Having a collection on your credit report can really hurt your credit score. Even though a collection will hurt you less as it gets older, the entry will remain on your credit report for seven years.
That being said, you don’t have to be afraid of a collection or having to deal with the collection agency. If you have recently reviewed your credit reports only to discover your delinquent accounts have been sold to a collection company, fear not. In actuality, collections are one of the easiest items to repair on your credit report.
Generally speaking, collection agencies keep poor records and are not actually authorized or licensed to collect on the debt. As a result of the shaky status of collection accounts, there are many techniques you can use to attack the collection agency and eventually get that collection record off your credit report. Here are the top five techniques we recommend.
Pay for the Collection to be Deleted
This situation is best for small collection amounts, $500 or less, like medical collections or utility bills. You get the collection agency to agree to remove the listing from your credit report if you pay the total debt amount. This is a very successful technique. To learn how to use this technique, read our article Use the Pay for Delete Method for Removing Collections.
Settle the Debt
This technique is much like the pay for delete method, except this method deals with collection amounts that are over $1,000. This method involves more negotiating with the collections agency to reduce the amount of the debt to an amount that you will be able to pay in one lump sum. Like the pay for delete method, as part of the settlement agreement, you get the collection agency to agree to remove the listing from your credit report. To read up on the expanded version of this technique, read our article covering settling your debts.
Use Debt Validation
This method involves leveraging the protections of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to force the collection agency to provide documentation that the debt is valid. It’s one of the more aggressive techniques against the collection agency. It involves writing a letter to the collection agency, but if the collection agency is nonresponsive, it requires the threat of filing a lawsuit. To get more information on this technique, read our article which discusses the debt validation method.
623 Dispute with the Original Creditor
This method involves leveraging the protections of section 623 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which allows consumers to dispute a negative listing directly with the company reporting it on your credit report. The consumer merely requests an investigation of the account and is required by law to respond within 30 days. In order to use this technique, you must have first disputed the negative information on your credit report with the credit bureaus. This is actually a very effective technique, especially since the collection agencies will not have any documentation to back up their reporting. To read up on the expanded version of this technique, read our article about disputing listing with the original creditor.
Dispute with the Credit Bureaus
This method is the basic credit repair technique of writing letters to the credit bureaus to request an investigation of a collection on your credit report. It’s basic credit repair 101. To read up on the expanded version of this technique, check out our credit repair articles.
Now you have five methods to use when trying to remove a collection from your credit report. Remember that anything a credit repair company can do for you, you can do for free.