. If distance is an issue for some reason, ask for a referral to someone nearer you.

  137. Hello,

    I have a few questions pertaining to my credit report (Ive made a few stupid decisions when I was 18 :| )

    1) I have a public record from when I signed an apartment from dec.2008. Ive never paid it and it just says “Disposition unknown” in the comments. Does that mean that at the end of the year, it will be purged from my bureau?

    2)Theres also 1 collections item that has 3 dates:
    Date Assigned: 2011-03
    Date of Last Payment: 2008-08
    Date Paid: 2011-10
    I know it takes 6 yrs to be purged, but from which date? The date I paid the collection, the date the collection agency received it OR the date the account in question was last paid?

    Lastly ( dont judge me!), I have 2 items on my tradeline that were past due for 180+ days but never went to collections. I paid them both off in 2011. They look like this on my CB:
    Date Opened: 2008-04
    Date of Last Activity: 2008-09
    Status: Bad debt, collection account or unable to locate
    Date Reported: 2011-10
    Comments: Account Closed,Account paid

    Again, which date will they be purged from my Credit Report? Any guidance would be much appreciate.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      1. It likely means it is not known whether the judgment has been paid, settled, etc. You can find out what the record shows for yourself through the court.

      2. What state do you live in? When did you pay the collection account, was it Nov of 2011?

      Negative trade line reporting that you are referring to can stay on for 7 to 7.5 years. There are some exceptions, like in New York, where paid collections stay on for less time, but unpaid debts go the 7ish year distance.

      • Thanks for your prompt reply!

        I paid the collections item off in Oct of 2011….

        Are public records also removed after the 7yr mark?

        • Michael Bovee says:

          Not all public records are, but judgments for unsecured debts like credit cards will typically fall off your credit report after 7 years.

  138. Stephanie says:

    My husband was pre-appoved for a mortgage back in Arpil of 2014 and since then we have been look for a home. Well long story short we found a home that we loved and sent all the info to the lender before we asked to view it. Our lender told us that everything looks good and if we like it then we should put an offer on it, so we did. We put any offer on it May 26, 2014 and our realitor gave us a closing date of June 30th. Well all we’ve been hearing from the lender is everything looks good that’s all everybody envolved has been hearing. We are days from closing and after not talking to our lender for 2 weeks he calls and tell my husband that his credit score dropped. About 3 weeks pryor he calls my husband on the phone tells him that there are some things that he would like him to pay off on his credit. My husband paid them immediately and tried to get letters stating that they have been paid. Now the same things that were on his report when he was pre approved and when everything was great are still there except for the 4 things that he was asked to pay off. How did his credit score drop if nothing was added to it but things were paid off of it?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Old negative items, like accounts sent to collections, get stale after a year and two. There is a certain amount of freshness that can get calculated into some credit scoring models when these collection accounts get updated as paid, or settled recently.

      Not all scoring models will do this. One of the newer Vantage credit c=scoring models gives no weight to paid collections, and there is a FICO scoring model that does not factor paid collections on really small balances.

      Did the lender tell you the loan cannot go through now, or that your interest rate has changed?

  139. Hi I have a question in regards to a private student loan from University of Phoenix in the amount of $4800 which have been charged off and transferred to CA by the name of optio solutions. I have not received any notice for collection. This happened in 2007 and was never paid on from that point according to my CR it says its scheduled to fall off Sept 2014 so my question is am I still within the SOL to be sued? Secondly if applying for a mortgage loan after the date for the collection to fall off will they still see it as a collection? Should I contact them to make arrangements before Sept.?

  140. Hi, I had a medical collection from sometime in 2008 in California, that was “purchased” by a law office ( in California) and now the last reported date is October of 2013. I have lived in Oregon since 2009 and was never sent any type of notice or bill until recently. My questions are could I have been sued without knowing, being out of state, and is the new date of reporting legitimate?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      I want to be sure I am understanding your comment correctly… you had a medical collections show on your credit report, and later, that same account is appearing from a different debt collector. Does the original collection entry show a zero balance owed, or are there two collections showing for the same account, and both say you owe their respective companies? Is there a judgment showing in the public records section of your credit reports, or are we discussing general collection accounts appearing? What is the name of the debt collector last reporting in 2013? Is that the only collector ever reporting for this account?

  141. Chris Boyd says:

    I understand that items can be taken off the credit report after 7 years. I have a credit card ( opened as college student ) that is 8 years old from first delinquency and sold to a collection agency and was never paid off. Do items still come off after 7 years, even if there is money still owed to the agency?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Yes, in general collection accounts should still come off after the legal limit to report on your credit has passed, and even though there is still money legitimately owed on the debt.

      You can dispute old debts, that are not taken off of your credit when they should be, with the credit bureaus themselves, and the creditors and debt collectors that are furnishing bad information to the reporting agencies.

  142. I have a credit card debt from Bank of America for $700. California SOL is past. Now I am receiving a collection letter (Cavalry Portfolio Services) that also shows up on my credit report. Their letter states they will not sue me because of the age of the debt but they will continue to report to credit bureaus. They are offering $491 to settle. Should I take their offer?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      As long as bank of America is showing a zero balance owed, while Cavalry shows the balance owed to them, that is normal. If they are both showing a balance owed to them on your credit reports, that is a problem.

      Cavalry Portfolio blinked first with the offer to settle for less they mailed you. You could call and offer a lower amount, say 1 to 2 hundred less, and see if they bite. If they cannot sue you to collect, than the leverage they are left with is the fact that they can continue to show as an unpaid collection on your credit reports.

      If you have financing and credit goals that would mean getting this balance to show resolved and zero owed, try to get this settled, even taking them up on the unsolicited offer. But don’t expect Cavalry to delete what they are reporting. You should expect them to report accurately about there no longer being a balance owed.

  143. I am in the process of cleaning up my credit to purchase a home. On my credit report it says “Item to be removed July 2014″ does that mean July 1st or end of July?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Safest to assume by end of month.

      • Should I not call the credit bureau? The lender is running my credit next week but I wanted to be sure that it would be off before they ran it.

        • Michael Bovee says:

          If I had the lead time of a few days like you do, and I were concerned about the day of removal, I would pull the reports myself and verify removal of the negative item. I would probably pay for the credit reports rather than using a free service. But if you have not used your 1 per 12 month period free reports federal law requires the large credit bureaus provide, you can pull those at http://www.annualcreditreport.com

  144. QUESTION…. I have THREE credit cards that I let go delinquent just about 7 years ago. I understand I should add about 180 days (6 months) to that for the “TIME CLOCK” for when they should drop of my CREDIT REPORT. I have done NOTHING and contacted NO ONE (Collection agencies or CREDIT REPORTING AGENCIES ) in that time. (Naturally the debts have been bought & sold through a number of collectors, but NONE have successfully GUILT ED me into attempting to make a “payment schedule” .Neither has any of them successfully served me to bring the matter before a Court to get a JUDGEMENT. (The individual amounts probably just are not worth the expense it would cost them to do so). MY QUESTION IS….
    When these “Bad Debts” drop off from my Credit Reports as REQUIRED by FEDERAL LAW, If all the other items on my report are “IN GOOD STANDING”, Should there not be an immediate substantial upwards jump in my CREDIT SCORE when I finally call in and order my reports from the three big agency’s ? (Assuming I do not have errors that need to be disputed such as the possibility that some collector (vulture) has tried to report a later date for the item or it’s being reported as a second separate item with a later 7.5 year start date). I am well aware of the 50 states SOL for collections and the fact that there is STILL controversy in some states about what the time limit should be or what state should be considered as the “home” state for the time rules on TIME LIMITS for collections. I am more concerned with rebuilding OR knowing if my SCORE numbers will significantly increase the MOMENT the bad debts drop off from reporting. Maybe some insight into how the “ALGORITHMS” that are apparently kept as a big secret from the consumers would help people understand how to work on their credit problems, Instead of the type of answers the people that CLAIM to be trying to help you at these so called CREDIT HELP SERVICES give like….. “If you give us all your information we can work out a lower % rate with the collectors and save you money”. Why don’t they just tell them that by contacting them and then the collectors through them they have just RESTARTED the time clock for the 7.5 years and now the collector knows EXACTLY every detail about how to SERVE you to get you into COURT and get a judgement against you! I think anyone that has read a little bit on line knows most of this but the question stands about how the DROP OFF from the BIG THREE will effect my SCORE NUMBER and Will it be IMMEDIATE if all else on my report seems to be of good standing????? Thank You

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Everyone’s credit rating, and contents on their reports are different, so it is hard to say. I can tell you that my experiences are that folks who have on time mortgage, student loan, and car payments kept up all the while negative collection account(s) appeared, until they aged off, fair better credit scoring wise, than those whose credit reports are dominated by accounts that went into collection. Someone who was able to keep other unsecured accounts positive and still open will often do better when other credit card collections fall off.

