Collections on your credit report can significantly damage your account history and last for up to 7 years. When you owe a debt that you’ve gone delinquent on, it is sold to a collections company that continues the debt. They will keep attempting to collect on this debt and update credit bureau agencies every time you fail to make a payment on your debt. Even if you settle the collections debt or get back into good standing, the collection will remain on your report and prevent any change for several years later. One approach is to negotiate a pay-for-delete agreement, where you pay a fraction of what you owe to get the collection removed from your account. However, there are three other methods you can try without paying anything.
Good Will Letter
You can request a goodwill deletion, but this is if only you have paid your debt or been consistent with on-time payments. To do this, you have to mail the collection agency a goodwill letter to inform them of your situation and why they should remove the collection from your credit report. You can let them know you are trying to purchase a house or another important matter that impacts your family without going into too much detail. This is a polite way to apologize and ask the debt collector to remove the collections from your credit record out of good will. This is helpful because more modern scoring methods used by FICO and VantageScore don’t seem to acknowledge when collections are paid.
Dispute the Collections
If the goodwill letter doesn’t work, you can try a more aggressive approach. You can dispute the collection on your account instead. You will need to request a free copy of your credit report from Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. After receiving your credit reports, go through each one and circle any items you deem inaccurate. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires credit bureaus to provide you with an accurate credit report.
When you discover errors, you dispute it by sending the credit bureaus a letter stating how each item was inaccurate and demanding them to verify the proof. While you only have access to information in the credit bureau agency database, they will use what information is available. You should mention how each item on your account you believe to be inaccurate should be removed. The collection agency may simply remove all of them if they aren’t able to verify any of the information. However, if the collections agency sends information verifying it is accurate, it will remain on your report.
You should check for the following inaccuracies on all your collection entries:
- Account balance
- Delinquincy date
- Credit limit
- Payment history
- Account status
- Payment status
- Date opened or closed
- Account number
Request Debt Validation
When you can’t find any inaccuracies in your credit report, there is another approach you can try. You can instead write to the collection agency and demand that they validate your debt. This is because The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act gives you the right to obligate collection agencies to validate debts they are trying to collect under section 809. This has to be done within the first 30 days from the date that the collection agency has contacted you. If they are unable to validate the debt, then it can be removed from your credit report.
What if I Need Help?
If you are unable to do these items on your own or don’t have time, you can consider hiring a professional to perform this service for you. Professional credit repair companies can restore your credit store within a few months, and they have the education and experience. They can look for inaccurate items and point out dates, times, balances that don’t match your personal or bank account records. This way, anything you missed that was inaccurate can get disputed, vastly improving your credit score.
Need Help With Removing a Collection Off Your Credit Report?
The three methods of removing collections off of your report for free are a great way to start improving the health of your credit history. The goodwill letter is ultimately up to the decision of the collections agency. When that doesn’t work, disputing it will be the next step. If there is no way to validate the disputed items, the credit bureau agency has no other decision but to remove the incorrect item. Lastly, applying the debt validation method will force the collection agency to investigate your debt and verify it internally. You can also work with reliable professionals to perform these tasks and so much more. They can help you overcome terrible credit much more quickly than waiting seven years for collections to drop off your record. Call My Credit Repair Clinic for a consultation.