How do you work out a settlement with an old (6 yrs) outstanding account on your credit report? I disputed this account via Equifax and they keep advising me this account is active. Equifax told me that the account is active because the date of last activity is Dec 2008. I tried to explain to Equifax that that is the date I requested a copy of the credit report. I really don't understand, so I just decided to try to work out a settlement.
This account has been turned over to a collection agency who is very demanding and unhelpful. I called them to see if I could work out a settlement, but they refused. My home loan officer advised that collection agencies normally work out settlements on accounts that are 6 years old. Do you have any advice?
I don't know the details of your dispute, but I found myself in a battle with Earthlink internet service about 2 years ago when I moved across the state. My service was not transferred as I requested and I couldn't get on the internet. When I called the company they said my service had been discontinued when I moved. I asked for it to be restarted, but they never did. When I called back I was told I did not have service. I went to another company and began getting letters from a collection service hired by Earthlink. All that to say this: I had kept good records of dates, person spoken to, and what was said. I sent a very nice letter to the collection agency with a copy of my history and explained very nicely that I "would not" be paying this bill. I never heard anything more. Maybe a letter to the collection agency would be better than a phone call for you. (01/17/2009)
Always use the mail not the phone to resolve these matters. I use to work at a credit bureau about 10 years ago so things could have changed. However, you write to "all" three credit agencies and be very specific in your letters. Include who is disputing who, what, where, and why. Also include that you are in the process of seeking legal representation because of this situation. Because we were trained that anything that said "lawyer" or anything from a law office was forwarded to a different dept. for different handling.
Further which may help, sometimes credit report companies may remove a dispute or correct to your favor a certain dispute, wait for it to come back to you. If agency A makes a correction, then make photocopies of their findings and corrections and mail to agency B and C with a letter stating that you are disputing this and based on so and so credit agency (one of the big 3) they found it in error and corrected and you are seeking to have it corrected with their agency.
Usually they will just correct it rather research themselves.
I had to do this myself to get my credit report corrected to buy our first house.
Also you want to consider writing a letter to the company itself outlining your problem and that you are thinking about contacting a lawyer and ask them to correct the error and report their correction to the said credit agency.
You need to see what is the limitations on debt collections. 6 years and in a lot of states the debt is no longer collectible. It is called the statue of limitations on the debt. (01/19/2009)
"Do not settle a debt that is not yours." If you are 100% positive you don't owe this money, then do not give them a dime.
Collections will remain active on your credit report for seven years from the last time they send you a bill. It may be six years old, but if they sent you a bill this month, it will be on your credit report until 2016
To settle with them, you may just have to put up with some un-helpfulness. Let's say the debt is $1,000. Offer $300, and keep offering until they counter. I wouldn't pay more than 40% on a debt this old.
Check out www.daveramsey.com for more free advice. (01/19/2009)
Also, make sure you get any arrangement you make "in writing" before you pay. Do not give them electronic access to your checking or savings account. Send a cashier's check or money order with return receipt requested. Keep good records of every contact you have with them. (01/19/2009)
This is a situation that shows it truly does matter to keep all financial records for seven to ten years including copies of checks (front and back) that the companies cashed for payments and also keeping their billing statements.
I had a situation once where, at just about the same time of six years, a collection company called and said I owed a few hundred dollars on a credit card for the store "Express". I told them I did not and could prove it and asked who it was that had hired the collection company to collect on the amount. It turns out that Express had sold my "before it was paid off account information" to another party who then turned it over to collections. It was a scam :-o Had I not had records I would have been forced to pay or ruin my credit even though I didn't owe it.
I so hope you have records! If not, you need to ask the collection company to show you the "original" records from who's trying to collect!
If you do owe the money, just make a realistic agreement with the collection company "in writing before you make any payment" and stick with the promised payment schedule! Even if the debt is old, if you know in your heart you owe it, you should pay it. When I was in my early twenties I had to have major dental work and surgery done on my teeth. It took me ten years to pay it off, but I did it because it was the right thing to do.
One more thought: People who do not pay their debts are a very big part of the reason why costs of goods escalate in price because the losses to the companies extending credit have to recoup their losses one way or another. (01/19/2009)
All bad debt stays for 7yrs, you already have 6. Wait one more year and it will be removed without doing anything! (01/28/2009)
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