      Finding out for certain the SOL to sue in order to collect from you has expired should not be difficult.

  145. I’m sorry, Is that really the answer to the SPECIFIC QUESTION I asked? I don’t mean to be rude here but I am not some RUBE that just fell off the Bad Credit Bus. I know EXACTLY how to look up the SOL for collections in ALL 50 states & have done so. I also have read some conflicting court case’s where some DUMB ASS JUDGE didn’t rule as he should have in a particular state. But how can you fight STUPID. MY question is/was “Shouldn’t I (or should I say “SHOULD I”) expect my CREDIT SCORE number to jump UP (IMMEDIATELY) as of the date ALL THREE of the BAD REPORTING S DROP OFF??????????????????????? DO the ALGORITHMS used by the Credit Agency’s when you call in for a CURRENT CREDIT REPORT use the CURRENT EXISTING DATA that is in your REPORT, OR do they keep some kind of SECRET backlog file of the fact that you just recently had THREE BAD DEBTS fall off and use that information to keep your SCORE NUMBER from being as high as it should with what should look to the computer like a person with GREAT CREDIT HISTORY since all those BAD things are NO LONGER SHOWING UP ??????? I think I am asking a very Perice, clear and detailed question here. I think I got a “boiler plate” answer that missed the whole point. Do you care to try again to address my specific question? If you don’t know the answer , JUST SAY SO! There’s no shame in admitting that the Credit Reporting agency’s are keeping all this information a big secret. It might be criminal of them that they do this considering how important it is for people to repair or maintain their rating numbers. But that’s a whole other story!

    • Michael Bovee says:

      No, I would not care to take another swing at the answer. It is what it is. You don’t like the answer, I get it. I cannot offer a precise one. In all your reading of all 50 states this and that, and perhaps all of the folks you have asked your question to, you have not gotten a definitive answer because… it depends, like I said prior.

      No I cannot answer your specific credit algo questions, and the folks that can are not going to.

      Dusty – If you want to rail against the credit reporting system, do it on another site, or start your own.

  146. When reviewing our credit report, we noticed a new collection activity. There were 3 collection accounts from the same collection agency all listing the same original creditor. The credit report list 3 different “Date opened” dates and 3 different “Current balances’. We contacted the original creditor since we had never had service with the listed original creditor. Turns out the Century Link bought Qwest and they claim that our debt is from Qwest. Century Link sold the debt to Credit Management Company. Century Link claims that the debt was all from one address (we lived in this house for 10 months) and that there were actually 4 accounts in our name linked to this address, but only 3 had been sold to the collection agency. We lived in this home from August 2007 – June 2008. The collection agency have “Dates opened” as 9/24/2013, 10/03/2013 and 3/10/2014. Those dates obviously have nothing to do with the last payment on the accounts or when the accounts became delinquent. My fear is that since the credit report does not accurately show delinquency, that the 7 to 7.5 year will be based on the listed “Date opened” date. We live in AZ and the SOL is 6 years, I believe. Can the collection agency legally be reporting this as new? I apologize for the multiple issues in this one question, but would appreciate any answers and advice. Thank you!

    • Michael Bovee says:

      How the items appear on the credit report – as if they are newer – may not be the dates set to age off of your credit reports. But before hitting that, do you agree that the multiple accounts are yours, or did you just have the one account?

  147. Kimberly says:

    I paid for an Experian membership for credit monitoring and found 2 collection accounts on my report. I was not aware that I owed medical bills because at the time I was eligible for free care and I moved and changed my address after the appointments. Still seeing the accounts, I called to pay them in full because I didn’t like that I had debt. Upon calling the worker named an additional bill for $200 more ( a bill that wasn’t on ANY of my 3 reports!) .. I paid all three (debts) in full but now I’m wondering if that was a mistake. This other 200 some odd debt supposedly happened in 2008. Now I’m wondering if I made a mistake paying for that. Can a debt collection agency scam you? Is it possible or should I just be thanking my lucky stars that that debt wasn’t on my reports?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Debt collection companies can be scams, but the information you shared does not lead me to think you were scammed by one. They brought up a bill in their system, but you do not recognize it. You could have paid the other two and asked for additional details about the third and taken care of researching the legitimacy of it on your own time, since it was not appearing on your credit reports, or actively being collected on.

      You still could look into the matter.

  148. Melissa says:

    Hi,
    I would like to know if is it true that many or all credit card for stores have some kind of insurance that cover up them when someone no pay and they put your account on delinquency. That insurance cover an amount of the debt and the other part they recover it for selling your account to a collection agency. That’s why the lawyers that works recovering your credit recommend not pay the amount the collection agency is trying to get from you and they resolve the problem sending some kind of letter that the collector never answer and by law that’s make that your credit reports change.
    Is that true?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Sounds pretty hokey to me Melissa. If you cannot pay your debts, and are not optimistic of any plan that can help you clear unpaid bills in the span of about 36 months (though sometimes shorter or longer), than chapter 7 bankruptcy can be a better option than doing nothing, or opting for some administrative process that hits on banks cant loan money, creditors have no losses when you do not pay, and other alternative debt relief theories, like their insurance makes them whole.

      What is it you have going on that makes it difficult to pay your bills?

  149. I have a 12 yr. old charge-off account that is showing on my credit report from the original account, and then was sold and resold 2 more times to collection agencies. All four appear on my credit report, and each time the debt balance goes way up from $212 original charge-off to over $2900 now. The last collection agency refused to settle anywhere near the original debt. I checked and the last 3 agencies are actually under the same corporate umbrella, and the agent told me as long as they keep selling the debt in house they can keep the account / reporting going. Is this true?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      No. Not true at all. Who was the original creditor,and who are the other collection companies appearing on your credit reports. What state are you in?

      Post your answers, as it will affect the feedback I have to offer, and lets go from there.

  150. P.S. the original account is from a bankruptcy in 2002 that has been removed from my credit report.

  151. I received a letter from Court, “Application for entry of default” from a collection agency Midland Funding LLC, they said a have 10 day to answer or file a responsive pleading with the court of the file application, default will be effective and default judgment will be enter against me.

    What is this? What can I do? I need your advice please, thank you.

    I live in Arizona.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Laura – Did you know you were being sued before receiving this? Can you offer a bit more back story?

      Because you are being sued, you really should be speaking with an attorney of your own, and one with debt collection defense experience in Arizona.

  152. Michael Thank you for your advice, but what about if I don’t have money to hire a lawyer?

    I remember I received a court papers but I take them to a person who is responsible for reviewing the credit, I received the papers on friday. I brought it to her on tuesday she said the time already pass, they give me the paper two weeks after the day I can answer.

    Now I have 10 day to respond this one, What should I do?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Local legal aid offices will often help with debt collection issues if you qualify for help.

      I am not sure who you are dealing with that is responsible for reviewing your credit. But it sounds like they told you it was to late to respond to the original notice of the lawsuit because you ran out of time, and that may not have been the case. The time you have to initially respond to a lawsuit typically begins the day you are served, not the day the lawsuit got filed in the court. Otherwise process servers working for debt collection attorneys would just wait until the day before the response deadline to serve everyone.

      I think you should at least talk to an experienced debt collection defense attorney about your options. Most offer an initial consult at no cost. This way you can assess what you can/cannot afford, and get some basic questions answered.

      Do you recognize the debt they are collecting on?

  153. Hi, I just received an out of the blue bill from Convergent saying I owed a past due amount to Verizon, offering a payoff of 50% if paid within a certain time frame. I am clueless about this, where did these people come from? This does not show on my credit report, I had no idea I owed anyone any money or I would have taken care of it. First question, should I contact Verizion or should I contact this Convergent company and pay this? Second question is IF I do pay this bill will they report it to credit companies? Like I said, nothing regarding this shows on my credit report now and the last thing I want is for them to report it after I pay and tarnish my credit! I am baffled here. Please help. I want to pay if I owe this, however do not want to blacken my credit at the same time and am not familiar with the policies. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks so much.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      How long ago did you have your Verizon account? When did you last make a payment on it?

      It would help to know the answers to those questions in order to offer feedback about any Convergent credit reporting.

  154. My boyfriends Mom opened 2 bills in his name (a phone bill and a cable bill) back in like 2009 without his knowledge. We just ran his credit and found those on there because we are looking to get a house. His mom admitted to it, but is not going to pay them off. We want to rid his credit of these collection charges so he will get approved, but the 7 years is not for another 2. He called the companies that the bills originated from and they said he needs to file a police report. He doesn’t want his mom to get in trouble/arrested, but why should his credit be damaged because of her. What ways can this be fixed? Could he be denied because of these collection charges?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Yes, he could be denied a home loan as a result of the unpaid collection accounts showing on his credit reports.

      They want the police report because that is their policy for responding to identity theft claims that result in collections and other negative stuff showing on credit reports.

