Sending a letter to the credit bureaus requesting your debt to be removed.
In August 2005 a (now ex) boyfriend opened an auto lease with VW Credit in my name. The account first became delinquent (according to Equifax, listed as "date of first delinquency") in March 2008. "Date of last payment" was 8/2008. The account was charged off.
Over the last 7 years, I have done my best to dispute this debt as fraudulent, but failing to have any paperwork, I never could successfully get it removed, but had enough evidence to keep creditors and judgements at bay. No payments to the debt have ever been made.
I reside in California. The debt was created in California.
It is now February 2015, and I'd like to get this debt removed from my credit reports so I can clean up my file once and for all.
Do I have to wait until March 2015 (first reported delinquency) or August 2015 (date of last payment) to send a letter to the credit bureaus asking for the debt to be removed based on SOL in CA? Is there any harm in sending such a letter prematurely? Thanks!
The timing of when to send your letter to the credit bureaus could depend on the type of payments that were made back then. If the first payment delinquency in March all those years ago was caught completely up (loan brought current), you may be looking at the August date for this to be removed from your credit reports.
If the March delinquency was never fully resolved, or the loan not brought current before all payments stopped, you could make an argument that next month is the appropriate time for the account to be removed.
Which credit bureau’s report are you looking at to base your dates and removal requests on? Are the same dates reported with the other bureaus? If the dates are different from one report to the other, how are they showing up?
Sending in your credit report removal request.
Given the information you shared so far, my assumption is that the loan is shown as scheduled to come off your credit reports this summer. Is there any point to sending the credit bureau your request that this item be removed from your credit report early? Generally speaking, there is nothing wrong with sending in the removal request, though I will have some limited cautions below.
Some reasons you could be successful getting the item removed are:
- The correct date for the credit bureau to consider the account drop off date is the earlier one you list.
- The credit bureau is unable to get any response from creditor or debt collector (furnisher) that is providing the details, and could therefore remove the item from your report.
- The current information furnisher no longer has an accurate record they can use to affirm the information they are sending to the bureau is accurate and complete.
- The credit reporting agency may use its discretion and simply remove it.
Your letter to the bureau could result in the account being taken off, or they may refuse to, which means you wait 5 months until they were set to remove it anyway.
How and when to send your letter to the credit bureau.
There are instances I see where sending a letter to the credit bureau would not be productive. If you have a specific credit goal you are trying to accomplish, request letters can sometimes gum things up, such as when you have a pending approval for a home loan. And if you have sent in what a credit bureau would consider frequent frivolous disputes and requests, I may just wait out the extra months for the bureaus removal date. And if they somehow did not remove it, then file a credit reporting complaint with the CFPB. I suggest the CFPB complaint, rather than disputing with the credit bureau first, if someone has already been tagged with sending in frivolous disputes.
Nothing you shared so far suggests that there would be any harm from sending your removal request.
When sending in disputes and removal request letters to the credit bureaus, it is a good idea to:
- Clearly identify yourself with information the credit bureau has on file, such as your current address, full name, social security number.
- Be brief with what you say in the letter, and get right to the point.
- Include a copy of their credit report with the item at issue highlighted. Refer to the enclosed copy and highlighted section in your letter.
- Use certified mail return receipt requested from the USPS.
Keep a copy of the letter and credit report you send for your records. When the green return receipt card comes back to you in the mail, keep it with your copies and store this with your other important documents.
The 7 year reporting time frame for collections to drop off your credit is not governed by California law, but you are passed the 4 year time limit to be sued legitimately in your state.
Anyone with questions or concerns about sending in a request to remove something from your credit reports is welcome to post in the comments below.