If you’ve done your homework on credit repair, you know the very first step is pulling your credit reports from the three major credit reporting agencies and going through these reports with a fine-tooth comb. The goal: To note all negative listings and to write formal letters of dispute, asking for proof of the debts.
Ideally, the agencies won’t have the necessary information to prove such debts, in which case the listings must be removed from your reports. That said, there will probably be some, if not several, negative listings on your reports that can be proven. The good news is, most negative listings have an expiration date. The bad news is, it can take years for them to fall off.
All negative listings on your credit report are not created equal. The following will stay on your reports for…
- Late payments
- Bankruptcies for completed Chapter 13 bankruptcies
- Collections (though it depends on the age of the debt being collected)
- Public records (though unpaid tax liens can remain indefinitely)
- Default information concerning U.S. Government insured or guaranteed student loans
- Tax liens (from the date paid)
- Information concerning a lawsuit or a judgment against you (or until the statute of limitations runs out, whichever is longer)
- Chapter 7 bankruptcies
No time limitation:
- Information reported because of an application for a job with a salary of more than $20,000
- Information reported because of an application for more than $50,000 worth of credit or life insurance
It is because so many listings can stay on your reports for so long that it is essential for you to validate old debts. As you probably know, old debt may be sold multiple times over the years. Never assume, though, that the new collection agency you’re hearing from has the correct information or the right to collect on it at all. Within 30 days of receiving the initial notice from a collection agency, use debt validation to make them prove it.