      How much is owed on the collection debts according to his credit reports? If he does not want to rock the boat with mom, he may have to settle these debts (pay less than what is owed), to increase the ability to get a mortgage loan approved. Here is more info about settling with debt collectors: http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/question/settling-charged-off-credit-card-debts-with-collection-company/

      Are there debt collectors showing on the credit reports, as well as the original service providers, and if so, who?

  155. I have been watching my credit score over the last couple of months and saw one collection account that was removed from my report but my credit score went down 30 points. Why didn’t my score go up?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      There are a host of factors that figure into your credit score. One or more things triggered the drop to your credit score. The collection account dropping off may have had nothing to do with it.

      If you want to get live feedback that will help you understand your credit report and score better, talk to a a counselor at MMI. They have a credit report consumer education initiative going right now where you can call and spend some dedicated one on one time looking over your credit report, and at no cost. Call 877-721-9723 and let them know you are calling to discuss your credit reports as part of that program.

  156. Hi again and thanks for responding! As far as my Verizon account and how long ago… gosh, I am not sure, I am thinking at least 7 or 8 years ago and I have not made any payments since then, I had no idea I even had a balance with Verizon or this Convergent company. My credit is in the high 6′s and I am planning on buying a house someday. I was advised to get a credit card through my Credit Union and of course pay it off monthly, but now this little thing showed up & I have now idea what to do!

  157. Hi Michael, I have a couple questions for you. My fiance had a vehicle go back to the bank in 2007, we live in Michigan, is 7 years how long it takes to drop off your credit? Its been 7 years and I had no idea about things dropping off your credit after 7 years , last year we tried getting pre approved for a house and he couldn’t because of that… if that drops off could we be approved now?

    My next question, I have zero credit and I’m trying to build is so maybe then I can get approved for a house, what is the fastest and safest way to build your credit!?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      It can take as long as 7.5 years for collections to drop off your credit. Do you know the exact month the car was repossessed? When is the most recent credit report of his you looked at?

      When it comes to building credit from scratch, I would start with one or two credit cards, use them sparingly, paying them off or on time every month, and for 6 months to a year, then look to establish an fixed/non revolving loan.

      Are you working full time? Do you have some savings? Have dependable transportation?

  158. Hello,
    Thanks in advance for your time and feedback on this. I reside in California, I was able to save certain amount of money recently and I’m looking to settle old credit card debt from late 2008. I have my credit report from the 3 different agencies, one particular account shows, the original account was reported 6/2010 charge off /sold (last payment 9/2008, major delinquency 4/2009) Estimated to be removed 9/2015. The collection agency shows opended 6/2010 (have never talked to them) and has been reporting ever since, I recently received a settlement offer (85% off!?) $1700.08 if paid by 7/30/14, I don’t know where to go from here, please advise. I was planning to call or write them a letter and hoping they take, $1000.00 as full payment, can this be done?? will this restart SOL.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Who is the collection agency?

      • Assett Acceptance, LLC

        • Michael Bovee says:

          You would not restart the SOL if you took advantage of a single payment settlement with Asset Acceptance. Calling to shave a bit more off the settlement on a deal that is already 15% of the balance is possible. The reason they are offering something this low is likely because you are passed the 4 year SOL in California to sue. But you are within the 7 years SOL for Asset Acceptance to still show on your credit report.

          What are some of the other collections on your credit reports besides this one? Are any newer than the one with Asset? If so, when were the payments on those missed, and what are the balances owed? With this information, you can prioritize the money you have to settle accounts and get the newest collections updates to show paid/settled, and zero balance owed on the credit reports.

          • Thanks so much for your reply. Other 3 accounts are also from late 2008, last payment 11/2008. These all sold to Midland Credit Mgmt and when I add up the balance on these, they show $6,900 total (original debt was approx $2,000). I have not received any settlement offers from Midland recently. Am I better off trying to settle this debt? calling them and offering the $1,000 for all 3 accounts?

            • Michael Bovee says:

              It depends… if you want to settle all of them than you should try to get as a good a deal as possible. But 15% and lower on all accounts could be stretching what is realistic.

              Midland Funding bought Asset Acceptance last year, so you are essentially dealing with the same company on all of these.

              If you cannot get the deals done for an amount you can afford, or can live with, and are not pressed for time, you can call the next month and see if they are willing to loosen up a bit.

              • Thanks for the info.
                I will call them. I do want to settle all 4 accounts. Now, can I deal with just Midland or Assett on all 4 accounts (since they are the same)… or deal separately with the two? sorry.

                • Michael Bovee says:

                  Call and ask what is possible. Even if you cannot actually get your 3 Midland Credit accounts managed through Asset Acceptance, or the one with them through Midland, do the math and negotiate openly with each company so that they know you only have so much money, and it has to knock down all accounts.

                  • Hello again,
                    Thanks again for your feedback on this. I really appreciate it.
                    A follow up to the tread above, I finally contacted Asset to try to settle the one account, I offered $1200.00, at first the account manager that took my call was courteous, telling me it might not be possible and that he would see what he could do. But, when I mentioned I had the amount in CASH and that if we settled I would have to mail them a cashiers check (I read this is what I should do and also ask that they follow up in writing first), he started raising his voice and was just plain rude. I was really upset and just ended the call. Now, I will contact them again (hopefully a different rep), question, is it OK to settle just over the phone and pay say with my checking card? or direct deposit? or should they agree to mail me something in writing and me mailing a cashiers check?

  159. I have credit card opened in 12/06 and closed due to non-payment in 06/09 by BOA. Although is was closed I was enticed by their rep to pay montlhy as they claimed it will help my credit. I guess I should have left it alone as older credit has less affect on the score.

    My question is when is the 7 year mark for me. I was told that it is 7 years from the date is was first reported as delinquent but I don’t see that date of first delinquencies that led to the closure of the account.

    {edit – link removed}

    Please advise!

    *account # blacked out for security reasons

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Jay – How many months of payments did you miss to BofA before agreeing to the repayment plan? Is it full paid off now?

      • Good question but I am not sure how many months of payments were missed before agreeing to make repayments. I wish I had old paperwork to look it up! All I have is this from my report.

        I have not it paid off because I heard it’s best to leave it alone. There is still 1,240 balance on this closed account and it now appears they just sold it to a collection agency but that has not showed up on my credit yet.

        • Michael Bovee says:

          It looks like you were reported 90 days late in March of 2014. It that is correct, your account could have charged off last month. You are looking at 7 years for that charge off to roll off of your credit report.

          If the balance is still showing up on your credit reports as owed to BofA, they likely did not sell the account. And the debt collector they assign the account to may never appear on your credit.

          Are you able to come up with roughly 40% to settle this (give or take)? How long will it take to pull together that amount of money? Have you heard from the debt collector for BofA?

          • Yikes! 7 years from March 2014. I was hoping it was charged off when they closed the account due to non payment in 2009.

            I have received letters from an collection agency called Northstar Location Services saying they are representatives for FIA Card Services.

            Yes! I am able to pay 40% or even the FULL balance of 1,240 if needed to remove from my credit! This ding is really hurting my credit so I’m willing to do what ever it takes.

            • Michael Bovee says:

              I want to be sure I understand your comments correctly, my impression of things:

              You could not make payments years back, so stopped briefly. Your account was set up on an internal repayment plan direct with BofA within a couple months of your missing payments, and you paid those on time every month for years. Your credit report showed that Bank of America closed the account at consumers request back then, but did not show that they charged off the account. Now, after having missed payments again, you are looking to settle or pay the debt, and want the credit reporting removed in return for the payment. Northstar Location Services is collecting for FIA card services, but not showing on your credit reports.

              Please correct anything I have wrong, and then I can respond more fully.
              Also, what month/year was it that you stopped making those monthly payments you agreed to?

  160. Good morning Michael

    I’ve read a lot of these post here and here’s my situation in Florida.

    I applied for credit and was denied due a judgment that was filed against me back in 2009. The problem with these judgment is that I wasn’t served and apparently and off duty sheriff served the summon at a old residency. I went town clerk to get copies of the filed judgement and all she gave me was the judgement document?? Should there be some type of backup proof? Also, I walked over to the sheiff department to get a copy of signed service and the sheriff ask me why I waited to long to follow up on this judgment?? I didn’t get anything with a signed signature. Now, my question, Can this judgement be vacate? Sewer Service? Look forward to your reply? Also, this judgement CaptialOne.

    Thank you

    • Michael Bovee says:

      It is possible to vacate the judgment, but it is a nuanced process. You should connect with an experienced debt defense attorney in your state about getting help with this, or even to learn how much of a possibility this will be, given any established state court case law.

      Post the name of a nearby larger city and I will get some contact info to you for attorneys who have the experience you need. You can usually consult initially at no cost, so worth the effort.

      • Hi Michael

        I apologize in not mentioning the City. Port Saint Lucie, Florida

        Thank you for your time

        • Michael Bovee says:

          Thanks Eve. I sent you an email with a couple of attorneys you can speak with in Ft Lauderdale (closest I could find with debt defense experience.

