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Hi everyone,

 

I did a search on the forums and was unable to find a scenario like mine. If there is one and I missed it, I apologize in advance for overlooking that.

 

When it comes to my question, it originates from a medical debt collection started in 2011 that, as far as I know, came from me breaking my hand in 2010 and being of legal age. Although I signed all of the medical documents, my parents were going to pay the medical bill as I did not have income to pay for it because I was a full-time student. With that said, my parents accidentally stopped paying the debt (I believe it was being paid for on a charge card and they received new cards), and it eventually ended up on my credit report, resulting in around $1600-$1700 in debt.

 

So, why am I worried about it now that it is almost 2.5 years away from being removed from my credit report? It is because I have a flawless credit history outside of this collection and I honestly want to correct this "mistake" so I can continue on with having my "perfect" credit history. Now that I am graduating college and am possibly looking at moving out soon, I want to be able to have a clean-slate and not run into any issues with my credit history. I am also looking at applying for another credit card or two as my credit score is slightly above 700.

 

Now my question to you friendly folks is this, I have read about settling and seriously pursuing the "pay for delete" route because that is the best case scenario for me, but where do I start?. I have the money to offer a sizable settlement amount, but I do want to try to settle for as low as possible as I know they buy the loan from doctors for pennies on the dollar. As a side note, this debt is still owned by the original CA that filed the delinquency back in 2011.

 

Do I send a letter of validation even though I believe the debt is accurate and all of the notes match up with the original source of debt (the hospital)? If I do and I receive confirmation, do I offer 20% of the debt and work my way up from there? Do I run the risk of having them "reset" the SOL if I try to settle for a pay for delete? I am very serious about getting this removed, and am willing to spend generously if that's what it takes, but I'd rather start low and work my way up from there.

 

This was what I was thinking about saying when I call them, "Hi, “name" I was hoping to be able to speak with someone about being able to settle a collection on my credit report. I inherited debt that I did not know was not being paid, and am hoping to be able to make it right and come to an agreement. As a result of this agreement, I am hoping that we can also agree that this will be a pay for delete settlement and you will contact the credit agencies to have this derogatory mark removed."

 

If you made it through this post, I want to say thank you very much for your time and hope that you can provide me with any advice on how to approach this situation. Having this removed from my credit report would be absolutely amazing for me and my mental "well-being."

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Medical debts are prime for pay for delete.  I would send a letter stating "I found this on my CR and realized it is a debt my parents should have paid when I was a full time student.  I do not wish to drag this out and would like to offer to pay this in exchange for deleting the trade line from my credit reports as settlement in full" etc.

 

If you did use insurance then they cannot discount the amount it is illegal rebating.  If you had it and did not use it it is way too late to file a claim now there is a one year time limit to submit them and while you could file it, it would be denied.   If there was no insurance and you paid out of pocket you make a settlement offer on the balance and they will either accept or reject it and you can keep negotiating.

 

I have settled debts this way and I enclose 2 signed copies of my proposed settlement agreement indicating if an authorized representative signs and returns one I will pay by money order within 14 business days of receiving it and they will delete the lines within 14 days of being paid.  3 companies settled this way and that was 2 years ago with no re-insertion of the trade line or further collection efforts.

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Is this the original hospital or Doctor that still owns it or is it reported by the Doc or hospital as sold and zero balance? If a junk debt buyer now owns it you can fight this fairly easily. We need more info.

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First off, thank you to the three of you for posting responses. I appreciate you taking the time to try to help me.

 

Hi,

 

A couple things come to mind.  First, It's incorrect to say that you "inherited" this debt.  You signed the papers at the hospital yourself and you were of legal age, which means that legally speaking, this is your debt, always has been.  Aside from that, if you try to describe it in that fashion, I really do not think it would help your case anyways because CA's only care about one thing--money.  They dont care what happened or where the money comes from, they just care about getting paid.

 

Also, you were of legal age but a full time student.  Did your parents have health insurance at that time?  Being a full time student often means that you could still have been covered under their insurance.  I'm not sure if there's even a way to use that now, but it coudlnt hurt to look into it.

 

I can only speak from what I have seen, and of course this is not meant to be a blanket statement, but I think you will have a harder time trying to settle for delete as compared to if you offered to pay the full amount for delete.  The CA is under no obligation to settle, nor to delete, and definitely not to do both at the same time.  It might help if you posted the actual CA you are dealing with, as different debt collectors establish different patterns of what they will and will not do.  Someone here may have dealt with this same CA before and can help you with insight on what worked and what did not for them.

