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Steps to take if an account has been Re-Aged

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Re-aging is a very serious violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.  Re-aging credit accounts causes older negative accounts to look more recent which can ruin your credit score.

Do not ignore any evidence of account re-aging.

Both the original creditor or a debt collector cannot re-age a negative account. No matter how many times a delinquent account is transferred or sold from one debt collector to another, the date of first delinquency should not change. The DOFD (date of first delinquency) determines how long a negative account can remain on your credit reports. The “DOFD” is the date an account became 30 days late and no other payments were made.

A negative credit item, such as a charge-off can remain on your credit report for 7 years from the date of first delinquency. Any collection agency that may end up with the charged-off account must comply with that same date.

Section 623(5)(A) says: “In general. A person who furnishes information to a consumer reporting agency regarding a delinquent account being placed for collection, charged to profit or loss, or subjected to any similar action shall, not later than 90 days after furnishing the information, notify the agency of the date of delinquency on the account, which shall be the month and year of the commencement of the delinquency on the account that immediately preceded the action.”

This means that if a debt collector reports a date of first delinquency to the credit bureaus and the original creditor previously reported it, the dates must be the same date of first delinquency. Any different date constitutes illegal re-aging.

A debt collector re-aging an account can cause serious damage to your credit files. Re-aging would allow a collection account to remain on your credit reports in-perpetuity. Take the following steps if you believe you are a victim of re-aging.

Step One

Request documentation from the credit reporting agencies if you believe an account has been re-aged. This will not be a dispute letter. It is a letter requesting your consumer disclosure file which contains a comprehensive history of your credit information under FCRA Section 609(a)(1). This section says all information in a consumer’s file must be disclosed to the consumer at the time of the request, this would include the first date of delinquency. Your consumer disclosure file is not the same as your credit report.

Example: I am inquiring about [account name] and [account number]. Please provide my consumer disclosure file under FCRA Section 609(a)(1) and provide me with the date of first delinquency, the FCRA compliance date and the name of the party who reported the date of first delinquency.

[Note: Be sure to accompany your letter with the required processing fee, which is currently $11.50.].

Step Two

Once you receive confirmation of the date of first delinquency (DOFD) check the dates of the original creditor (charged-off account) and the collection account associated with that debt. The collection account must match the DOFD of the original creditor. If the dates do not match, and the collection agency shows a more recent date, re-aging has occurred.

Step Three

Dispute the collection account. Example: I am disputing the [collection agency name] and [account number]. The collection agency has re-aged this account according to the original creditor’s date of first delinquency. Please delete this account immediately. (You may include in the letter supporting documentation if you received the correct DOFD from the credit reporting agencies in Step 1).

[Note: Never ask for a correction of a negative account, your goal is to get any and all negative information deleted].

Step Four

Remember, if you have a collection account on your credit reports and it has been a while since the collection agency has contacted you about the debt, disputing the debt may renew the collection agencies’ efforts to collect the debt. Perhaps this is not a concern however, if it is a concern, check your state’s statute of limitations on the debt. If the statute of limitations has expired, you cannot be legally sued for the debt.

Step Five

Report re-aging to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as this is a serious offense under the FCRA. In 2004, the Federal Trade Commission fined NCO Group $1.5 million for account re-aging. You should also report re-aging to your State’s Attorney General. In addition to making a big stink and creating a paper-trail in case you have to file a lawsuit, reporting these violations alerts the proper regulating authorities and causes them to act. They will not know about the illegal practices of debt collectors unless you inform them. Your tax dollars go into running these agencies so utilize them.

Step Six

Report the collection agency and the credit bureau to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). But make sure you have first filed a dispute with the credit bureau before making a complaint. According to the CFPB there are important consumer rights guaranteed by federal consumer financial law that may be best preserved by first going through the credit reporting company’s complaint process. Once that process is complete, if you are not satisfied with the resolution or if the credit bureau does not respond, the CFPB is available to assist.

Step Seven

Take legal action if your dispute efforts have not resolved the matter. You have several alternatives in taking legal action. You may be able to sue the collection agency for violating the FDCPA and the FCRA. You can definitely sue the credit reporting agency for violating the FCRA. Should you wish to hire an attorney, www.naca.net has many referrals to consumer attorneys who handle FCRA and FDCPA violations.

25 Comments

25 Comments

  1. Vincent P

    February 9, 2017 at 6:50 pm

    Hi Lisa,
    I have 2 collection accounts with Portfolio Recovery that state original creditor was GE Capital Retail Bank, which was then taken over by Synchrony Bank. Portfolio Recovery shows GE Bank as collections while SyncB/SamsCLUB & SyncB/Walmart show as the original creditors as these account numbers match the Portfolio account numbers, but the monetary numbers don’t exactly match and neither do the DOFD as it is very difficult to tell exactly when the DOFD is listed on the collection account. The original creditors have May 2010 and June 2010 as the DOFD so the statute of limitations to collect is over and it is very close to being off my credit report. However, something about the collection agency’s info seems off. Please help me out with this as I am trying to repair my credit from a long time ago when I was going through some hard times. How exactly do I find out the DOFD that the Collection agency has and then how would I dispute it as GE Bank was taken over by Synchrony Bank so it actually looks as if it is not the same original account? It seems like it would be really difficult to explain in a letter to a CRA. Thank you in advance for any help and specific guidance you can offer me to solve this problem.