  161. Hi Michael,
    I received a call from a debt collector at work telling today me I need to pay something back that is old. This is not on my credit report anymore do I have to pay this back this back should I be worried and can they sue me?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Mari – If the debt is too old to be on your credit report, it is in all likelihood too old to sue you for collection on that same debt. But to be sure, what state are you in, and when was that last time you paid anything on this account (to anyone)?

      • I live in the state of California it has been since 2006

        • Michael Bovee says:

          You are in the clear based on what you shared Mari. If something does pop up on your credit, or a debt collector suggest they will sue you (when they cannot), or otherwise threatens to do much of anything, post an update and lets go from there.

          Did you get the name of the collection agency?

  162. Hi,

    I have been working on cleaning up my credit report for the last several months. There is a collection on my account that I’m trying to clear up. However, I was hoping you could help clarify some things for me as I kept getting confused reading your article and some of the other questions. The debt came about in 2008. But my report said it was opened in 1/5/11 then has a report date of 10/22/12. First off, is it right there are 2 dates on the report? Secondly, does the 7.5 years start at the most recent date, the open date, or the date the debt accrued?

    Also, if I agree to settle the debt, and get them to agree to drop it from my report, will that help boost my credit; or will it still show as a former collection until the 7.5 years?

    Is that MMI number still good to contact for free?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Mandy – The 7.5 year credit reporting clock starts ticking from when you first missed your payments.And even though you will see different dates on that same trade line – date last paid, date last updated, date opened… it is that first 30 day late that is going to dictate when this falls off your credit.

      It is not common to pay a collection account and have it deleted from your credit reports. And each individuals credit scores changing, when you settle a debt, will vary from person to person, and even from one scoring model to another.

      The MMI number for a free one on one review of how to read and understand your credit report is still good. Cal 877-721-9723 and let them know that is why you are calling.

  163. I have a few things I havent paid since 2007, visa card, cable bill and cell phone and they are still calling and wanting their money I was so young at the time and messed up, I dont even have the money to pay them what should I do? I dont want to go to jail or court as I am still struggling to get my life together. I dont have any credit cards nor any assets. please someone help me.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      brits – Were you ever sued on any of those old debts?

      You cannot go to jail for unpaid debts in the way you are thinking. But if you were sued, and ignored a judges order to show up in court for an asset hearing, or something along those lines, you should get a handle on that situation quickly.

      What state are you in?
      When was the last time you paid money on these accounts to anyone?

  164. I have have been looking at my credit report from transunion. I had a credit card with
    First Equity. They closed and sold it to SST/SYNOVUS It was reported on my credit report 07/11 and in collection o7/08 . Was then sold to sst/cigpf1c and reported 04/14 and in collection 10/10 which was the dated reported as last activity on sst/synovus account. My question is it going to drop off my report in 7.5 years from the first time it was put in collection
    or will it be the second time? I have not paid on it since it was sold by First equity.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Based on what you shared, the account will fall off of your credit 7.5 years from the date you last paid First Equity.

  165. Hi I have a collection on my credit that origionally dates back to 2006 but the collection agency has it listed as 2010? Can they do this? Does this mean it will be another three years till it’s off my credit? From what I was told by a financial advisor they have to go off of the original date? I am in Texas any help or advise is appreciated :)

    • Michael Bovee says:

      If your first missed payment to the original creditor (that the debt collector is now reporting on) was in 2006, all collections reporting tied to this same account should be gone from your credit reports… unless you were sued and a judgment entered in court.

      Who is the debt collector showing on your credit report for the 2006 account?

      • Trident Asset Management is the collector reporting in 2010 the original was BMG in 2006

        • Michael Bovee says:

          Send a credit reporting dispute letter to Trident and the credit bureaus too. You are disputing that account as being passed the allowed time to report. Send your dispute letters certified mail return receipt. Keep a copy of your dispute letters, and green return receipts. You should hear back from the credit reporting agencies within 30-ish days of their receiving your letter.

          Post an update with what happens and lets go from there.

  166. I have another question. In 2013 the VA sent a survivor benefit check to me for my father
    pension. That was an error on their part because I’m not eligible for any benefits. That was
    in Feburary. They didn’t contact me until January of this year to till me I had to pay it back.
    I made arrangements to pay what I could a month they said it was fine. Three weeks later they
    said no they needed more money. By the last of May they put it in collection. I paid it in full
    the last of June. My question is should I dispute it to see if they will remove it from credit report? I got a letter from the VA saying it was paid in full.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Who was the debt collection company?

    • The Debt collection was Debt Management Center Department of Veterans Affairs.

      • Michael Bovee says:

        It is worth a shot to send a dispute, but if it does not work, and the paid collections stays on your credit report, it may not hurt you much over time.

        If you do not mind my asking, with this collection account, and the First Equity collections showing, what are your credit scores (if you know)? And do you have several other positive items on your credit reports that are paid on time all the time?

      • My credit score is 556 and the fico score is 608. I have 3 positives and the same
        amount of negatives. I was trying to see if there is any way to raise the score but
        two of the negatives have been on for almost 7 years and the other one since may of this
        year.

        • Michael Bovee says:

          The two older collections that are going to fall off soon are probably not causing near the damage combined, as the one from last month. Now that the Veterans Affairs collection shows paid, you need time to improve the scores (if unable to get it removed).

        • Thank you for answering my questions. I have one more that I would like to ask
          you about. Advanta closed my account in 2007. They have been reporting it on
          my CR since then . This month a company by the name of Cardworks started
          reporting it and they say the drop off date is 2017. If they are a collection agency
          that took over shouldn’t that drop off my credit report when Advanta wrote it off
          and closed it in 2007? Thank you in advance for the help.

          • Michael Bovee says:

            Collection companies that later show up on your credit reports should drop at the same time the original creditors charge off is removed. There are very little exceptions to this, such as a court judgment that gets its own fresh set of years to stay on your credit.

            Cardworks on your credit report should be removed at the same time as Advanta. If it does not come off, you can dispute it with card works and the credit reporting agencies. If for some reason that does not work, post an update at that time, and lets go from there.

            Keep a copy of the credit reports you see today in a safe place for later comparison purposes (hopefully you do not need it).

  167. Hi,

    I just received a call from a collection agency regarding an ATT bill from 2009. I just checked my credit score and it is currently at 735. The ATT bill doesn’t show up on my credit report at all. I want to pay the bill because it is the right thing to do (I let a family member open a phone line under my name – BIG MISTAKE and lesson learned!). The collection agency is offering me a deal to settle at 50% of original debt. Would it be better for me to pay the debt in full or to pay the settlement price they are offering? I am in my early 20′s and don’t fully understand all of this. Thank you in advance for your help!

    • Michael Bovee says:

      When it comes to debts that are this old, paying the full amount, or settling for less, accomplishes the same goal. And if this does show up on your credit afterward, either option will show as a paid collection, which is as good as it gets more often than not. Your collection account with ATT is not showing at all, which is great. I just hope it stays that way once paying or settling.

  168. Jennifer says:

    Michael, I have a bunch of collections on my credit report as it seems alot of people do. Anyway, I was laid off work in 2008 and unable to pay my credit card bills or mortgage. I lost my home (forclosure). NOW the problem.

    1) I have no idea what charge off means and can a collection agency collect for it?

    2) I have a credit card with Bank of America, FIA Card that has been closed on my credit report but a collection attorney Daniel Gordon sued and won a judgment/garnisment on my wages. They collected $1358.oo from me and then sent me a check back saying that the account was closed. Ok no problem, my bad, I assumed the account was done and all good. WELL, not so much I guess because now a NEW attorney has sued and won a garnishment on my paycheck for the same debt? same case no. I am not sure what to do at this point I cannot afford to let them take 300 for 3 more paycheck just to send it back and then how many other attorneys will grab the same debt and sue me?

    When the garnishment is up in 60 days should I contact the attorney and ask for a satisfaction of judgment? so that I can be sure that it comes off my credit report as paid?

    3) what is the SOL in washington state? I have 15 collections on me and I have not paid any of them for numerous years.

    I am just trying to get back on my feet and would love at some point to purchase a home again.

    Thank you for the time and hopefully an answer to my problem.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      1. Here is some good details about charge off and collections afterward: http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/my-credit-card-account-just-charged-off-and-a-debt-collector-keeps-calling-me/

      2. I cannot say what happened for the first lawsuit to have been tossed and you refunded. But you have the judgment and garnishment now. If you cannot afford the amount they are garnishing, and can show you meet a the standards for full or partial exemption, you can request a hearing through the court to show that to bethe case. I see many instances where garnishments are stopped completely, or way less is allowed to be taken from your paychecks.

      You can definitely expect that the court would be updated as to the paid status of the judgment. Once the court file is updated, and the data miners that share/sell the court info with the credit bureaus do there thing, your credit report should reflect a paid judgment. But it will not typically “come off” until the 7 years time frame (from the date of judgment entry).

