Having to fight a Collection on your credit report sounds like a serious battle. Luckily for you, it's not as bad as it sounds. In fact, I'm going to give you some healthy advice to help you in your fight against collections.
One thing to keep in mind is that a negative entry will stay on your credit report for seven years, which will hurt you in future attempts to get credit. This means that you should get rid of any negative marks as quickly as possible, otherwise it could come back to bite you in the you know what!
I'm going to give you as many tips as I can. Let's go through each one and figure out which one is going to be the best one for you.
Let's face it, it's either yours or it's not, right? If it's not yours then you need to dispute it online or off. You can dispute any entry online via Equifax, TransUnion or Experian.
But before you go and start disputing an account, make sure you have access to the account number and any other information that you'll need to provide. Also, be sure to that those accounts aren't yours, otherwise see below.
Personally, I choose to do online first, but I would recommend sending in a more demanding letter to remove those accounts if, after 30 days, they still do not remove the negative entries.
If the collection agency takes more than 30 days to let you know, then you should have the credit validated, which requires the collection agency to show proof that the account is actually yours. If they cannot prove this they must remove it from your report.
7 Year Dispute
The Fair Credit Reporting Act states that all past due accounts should only be on your report for 7 years from the date that it was first reported as delinquent. You can view this report here.
If you see that an account is still on your report after 7 years, you need to dispute that entry immediately. Provide them with any information you may have.
Note: some collectors will try to re-age a collection. If you find them doing this, dispute it and explain this information in your dispute.
Tip: You can also try disputing every 6 months if you have issues disputing a collection. Collection agencies purchase data quite often, so the odds that your account was sold to a new agency is pretty high. By disputing more often, you have a much better chance of seeing those accounts getting wiped from your report.
Trying to dispute a collection may not always go your way, unfortunately. This is where you do your best to negotiate a payment to wipe the account from your report -- as long as they are willing to do so in exchange for payment. But, this is important, you must get this in writing. You can find delete letters online with a quick search. Before you make that agreement and pay the collector, make sure that you send them a letter and that they return it to you, signed.
If all goes well and they have removed it from your report, great! If not, dispute it again and send in the agreement to the correct bureaus) showing that the collector agreed to remove it from your report. This should finally give you the results that you were hoping to see.
If all else fails, continue to dispute it and send in more demanding letters to the bureaus. Do not threaten them, but explain that you're willing to escalate matters by contacting the Attorney General and others who may scare them a little more than the normal disputes have.
If you have any advice, suggestions or tips please post them below!