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HOW DO I GET COLLECTION ACCOUNTS OFF MY CREDIT REPORT?

Consumers often call us and ask, how do I get collection accounts off of my credit report? You might think the answer is simple – just pay the debt, but you would be incorrect! The truth is, just because you paid the collection account does not mean it will come off of your credit report.

In fact, the credit reporting agencies’ scoring models will still devalue your credit score despite paying the account in full! Collection accounts on your credit report will decrease your score – paid or unpaid. Collection accounts may stay on your credit report for 7 years and 6 months from the date of your first delinquency.

Consumers do have rights under federal law.  First, if it is a valid debt, then you may decide to pay the account off for the actual amount owed. This will prevent the creditor (or debt collector) from filing a lawsuit against you. You may also consider negotiating the amount to settle the debt for less than the claimed balance. The creditor or debt collector may agree to accept less than the amount owed to settle the account.

It doesn’t hurt to ask the creditor or debt collector to delete the account as being reported as a collection when you have a genuine dispute about the debt. After all, collection agencies cannot report information that is inaccurate or incomplete. Your agreement should be made in writing and signed by the creditor or debt collector and you – make sure you get this BEFORE you pay the debt!

Second, if the collection account is being reported with incorrect or incomplete information to the credit bureaus, under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) you have the right to dispute the inaccurate information to Experian, Equifax and Trans Union. The credit bureaus then have a legal duty under federal law to re-investigate the account. If the consumer reporting agency does not complete its re-investigation within 30 days (in most cases), then the credit bureau must delete the information.  Also, under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), debt collectors cannot harass you about debts, especially when its not your account!

Third, if you are unsuccessful at getting the collection account off of your credit report, know that with time, the consumer reporting agencies’ scoring models will decrease the impact of the collections account on your credit score. The FICO scoring model FICO 08 will not take into consideration collection accounts with an original balance of less than $100 when calculating your credit score. The key word here is “original.” This may include parking tickets, library fines and other small past due accounts.

For more information about consumers’ rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act click HERE.

HAVE YOU DISPUTED INACCURATE INFORMATION ON YOUR CREDIT REPORT?  HAS A DEBT COLLECTOR BEEN HARASSING YOU ABOUT A PAST DUE ACCOUNT?  IF YES, THEN CONTACT ATTORNEY MICAH ADKINS FOR A FREE LEGAL CONSULTATION.  1-800-263-9091.  AGENTS ARE AVAILABLE 24/7.

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