 

bassplayr, I appreciate your reply but to start things off, I honestly do not need a lecture on whose debt this is and why it technically isn't inherited. I used inherited for lack of a better term, and also wanted to use it in this context as I was considering using it in a letter sent to the CA, but realize that this may not be the best method to do so. Lastly, due to me being a full-time student and not working, and also being of legal age and having to sign all of the documents myself, I did take a sign and take on the responsibility of repayment, but my parents told me I did not have to worry about it. I am taking ownership of this debt now, and am just trying to do what is best for myself.

 

We did not have health insurance at the time, so my parents were paying out of pocket for my medical bills/surgery. Also, I could pay-in-full for delete, but I have been told this is typically above and beyond what is necessary to be able to have a CA remove the debt as they have bought the original debt for pennies on the dollar.

 

All-in-all, I don't mean to come off as snobby, but hope you understand where I am coming from.

Medical debts are prime for pay for delete.  I would send a letter stating "I found this on my CR and realized it is a debt my parents should have paid when I was a full time student.  I do not wish to drag this out and would like to offer to pay this in exchange for deleting the trade line from my credit reports as settlement in full" etc.

 

If you did use insurance then they cannot discount the amount it is illegal rebating.  If you had it and did not use it it is way too late to file a claim now there is a one year time limit to submit them and while you could file it, it would be denied.   If there was no insurance and you paid out of pocket you make a settlement offer on the balance and they will either accept or reject it and you can keep negotiating.

 

I have settled debts this way and I enclose 2 signed copies of my proposed settlement agreement indicating if an authorized representative signs and returns one I will pay by money order within 14 business days of receiving it and they will delete the lines within 14 days of being paid.  3 companies settled this way and that was 2 years ago with no re-insertion of the trade line or further collection efforts.

 

Hi Clydesmom, I think I will go along with something like you had mentioned as I feel that is the best plan of attack, at least at this point in time. The debt has been uncollected for four years now, by the same agency, so an offer for 20-25% of the debt should hopefully work.

 

We did not have insurance at the time, so a pay for delete at a discounted price should hopefully work. I hope I can have the same success as you have had in the past. One thing I do want to ask though, is that you have said there has been no re-insertion of the trade-line. Does that mean they can actually try to re-collect on the leftover balance after an agreement for pay-for-delete has been agreed upon and finished?

 

Thanks again for your time!

Is this the original hospital or Doctor that still owns it or is it reported by the Doc or hospital as sold and zero balance? If a junk debt buyer now owns it you can fight this fairly easily. We need more info.

 

Hi Credit,

 

This is definitely owned by a CA, the specific name being California Accounts Services, linked here: http://www.californiaaccountsservice.com/

 

Says original creditor is: SD OP Surgery Center LP

Open: April 2011

Last reported: Jan 2011

 

Anything else?

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Before agreeing to send any money, I would try to simply send the CRAs a dispute letter.  If it comes back "verified", I would then send a MOV letter - asking for the method used to verify this account and for the name and address of the person who verified.  Usually, this results in a simple form letter being sent to me that is a generic explination on how disputes are handled. However, when I check my reports again after their generic MOV response, I usually find the TL has vanished from my reports.

 

If this 2-step dispute and MOV does not get it removed, THEN I would attempt a PFD route.

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Churchie,

 

First of all, you really should slow your roll, there.  No one was giving you a lecture.  The simple truth is this--we do not know you from Adam.  I have NO way to know what your current level of knowledge is concerning these matters, aside from the written words in your post.  The only way we can be helpful here is to go off of what you post and not make assumptions that you might know more than your post indicates.  I'm sorry if that seems to rub you the wrong way, but believe me, I don't need a lecture from you about how I should not "lecture" you.  I simply went off of what you posted.  What else should I have relied upon? 

 

Had you done more than get offended for no reason, you would have seen the primary reason for that comment was to say that describing it in that fashion will be of little help to your goal.  That's it.  nothing more.  No reason to be hurt about it.

 

I fail to see where anyone here, myself included, criticized you in any way, so please, do yourself a favor.  When you come into a forum next time, asking for help, dont snap at the hands that offer it to you.  You will find a LOT more willing help that way. 

 

Welcome to the forum, and best of luck to you in your situation. 

 

Well, I apologize for coming off that way. It did read snobby I guess and I don't really have an excuse for it outside of just saying this whole situation blows and I am sick of having to think about it.

