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unpaid collection: sticky situation -- please help


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I have an unpaid university collection (in part for library fines -- can you believe that?) that has twice been verified after my request for Experian investigations.

The original creditor and the CA will not budge after my offers of payment in exchange for a deletion letter. This entry is scheduled to fall off my report in 22 months. It's my only negative Experian entry. My Experian score is right around 700. The others are the same, according to myfico.com.

Here's the deal -- the collection shows up ONLY on Experian. I'm worried that if I pay it, the CA will then report it as a PAID collection to all three CRAs (i.e. it then shows up on the other two that originally were clean). But then again, since I've already flagged myself with the University (by calling five times to try to negotiate), I'm also worried that they might report it to the other two CRAs on their own.

Part of the debt (the library fines; the other portion is for alleged unpaid tuition) cannot be validated by the CA (based on a validation attempt I did four years ago), and most likely cannot be validated by the university (they can most definitely validate the unpaid tuition) because the library records are so old. Should I now try to validate with the CRA, or will they merely just adjust the amount of the debt (i.e. subtracting the library fines from what I owe)?

Need to secure a mortgage in the next month, and I realize many, if not all, lenders will make me pay this unpaid collection. I also am going to ask them for some things that they only give to folks with good scores, like a no or reduced closing cost loan.

Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks a lot!!

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