      3. The statue of limitations for credit card debts and the like is 6 years in Washington state. There is some confusion about the SOL in WA being 3 years, but that is not how the courts have ruled.

      If you can clear up your credit reports, and get any unpaid collections resolved and settled (often for much less than the balance owed) you can find yourself in good shape for home loan approval sooner than you may think. If you would like to post the approximate balances owed, and the debt collectors or creditors showing on your credit reports for each of the debts, I can offer you feedback on what to aim for in negotiating with each.

  169. Old Worries Returned-
    I have and old Chase credit card accound in collection since 2011. the account has been been charged off and is closed with chase. I do not see any other lines on my credit report relating to this account.When I called to settle a different account with a collection company I was told that they had the chase account on file as well. I played along like it was not mine and moved on to paying the other account off. I am concerned that I just woke the Beast and that they will begin coming after me for this account that is charged off. Chase shows Charged off Zero balance, but can the collection company come after me almost 3 yrs after chase closed it. I live in Illinois, how long would I have to worry about this.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      You have to worry about the statue of limitations to sue in Illinois being 5 years (from the date you last made a payment).

      It is quite possible that you have created a situation where the Chase account will now see collection activity, including it showing on your credit reports, where it had not been showing by the debt buyer before.

      What is the name of the debt collection company?
      Why settle the one you were talking to them about, but not the other?

  170. Chris R. says:

    Monarch was the collector. I am attempting to raise my Fico to utilize my VA entitlements for a home purchase. The original creditor shows Chase as Zero balance/ Zero Due/charged off- transferred. Is it legal for a collector to pursue for a balance that is different from what the original creditor reports??? That does not seem logical, however I wonder if somehow legal financial book keeping practices allow for this, maybe you can confirm or enlighten me. Oddly enough, as I review the line item for this account it shows no reporting dates for 30/60/90 lates and only shows the High Credit=1,300 Balance=0 and Payment =0 Past due=0. Last reported March 2011. Your thoughts on this??
    I am concerned my rapid rescore may improve now for initial paperwork to start but that closer to close in 30-60 days Monarch might appear and ruin the close. Any advice?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Debt collectors will often be collecting a balance other than what is showing on your credit reports. The difference may be fees and interest, or the charge off balance from the creditor being something other than what was last reported to the credit bureaus, and prior to the sale of your account. It is a huge problem though, and debt collectors have a hard time justifying inflated balances they try to collect, when held to a rigid standard of proof. The problem here is that the rigid standard is often not applied until the debt reaches the court, and most of us want to avoid court collections.

      How much is the balance on the other account? If you get everything cleared with VA underwriting, but this collection account shows up in credit reports to gum things up, are you in a position to raise the money to settle it quickly?

  171. Hello, I have private student loans that are old. I filed for a ch.13 bankruptcy which held them off from collecting from me and now I am finished paying the 5 year bankruptcy. I finished the bankruptcy in 2013 and am now recieving phone calls from collectors for the private loan. I live in California and the Experian report does not show a start date. It’s NCO Financial Services and says its a closed account. Lately I have been getting phone calls from an attorneys office about it. I’m not sure what to do. I don’t know when it started being reported as late but I did start my bankruptcy in 2008. I can’t figure out what date the loans started or any info on them. I’m wondering if they can still sue me for money because it is a large amount. Any information on what I should do or to better understand it would be wonderful. Thanks!

    • Ok…the bankrutpcy would have frozen the clock until the discharge. Was your loan current or in default when you filed? If in default, when is the default date? If you were NOT in default, the bankruptcy would have triggered a default and the clock would have started when the bankrutpy discharged.

      • I think it was in default already because I never made any payments on it. I finished school in 2005 so it should have started sometime after that. I only paid my federal loans as far as I can recall. I believe I deferred the loans as long as I could but I have no idea how to find out this information. Any idea how to figure it out?

        • When you finish school you got ~6 months of deferment….so if you graduated in say june of 2005 that would take you thru the end of the year. Then any deferments…add those on. Then it takes 6+ months to default. So if you filed BK in 2008, it is possible that it had NOT defaulted, or was a new default. 5 year bk freeze….clock starts ticking again in 2013. So it is very possible that you will now be sued, which is standard practice for private loans in default.

  172. In 2002 I purchased a car. In 2007 I was laid off and ran behind on my payments. When I became employed again in 3/2008 I made my final AGREED payment of $800. The balance of $1,200 was supposed to be “forgiven” and I haven’t heard from them since. On 8/1/2014 I received a letter from a collection agency. I called the original debtor. They say I still owe the balance. The car has been “junked” since 2009. I don’t have any paperwork to prove anything. What should I do?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      What is the name of the debt collector? What state do you live in? Is the debt showing on your credit reports?

      • I am in Wisconsin. The car was purchased in Wisconsin. The Collection agency is in Minnesota. It is NOT on my credit report.

        —Also, The agency called me yesterday and now claim I owe on a “Bonneville”, which is my CURRENT vehicle. I owe no money on that Vehicle because I paid CASH last year. I don’t think they know what they are doing! I told them I do not owe money on any “Bonneville” because I paid cash for the car, and I am not paying any balance on any “Bonneville”. Is this a loop-hole because they are trying to collect on the wrong Vehicle?

        • Michael Bovee says:

          The 6 year statute to legitimately sue you in Wisconsin would appear to have passed. It is a good thing the late pays, or any collection item, are not showing on your credit reports.

          What is the name of the debt collection company contacting you?

          The debt collector could be a scam. I would not have jumped to that assumption until you mention what they pulled on the Bonneville. You could call the original lender and verify if they still own the account, who they have it placed with for collections. If they sold the debt (that happens too), find out the name of the company they sold it to.

          Post an update and lets go from there.

          • it is called Northland group. They asked me to send a letter of dispute, which I was reluctant to do because I read somewhere that can reactive the “clock”.

            I did speak to the Bank, and they were supposed to email me copies of my file. The guy just called and yapped in my ear about what he “saw” in the file, but I have yet to receive that paperwork. The original debtor apparently sold it to the bank (who NEVER contacted me this whole time) and the bank sold it again to the agency -who is now contacting me 6 years later. The agency seems legit. Although they have 300+ poor BBB reviews sighting inaccurate information, abusive language, threats etc.

            –Not to mention, the bank claims my last payment was made in 3/2009, which is incorrect. it was 3/2008. I do not have any paper proof of that.

            so your saying they cannot sue me anymore? I should do nothing? What should I do if they call me again?

            • Michael Bovee says:

              A letter disputing the debt does not reset anything for credit reporting purposes. And given the fact that your dispute is basically saying you do not agree with the debt, you would generally not have to be concerned about the letter resetting an SOL timeline for them to sue to collect in your state. Talk to a consumer law attorney in your state to verify that.

              Northland group is a legitimate debt collector.

              If it were me in your shoes, and Northland Group, nor any other collector, appears on my credit report, and I am confident about the date I last paid being passed the 6 years to sue in your state, I would do nothing (unless for some other personal reason not attributed to credit reports, collection risks, or affordability). If were called again I would let them know you dispute the debt, as it was paid to your knowledge. You can send them a letter to that same effect. Be sure to keep a copy for your records, and use certified mail return receipt (save the green card you get back).

  173. So my wife has debt ~1700 and ~2400 from when she was 20 back in 2004. They are unpaid, what i’m wondering is if they will still have a negative impact on her credit score? And if in the next year or so I decide to pay them off in full, will that show up again on her credit score?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      If the debts have gone unpaid since 2004, there should be no trace of them on her credit reports. If debt collections do still show on her reports, it would be in error after this long.

      Are either of these judgment debts, where she was sued for collection? If not, there is really no benefit to her credit scores, or credit reports, from paying anything on these debts.

      If the date she last paid on these is anything newer than 7 years, post the dates last paid, and lets go from there.

  174. SST/CIGPF1CT took over one of my accounts from SS/SYNOVUS. When they reported it to
    the credit bureau they changed some of the inforomation. They added terms when there wasn’t any and they have it as a joint account instead of individual. Should I dispute it or
    just leave it alone. It is scheduled to drop off in 2017.

  175. Some more information when they took it over it was already in collection 07/08. They changed that to 2010 when it went into collection.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      What were the terms they added? Was it a joint account with a co-borrower, or is this completely false?

      What state are you in?

      I would not leave an account alone that was re-dated so that it will show on my credit report for 2 more years than is legitimate. But what state you are in will impact my feedback if you can still be sued for collection.

    • The terms they added were 99 months. The never was a co borrower they just made that up. I live in Kansas.

      • Michael Bovee says:

        If it were me, I would skip filing a dispute with the credit reporting agencies, and copying the collection agency furnishing the info to the bureaus. They sound like the type to have either poor data management systems and staff, or are willing to just fabricate stuff they send to the credit reporters. Either way, sending disputes to them would probably be a waste of time.