 

Also, chances are good that the CA you mentioned does not own this debt after all.  From the website you linked:

 

 

  You broke your hand in 2010.  This was reported to the CRAs in January 2011.  At that point, it's a good bet that the original creditor still owned it and farmed it out to these guys to try to collect.  Medical debt is funny, sometimes the providers sell the debts early.  Other times, other providers can hold onto ownership of that debt for a long time.  But I think youre going to find that if you contact that CA, they will likely tell you that they no longer have it.  Think about it....they reported to the bureau exactly one time--in January 2011.  No activity since then.  Everything on their website shows that they are not a debt buyer, but a collector for their "clients" instead.  Their website is a giant sales pitch.  These guys most likely do not own your debt.

 

If that is the case, would you say the best bet would be following what fist recommended then, right? To send a dispute letter to the CRAs to make sure it is accurate and then follow up with an MOV?

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If your main objective is to clear the credit report, then yes, you can dispute with the CRAs and go from there.  If the debt is no longer being serviced by this debt collector, and I would think it's not after all this time, then they would most likely not even respond to a CRA dispute.  Not sure if you know how that works or not, or at least, how it's supposed to work, but here's the short version.

 

1--you dispute the entry with the credit bureau.

2--CRA sends a notice to the creditor that's reporting, asking them to verify information.

3--creditor verifies to the CRA

4--CRA then reports to you that the debt has been verified, and will remain on report.

 

OR-

 

3--creditor either does not respond to the CRA within 30 days or responds directing the removal of the account.

4--CRA removes said entry and reports its removal to you.

 

The only other thing that could happen here is if you dispute and the creditor verifies that it's a legit entry, but then they update the numbers or make some other change, but the debt is still reported on your reports.

 

 

Thank you for the response.The part I bolded in the quote is what worries me the most. I would like to do almost whatever it takes to get it off, but if I send a dispute letter, it comes back verified and then the creditor updates the collection on my report, won't that reset the 7 years?

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Nothing you do can reset the 7-year reporting period.  That period started in 2010 when the inital bill was due.  That date of default can not change.

 

I will tell you that I, personally, have had a 100% success rate using the Dispute + MOV method on removing old medical collections.

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This is not always the case. If the account has been closed, then yes, that's right.

But what about an account that is delinquent but still open? If the consumer cures the delinquency, then absolutely the credit reporting period will change. If the account is still open, and you cure the delinquency, then you would be current....and the next time the account becomes delinquent, then a brand new 7 year clock would start ticking. If you pay a month past due, for example, for a year or two on a mortgage, the SOL starts when you first became late. Then, you pay that balance off...that ends the clock for that particular delinquency.

This is only true for a credit card account that remained open after collections were started (an extremely rare case). For anything else, such as OP's medical collections, if the default is cured that means the past due bill is paid and no longer will be collected on. A new default can not occur on a paid bill.

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Oh ok, that's great to hear that it will not reset anything. That has always been in the back of my mind but it is good to not have to worry about now.

 

I am probably not searching for the right thing, but do either of you have a link to a sample validation letter to send to credit agencies? Only examples I could find were to the CA or creditor themselves. Also, because the collection is reported on multiple credit reports, do I need to file a dispute with all agencies or just one of them (Equifax or TransUnion)?

 

Sorry for my complete ignorance and thanks again for all of your help.

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It does not have to be formal or complicated.  Just send a letter that says "I am disputing collection account #XXX on my credit report because it is not my account" - or whatever the reason for the dispute might be.  Include the file number from your credit report. I usually send a copy of my ID too because they usually come back and ask for verification of my identity, so I like to head that off.  I will add a second line that says "I have attached a copy of my driver's license for ID verification".

 

You need to send the dispute to each of the agencies that are reporting the collection account.  If it is on all 3, send a letter to all 3.  I send mine certified mail with return recipt requested for legal proof that I have disputed this account.  I do the same thing if I send an MOV letter too.

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So the collection is only on showing on my Equifax and TransUnion reports. Both companies have online dispute capabilities. Is it recommended that I use those instead of mailing? Won't it make the verification process faster, at least with the CRAs being able to let me know the status of the dispute faster.

 

Also, if I use the online dispute method, and they come back validated, would I be able to follow up with an MOV still?

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So the collection is only on showing on my Equifax and TransUnion reports. Both companies have online dispute capabilities. Is it recommended that I use those instead of mailing? Won't it make the verification process faster, at least with the CRAs being able to let me know the status of the dispute faster.

 

Also, if I use the online dispute method, and they come back validated, would I be able to follow up with an MOV still?

 

 

If you dispute online, they CRAs have 45 days to complete the investigation versus the 30 days they have if you mail the dispute.  Also by mailing CMRRR you have solid evidence that will hold up in court should you ever need to prove that you did, in fact, dispute this account.

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