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.

  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.

  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?

  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.

  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

  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.

  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?

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