Let me first thank you all for the incredibly valuable information contained in these forums, and for hopefully answering my questions below.
Today a 'Collections' trade line was added to my credit report by Midland Credit Management for the amount of $1700.
It was the first reporting of this account to any Credit Bureau. There were no 30/60/90 delinquencies etc prior to this line.
The original OC was Synchrony (PayPal Credit), an account without a physical card and without any signed agreement. A credit line was added to my PayPal account and that was it. They never reported this account, which was opened in 2016 while I was married and which went unattended during and after the divorce in late 2017.
Not only did this derogatory report take 55 points off my credit score, it will also disqualify me from applying for a USDA loan, which I had planned to do in the summer.
Reading through these forums, I have seen that an Arbitrarion strategy is not advisable unless there has been a lawsuit filed by the JDB but also that it's not entirely discouraged, especially if there is no Small Claims provision in the original CCA.
Having considered paying off this debt to have the derogatory remark removed, I have learned that this won't work as CRAs don't much play the pay and delete game anymore.
And I need that derogatory remark removed completely to be able to get that government mortgage.
Other than this issue I have a spotless payment record.
So, I see my only option is to get the account dismissed with prejudice - and with a stipulation to have the trade line removed - in arbitration (assuming of course that the JDB doesn't follow me there) and to use that to get my CRs cleaned up.
As the amount is relatively small, I'm unsure if and when MCM will file a suit.
I've read it can take up to 2 years for them to do so after adding a 'Collections' and I really can't afford to wait that long to activate the Arbitration strategy, which, by the way, along with the detailed information here as to how to use it is a godsend
My questions are then:
1. Given the above, would it be wise to initiate an Arbitration hearing?
2. Assuming that MCM drops this if I initiate an Arbitration, and I get what I'm looking for, would that end the matter, and would the CRAs honor the arbitrator's ruling?