        I would file a credit reporting dispute directly with the CFPB here: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/.

  176. Hello, I just checked my husband’s credit report to find that he has 1 account in collections. The debt has already been transfered to a collection agency and the “last reported” date as well as the “opening date” are 09/16/2009. My husband did not know he had this debt and we have never received any letters or phone calls. We live in CA and want to build his credit because we are planning on buying a house in 2017. If I have my research correct, the SOL has expired since in CA its 4 years and it has already (come this september) been 5 years. Therefore, the collection agency cannot sue us for the money correct? Also, is there any real benefit in trying to pay it off since we only have 2 more years to go for the collection to fall off the credit report? My worry is that we open a can of worms by trying to do the right thing and pay it off. Or is it better to pay it off? Will the debt fall off the report sooner if I pay it off, or is 7 years, 7 years regardless of paying it or letting it “expire”? Also if we do have our credit run in say feb of 2017, there should be no history of this debt right? What are the chances of the collection agency “finding us” after 5 years of no contact? Thanks.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      You want to base your SOL to be sued on when the account was last paid, not when the account was opened, or last reported date on credit reports.

      I can respond better to your time lines, and questions about settling or letting this lay, if I you can post when the account was last paid? Can you look through any records you have and answer that with confidence?

      Also, what is the balance being reported as owed? The cost to resolve a debt (if that is something you decide to do) can enter into consideration.

      • Hubby says he never paid on it. So, the date of last paid should be right around (or at most 6 months prior to date opened right?) that time frame. The debt is fortunately the smallest of them all, and the others have already dropped off/been paid. Its a little over $1000. This amount is completely do-able, I just don’t want any repercussions for trying to take care of this!

        • Michael Bovee says:

          Okay, thanks for the additional details.

          Paid or unpaid, the account should drop from the credit reports at the same time. I do not think you will hurt your goals by settling this far in advance, but I also do not see how you would hurt them by doing nothing and waiting for the account to drop off on its own without payment. Yours appears to be a situation where more than personal finance math and credit reporting will guide your decision to settle or not.

          Your in a good position if you want to settle. Who is the debt collector?

  177. I stopped making payments on a car that I signed my name on to in 2000 – 2001, within the same year that i bought it.
    I know now that i was 20 years old and never could afford it. The Haundi Elantra was 2 years old when i bought it, in Virginia. I was defiantly ripped off @ 22. something apr and 22,000.00 or around that amount. I remember this because of all the comments i got from others at how stupid i was to do that. That car was recalled after I let it get impounded. Bad seatbelts i think.
    Anywho. I have recently had it removed from my credit reports via Lexington law.
    Parents called me today to read me a letter stating that I owe another collector 16,000.00 and threats of wage garnishment.
    Today the car is worth 235.00 max trade in, and 532.00 private,. KBB ( Kelly Blue Book).
    This is probably the third or fourth collection agency that I have seen this being sold and bought through.
    What is the best way to handle this?
    I just want to have them send me an agreement stating that I can pay this off and make it disappear for 300.00 .
    Does this sound do-able, if I handle them correctly?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Cody – Were you ever sued for this debt? Debt collectors cannot garnish without suing first. Threats of garnishing if they have not sued, and in writing nonetheless, if there is no judgment in place, is likely a violation of federal debt collection laws (and maybe state law too).

      Would you mind faxing over a copy of the letter to me to look over? You can also scan and email a copy to the email address you get these comment notifications from. I can then post better feedback for you.

      If you have not been sued on this debt, and given the age of it, I would not pay them anything at all, and would connect with an experienced FDCPA attorney about your options to sue them.

  178. Sue Poling says:

    My mom bought a car in Texas in 2006 and paid on it until mid 2009. She lost her job and because she was retirement age, she retired and moved to Oklahoma. When she could no longer pay, she voluntarily called the finance company to pick it up. The original lender is reporting it on her credit report as legally paid in full for less than the full amount. They apparently sold the vehicle for less than she owed and now in 2014 she was served with a court action from a collection agency that the original lender sold the debt to. She has no income other than Social Security and owns no property other than a car she paid cash for. What can she do about the court case. She is not too worried about credit report impact, just is afraid of what can happen at court.

  179. Rachel L. says:

    Hello,
    Just ran my credit report and I have a few debts that under “Status Details:” says this account is scheduled to conintue on record until….One is until sept 2015 and the other for Oct. 2015.
    Is it best for me to leave these alone and then they will “drop off” my credit report?
    Or is it better for me to pay them off now?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Post the names of the original creditors, the date you last made a payment, and the state you live in. I can then be more specific to your situation with my feedback.

      • Rachel L. says:

        Hello,
        for the 1st item: the original creditor is Sprint, and I probably went delinquent sometime in 2008-2009, I have never made a payment to the collection agency. It says date opened 3/2011 (I am unsure if that is when it went into collection?) is also says Reported Since/Date of Status:/Last Reported/ All are 01/2014
        This debt was acquired while I was living in Utah, but now I live in Washington and have been for 3 years.
        2nd item: probably went past due in 2008-2009, again never made a payment to the collection agency. It says date opened 04/2011 Reported Since: 05/2011 Date of Status: 05/2011 Last Reported: 02/2013
        Again this debt was acquired while I was living in Utah but now I reside in Washington for the last 3 years

        • Michael Bovee says:

          If you plan on buying a home, or have other large financing needs in the next year to two, you could benefit more from these collections showing paid than not. If you have no tangible credit goals in the next 1 to 2 years, I would let these lay if it were me.

          If you want to pay them, settling for less than the balance owed will provide the same zero balance owed getting updated to your credit reports. How much are the balances on these accounts?

          I have some concerns that the collection companies are reaging the trade lines. If you do not settle or pay the debts, but decide to wait this out, be sure that the collections entries drop from your credit at the same time the original creditors reporting does. If that does not happen, you can dispute them with the collector and with the credit bureaus.

          • they are amounts of about 270-390 not very large amounts. I am looking to purchase a home somewhere in the next 2 years.
            What does “reaging the trade lines” and how do I know if the collection entries drop the same time as the original creditors?
            On my credit report I do not see a separate report for the original creditors. I only know what original creditors this came from because it says so next to the name of the current collection agency that has this debt.

            • Michael Bovee says:

              Reaging in this context is using a different, and more recent date, for when the account would be considered to have gone delinquent. The affect of this is having an account drop from your credit reports later than should have happened. You keep tabs on this by watching for the original creditor negatives drop date, and that all collection items (other than court judgments for the same debt) fall off at that time too. It is a bit odd that none of your original creditors are reporting the debts on their own. Are these mainly utility types of bills, like the Sprint account?

              • Yes it is Sprint and then Direct TV
                It seems both have been sold to a collection agency but the original creditor is no where on my credit report

                • Michael Bovee says:

                  If it were me, and I were looking to buy a home a year or mare after these are going to fall off my credit reports, I would be more likely to let them lay. If you have a 620 or higher credit score, you have a shot at FHA home loan underwriting approval. But they would want to see any collections on your credit reports as paid. If your home loan goals accelerate to before these collections are set to fall off next year, that is when I would settle them.

  180. I have a have an account in collections it was a credit card in 2005, the account was sold to another collections agency in 2010, this account still on my credit report. is legal for them to re star my debt, also My Mother in-law took my son to the hospital, I never authorize treatment nor was aware he was taken to the hospital, this account has been added to collections, can they do this? they had my information from years back that I had a surgery, but I never signed paperwork nor received a call from the hospital for authorization for treatment.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      When you say the account was from 2005, is that also when you fell behind with payments? What is the name of the collection agency showing on your credit reports?

      You can be liable for the debts incurred regarding your minor children.

      • Cavalry Portfolio they are the ones that have the account now.

        • Michael Bovee says:

          I would not be surprised if Cavalry Portfolio is reaging collections on your credit reports. You can dispute this fact with the credit bureaus, and directly with Cavalry too. But first, can you verify when it was you stopped payments on the original credit card?

          • Just when I stopped payment or when I made last call to the previous creditor? when I try to dispute it last year they told me that going by the last contact I made to them.

            • Michael Bovee says:

              When you made last payments.

              Contacting the debt collect does not extend the permissible time for a negative item to stay on your credit reports. Did someone at Cavalry say that to you over the phone, or is it in writing?

              • When I disputed the account last year they send me a letter by mail stating that their records show I contacted the previous debt agency by phone therefore the debt was set to the contact date.

                • Michael Bovee says:

                  If you have a copy of that letter, could you scan it and email it to the email address you get these comment notifications from (that is my direct email address)?

                  If you no longer have a copy, you can dispute the entry again with all credit bureaus who have it on there, and with Cavalry too. Send your dispute certified mail return receipt. Keep a copy of your letter and the return receipt card. If that does not take care of it, post an update and lets go from there.

                  You have not answered when you stopped making payments to the original creditor. If that date is less the 7.5 years ago, it is not yet time to legitimately expect the Cavalry collection to drop off your credit.

  181. I have a couple of problems with my credit report. I have an old item from Verizon for 300 that is on my report. I have paid this in full and asked them to remove. They did not. This has been some time ago. Would I stand a better chance asking again? Also, I have a collection from a credit card that originated in 2005. It was turned over to Portfolio Recovery in 2011. The date on my report from Portfolio states 2011, not 2005 from the original debtor. Is this correct. If the default was 2005, does the 7 year rule apply and it should be removed? I there than that I own a home and have a car loan. I have one credit card with a very low limit. Several years ago I closed everything out (which was a mistake on my credit report) How do I get my credit report number to bump up a date how long will it take? Thanks

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Negative credit reporting can stay for 7 years. You can ask again, but they do not have to remove the paid negative. Was it Verizon you paid directly, or did you work that all out with a debt collector?

      Portfolio Recovery should not be reporting that collection account if it went delinquent more than 7.5 years ago. Can you recall the date you last made a payment on the account? Who was the original creditor, and do they show on your credit reports still?

      Are there other collections on your credit report?

      How long have you had your mortgage? Any lat pays on that? How about your auto loan?

      I can better offer feedback about credit improvement after I have those answers?

      • I paid Verizon directly. It has been a while since I asked them to remove from my credit report.

        HSBC Bank in Nevada is the original creditor for Portfolio Recovery. HSBC is also on my credit report with an open date of 11/2005 but they show $0 past due amount because the credit was sold to Portfolio. I have not made a payment since at least 2012.

        I have had my mortgage for about 5 years. I have had my car loan for 2. I have been late on my house but not the car.

        I don’t have any other collections or open court records on my credit report.

        I do have several inquiries that hurt my score. Some of them I know what they are but some I have neverh heard of. Who can inquire about my credit?

        Thanks for any help you can lend.

        • Michael Bovee says:

          You could try a good will letter to Verizon requesting the deletion, but success is a long shot.

          I read your first comment to say that the account PRA is showing on your credit reports was last paid in 2005. I could read this follow up comment to say that the HSBC account went into default in 2012.

          The credit reporting limit of 7 years is for negative reporting. The clock does not tick based on the account open date. Can you clarify the date of last payment to HSBC?

          There is a difference between hard and soft inquiries. Soft inquiries will more often be made by current creditors, or potential creditors who want to solicit people for new credit offers. Debt collectors can show as soft credit pulls too.

          Hard inquiries are typically the result of you applying for credit. Are there hard inquiries that you do not recognize?

  182. can debt collector come after me, after it has been delected of my credit report. can they still ganish my check or take money from my bank account because i still receive call from them. eventhough the account as been delected after 7years.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Legitimate debts do not go away after they fall off your credit reports. They are still able to be collected upon through phone calls and collection letters. This type of debt is often referred to as zombie debt, as it cannot hurt your credit, and the limits to legitimately be sued by a collection company has passed in nearly all states… if the 7 year credit reporting time has lapsed.

      An exception is if you have been sued. Collections risks like garnishment and bank account levy can persist for 20 years or more in some states. Once a judgment, or the collection account that later became a judgment, falls off your credit reports, it does not limit the extra ordinary collection methods the debt collector has to get money from you.

      What state are you in? Are you dealing with a judgment debt? Did a debt collector call and threaten you with legal collections on an old debt?

  183. I have a student loan (Alaska State Loan) that I defaulted on back in 2007. I was able to make payment arrangements through the collection agency and have been paying monthly on time every time. I just checked my annual free credit reports from all 3 bureaus and none of them have that debt on there! I was married last year and I did not update my name with the collector as I just didn’t want to talk to them. Could that be the reason it is not there or do you think it is because it has been long enough to be removed? If it has been long enough while I know I still owe this debt, can they sue me? I currently live in North Dakota but the original debt was when I was an Alaska Resident. Thanks for your help.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      I do not think the name change from the marriage had anything to do with it falling off your credit reports. It is more likely due to the 7 year time frame passing.

      The majority of student loan debts simply do not go away. You may not get sued, but your tax return (if loan was federally guaranteed) could be intercepted, and even social security be affected, many years down the road.

      Are the payments to the collection company still manageable? Can you afford to pay even more?

  184. Hi, during a divorce in 2010 I wanted to sell the marital home which was in both names, however, my ex wanted to keep it and the dang Judge agreed with him and gave him “full custody” so to speak. She said there were enough homes at that time being sold for under value and because he showed he could afford it, against my wishes, he was ordered “sole” custody of the home. I was not allowed there at all and there was to be a appointee to check in the home each year. Well within the 1st year I went to buy a new home, I had no idea what was happening there, and I did buy a new home, but at the same week I closed on my current home i found out he had moved out and walked away. I had absolutely no idea. I hired an attorney and real estate agent to try to do the right thing and short sale, however, by the time his lawyer got back to us it was too late in a sherriff sale. Now I just lost my job and need to pull equity from my new home or refinance to be able to stay and there is a $35,000 collection on my credit report. this is not allowing me to move forward. Yes my name was on the last mortgage, but only because a judge ordered it to be, and I am wondering if there is anything I can do to get this removed from my credit report? I had no idea my ex had even moved out and I feel I had tried to do the right thing from divorce to sale and by other peoples choices, (judge) and his lawyer I am getting screwed. I feel this is discrimination. I pay my bills.

    Can I get collections account removed from my credit report on my ex’s foreclosure

    • Michael Bovee says:

      You are stuck in a hard place here. Many options you can explore are going to take time and money, and you are short on both.

      Sue your ex for the money = time and money.
      Settle the 35k balance = money.
      Dispute with the credit reporting agencies = time spent on a hail-Mary that would likely trigger less savings were you to settle.

      What are you inclined to do?
      How much time do you have?

  185. I went through a foreclosure in May 2013, and the creditor issued a 1099-C. Which I reported on my income taxes for 2014. The creditor lists the trade line on my credit reports as a charge off with a $95,000 balance. Shouldn’t the balance be $0? This seems like I’m getting dinged twice. I had to pay taxes on the 1099-C to the IRS, and still owe the original creditor $95,000. How is this right?

  186. I was sent papers from a collection agency saying they are taking me to small claims for checks that were non sufficient and from a car dealer that I know nothing about…it says the charges occurred in 2005 and this is the first I am hearing of any of these against my credit…and non of them are any that I accrued myself…what should I do??????

    • Michael Bovee says:

      When you say “against your credit”, do you mean you see these collections on your credit reports? Were you ever a victim of identity theft? Please pull copies of your credit reports, post what you see, and lets go from there.

  187. Hi Michael,
    I have been reading your posts and you have been a great help with others. Would you be able to assist me with my credit question? In June 2009 I voluntary gave my my vehicle for repossession. The name of the creditor was Americredit, which is now GM Financial. The total amount of the loan was around $20,000. The car was sold, which left a remaining balance of around $12,000. I had one late payment in March 2009 which was 30 days past due. In May of 2012, I decided to pay off my old debts. This auto loan being one of them. I called and made a one time payment of $50.00 and told them I would send in as much as I could to get the balance to zero. Later that day, I was told not to pay anymore on it because I didn’t have all the money up front and they can reage my account on my credit reports, so I decided not to pay anything else. Fast Foward…Now I am looking to purchase a home and was advised to pay off the balance. If I pay the balance, I will not have any money for a down payment for my home. Will this age off my credit by March 2016 or May 2019? I am trying to figure out if I should just suck it up and pay it or wait til it ages off my report. Any advice you give would be very helpful!

    Thanks

    • Michael Bovee says:

      From what you shared, the repossession can stay on your credit report for as long as late 2016. That 50 dollars you paid would not reage your account for credit reporting purposes.

      If you want to purchase a home before the account falls off your credit, you will probably have to suck it up and pay. But probably not the full amount.

      Who is it that is collecting now?
      Have you had a loan application put through yet?

      • Hi Michael,

        Thank you for your quick response! GM financial still holds my account. I did submit a loan application and was told that my middle score was 600 and I need a 640 in order to be approved for a mortgage. The loan officer said I have to pay/settle the balance or wait until it ages off my credit report. Do you think I should just save and wait for it to age off to ensure I have a better credit score?

        • Michael Bovee says:

          If it were me making that same decision, it may depend on how strong my income is, and whether the amount I would have to pay to settle, let’s assume half, is something I could replace relatively quickly.

          My thoughts would also move toward what home prices in the area I want to buy are doing, and if they are on an upward trend, even a little, the math starts to favor settling for as little as possible in order to get the credit report updated.

  188. I have a collections account from October 2010 for a lease that was broken.I’m wondering if I wait it out ( the information is correct, I just cannot afford to pay a debt my ex ran up) will it basically fall off my report? I live in Tennessee. I haven’t been able to rent any kind of apartment because of this smudge even though I have 100% on time payments on my car loan as recent indicators of my good credit behavior. I’m already 4 years deep nearly and I currently rent from private homeowners. I’m just curious, they have not contacted me in any way since 2010and I’ve never made a so.gle payment or agreement. What is the likelihood they will sue me before those 3 yrs are finished?
    I was thinking they possibly aren’t worried about it so much because I didn’t “spend money I didn’t have” I just got charged fees for an one month inconvenience.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      The collection is only related to late fees or something similar?
      How much is the amount in collections?
      Is the debt still being collected by the creditor, or is there a debt collector now showing on your credit reports too?

  189. From Illinois and my student loans are all Private. I have been unemployed for a long while and have defaulted on all loans. Will these loans fall off my credit report? The loans are from 2008?

  190. Hello Michael,

    I live in Michigan, I had purchased a vehicle in Nov 2007, it was repossessed in Oct 2011, it shows that I have balance of $4065. I would like to know if I should try and pay this bill off, or wait to for it to drop off my credit report. Also, when would this drop from my credit report?

    • I’m just trying to make since of the whole restore your credit without going deeper into dept.

      Thanks for any information that will help me in my situation.

      • Michael Bovee says:

        You can be sued for collection on a debt like yours, the deficiency balance from the repossession in Michigan, for 6 years. Your collection risk is high until 2017. That same collection and repossession can remain on your credit report until some time in late 2018 to early 2019.

        If it were me, and know the value of older collection debts, I would not look to pay the whole amount. I would look to settle the debt for as much a savings as I could negotiate. I do see settlements on deficiency from repo balances go lower than 50% often enough. And sometimes even under 30%.

        How prepared are you to negotiate a pay the settlement you put together as of now?

  191. If you have private student loans (with a very high balance) that are charged off as bad debt and your 7.5 years are about a year away, would it be better to start paying them or wait for it to fall off? At the 7.5 year mark with they completely disappear?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Who were the loans with?
      What state are you in?

      • Sallie Mae.
        I live in California but my loans were secured when I lived legally in Florida and attended school in Mass. I am looking to buy a home and have a large amount of federal loan debt that recently got out of default and are currently in good standing. I am concerned that by contacting Sallie Mae I will be hurting myself because my debt owed will be very large.

        • Michael Bovee says:

          What are the total balances for the private student loans showing on your credit reports now?

          Are you working with a loan officer or a mortgage broker already?

          • I have two totaling 37k. I started the process but am on hold due to those loans being in default as directed by the mortgage broker.

            • Michael Bovee says:

              If your payments are small enough so that your current income and expenses still fit within the qualified mortgage standards and recommended debt to income ratios, you should be fine. If not, wait out the credit reporting time lines. Ask your mortgage broker about how often they see old (8 or more years since last paid) student debt shows up in factuals and tri-merge reports underwriters use.

  192. My Husband owes an apartment complex money from the year 2008. Will it always be on his credit report? Or will it fall off? I am trying to fix it and we are almost done. I need to know which is the best way to go. Wait to see if it falls off or just try and set up a payment plan, in whhich I don’t know if they even do that. But he owes right over 2,000$. Any help would be great!

    • Michael Bovee says:

      That would make the collection 6 years old, and ready to fall off his credit reports as early as next year.

      What are your family credit and financing goals in the next 12 to 18 months (home, car, new apartment)?

      What state do you live in?

  193. I have several items on my credit report from 5ish years ago. I am working on getting my credit cleaned up and I have a question. I have some old debts that I was hoping would be dropping off within the next year but the debts have been purchased by another agency. Does the 7.5 year clock reset when they purchase them or does it remain the same? My parents are getting harassing and pushy people calling all day long looking for me and I haven’t lived there in over a decade. I need to get them to stop.
    I have considered bankruptcy, but after talking with an agency, I make to much money. What would be the best way to tackle clearing my credit report, I am feeling totally overwhelmed and feel like I am sinking.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      The 7.5 year credit reporting time limit (for negative items to remain on your reports) begins with the first missed payment to the original creditor. You would have to bring the account current to reset that clock. Your account changing hands from one debt collector to the next, or one debt buyer selling to another, does not change how long the negative stuff related to the account can still show on your credit. And when the original creditors reporting falls off from age, all the other stuff, like debt collectors and debt buyers reporting about the same account, should drop at the same time. The exception to this is if you were sued and a judgment entered for a debt already on your credit report. The judgment has its own new shelf life on your credit report.

      Your parents should not be receiving multiple or harassing phone calls. You can put a stop to this. What is the name of a nearby larger city? I can connect you with some resources, and they may be available at no cost.

      If bankruptcy is not an option, lets look at other ways to resolve your debts. Post a reply with who you owe currently and the approximate balance on each debt. I can help you consider the dollars and cents of different solutions from there.

  194. A suit was filed against me by Berman & Rabin PA. It was on a Bank of America credit card that went to collection in 08. It is being collected by FIA. I have been making $320. a month on a hardship program in December of last year the check for the payment wasn”t covered by the bank. I tried calling them to set the payments up again and never could reach them. My question is if I don’t go for the court appearance what will happen? Is this debt covered by the statue of limations? I live in Kansas. The amount of the debt is $2500.

  195. I’ve got a good one for you! I was denied a loan today at Chase. When I got the reason I was told that I had a 3500$ charge off and that they will NOT do the loan.

    When I replied that I have no such thing on file, they told me that indeed I did and I had a CO of a Chase credit card. Again I said NO WAY! Then they told me it was 14 YEARS AGO!!!!!! Only when I went back on my OLD files did I indeed recall losing my job many moons ago and could not pay the debt and it got charged off.

    While the FCRA does provide for a clear wipe after 7 years….THERE is NO law preventing CHASE or other financial institutions from keeping records INFINITELY.

    Furthermore as it was explained to me, if CHASE purchases another bank, they add any DEROGATORY info from THAT INSTITUTION!!!

    Theoretically speaking, given all the mergers in the banking industry, you could be prevented from taking out a loan from DOZENS of banks making it near impossible to ever get a loan.

    Does any one else think that this somehow is just NOT RIGHT????

    • Michael Bovee says:

      AMEX has maintained a black list of folks who default on their credit products for ever.

      Not sure about the derog’s Chase might add from, say Bank One or WAMU.

      Time to vote with your feet perhaps?

      • I just think it is utterly wrong. Everyone and every business makes risks, and mistakes during the course of your life. I did back 14 years ago, and so do businesses….Chase with the London Whale…lots of people taking haircuts, AM EX too with lots of bad deals in the past where investors suffered.

        Our entire system is built THANKFULLY to allow for risks and to punish then redeem. If you default you are going to be PUNISHED dearly via higher rates, denied access to credit etc.

        Blacklisting just seems a step too far. This is the first time that I heard of this. Yes your right, vote with your feet, but I see it becoming more and more difficult in this environment especially after the financial meltdown where MILLIONS of people lost their jobs through no fault of their own and had no choice but to take credit hits.

  196. I recently received a repayment plan from an old debt from a collection agency. I checked the box and started to make payments on it. That was a couple of weeks ago. Now, I realize after the fact that I may have re-aged this debt because I looked at my credit report yesterday and it is not on there anymore. Is this what I have done? Should I continue with the payment plan and hope that it does not appear on my credit report again? When will I see it reappear on my report if I have inadvertently re-aged it? How do I stop it from being sold again if I repay it? And finally, is it up to the collection agency to start the clock on this debt again once I have started repayment, or does that happen automatically?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Who is the debt collector you are paying?
      When was it you first started missing payments to the original creditor? When was it you last made a payment on this debt to anyone?

      By checking off the payment box you did, are you agreeing to pay the debt in full over time, or a lower settlement amount split up into monthly payments? How many months is the payment plan you opted into?

      • I think it is Jefferson something. It looks like they acquired it from RJM.
        Missed payments over 7 years ago.
        Last made a payment 2 weeks ago to the Jefferson company.
        Lower settlement in a lesser amount was what I checked.
        9 month payment plan with monthly payments.

        Is it to late to stop the re-aging of this debt? Damn. Wish I had known before I sent payment. It was the last one of my debts that had reached its statute and was off of my credit report. I received the second payment request today for the plan.

        Does the company re-age it? Or is that automatic once you commit to payments?
        It has not appeared on my report since that first payment, but that was only 2 weeks ago. When could I expect it to reappear? Can they sell it to another 3rd party even if I pay it off?

        I live in Alaska, but the debt was from another state. Oregon I believe. Thanks for your help.

        • Michael Bovee says:

          Your payment does not reage the original credit reporting timelines. But it likely does reset the SOL for them to legitimately sue you.

          I do not expect them to sell any portion of your debt off to another debt collector as long as you keep your end of the bargain by making all of those 9 payments on time (make them early if possible). If something like that were to happen, post an update about it here.

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