    • Lisa Phillips

      February 17, 2017 at 10:52 am

      Since you are so close to having the accounts deleted from your credit reports, I wouldn’t do anything now except monitor your credit reports. At this point it’s February, you have approximately 3-4 months before removal. Unless Portfolio has re-aged your accounts they will come off right along with the original creditor accounts. If not, then you can call the credit bureaus directly and request they remove Portfolio as the collection accounts are obsolete and past the date of first delinquency.

      • Kat

        March 31, 2017 at 1:47 pm

        Thank you so much for all the useful information! I feel like I’m in a situation in which you’re speaking of. I’m with Credit Karma working on building my credit, it’s been doing so well the last few months, until I recently got a notification that my report change. Looks like a collection agency just reported a debt. I have no clue what this company is and where they come from, so I looked them up “Phoenix Financial Services” I called them and they ask for my name, etc. Then they proceed to tell me that in February they had received notice of a debt from a hospital in 2011–the lady said its the doctors portion of a debt. I’m honestly unsure if the debt belongs to me or not, but I let her know that I did not believe the debt to be mine, that I plan on finding out if its valid or not, and I will not make any motions toward paying it until I’m able to validate it. She asked me if this was the first time I’m hearing of this and I said clearly yes. I told her I cannot claim this debt, she asked me if I wanted to dispute it with her and I said no, I won’t dispute something that I don’t know belongs to me. It’s not mine. On Credit Karma the date thats reporting is Feb 17, 2017, but they are trying to tell me its a debt from September 2011. Does this count as them trying to re-age my debt? Did I say the right things when I spoke to them? I’m also kind of worried that speaking to them restarted something. Thank you so much! what a great article!

        • Lisa Phillips

          April 2, 2017 at 9:23 pm

          Your kind words are appreciated. And, congratulations on your rebuilding journey – it’s time-consuming but worth the effort. Speaking to the debt collector did not restart the collection period. If the debt is yours and it is from September 2011, then it would be removed from your credit reports around September 2018. I would not spend too much more time speaking to the debt collector. As I see you there are two different ways to approach this issue.

          (1) Start a paper trail by sending the debt collector a letter stating the debt is unknown to you. Basically an “unknown debt” letter does not dispute the debt because you are right, how can you dispute a debt that does not belong to you. A simple letter stating that you have no knowledge of the debt and that you request verification of the debt under the FDCPA 809(b) including the amount owed, an itemization of the principal balance and interest and the name of the original creditor along with the date the debt was incurred. Wait a few weeks to see if you get verification. If not, make a complaint with the Better Business Bureau and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – state on your complaint that the resolution be deletion of the debt from your credit reports.

          (2) Take your request for deletion directly to the credit bureaus. The best way to get debt that is not yours removed from your credit reports is to use FCRA Section 605b which says in part that “a consumer reporting agency shall block the reporting of any information in the file of a consumer that the consumer identifies as information that resulted from an alleged identity theft, not later than 4 business days after the date of receipt by such agency of— (1) appropriate proof of the identity of the consumer; (2) a copy of an identity theft report; (3) the identification of such information by the consumer; and (4) a statement by the consumer that the information is not information relating to any transaction by the consumer…” You can find the form needed to submit to the credit bureaus here.

          The best of luck to you!

  2. Desmond Mckibben

    August 24, 2016 at 7:50 am

    Hello Lisa,
    I ran across this article and had a question for you. I had an account that I believe to have been re-aged. I lost an apartment back in December 2010 and was sent to the creditors during the same month. The creditors are reporting that they received the debt in 2015. Can I fight this debt and have it removed from my credit report. Or what are your suggestions? Thank you so much for your input, it is greatly appreciated.

    • Lisa Phillips

      August 30, 2016 at 2:40 pm

      A debt can be disputed on your credit reports if there is an error being reported. However, a collection agency is required by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to send a formal collection (“dunning”) notice to a consumer within 5 days after an initial communication with the consumer. In that notice you are given the right to dispute a debt within 30 days or the debt will be assumed to be correct.

      You can still dispute the debt on your credit reports if there is inaccurate information being reported. As far as re-aging, the collection agency can report the date they received the debt (2015) BUT that does not change the date the debt is due to come off your credit reports. The removal date DOES NOT change no matter how many different collection agencies transfer or purchase the debt.

      The DOFD (date of first delinquency) determines how long a negative account can remain on your credit reports. The “DOFD” is the date an account became 30 days late and no other payments were made. It seems as though your DOFD is around December 2010. That means around December 2017 the debt should be deleted from your credit reports.

      You can check your credit reports to determine if the correct date of removal is reporting. Get your credit report from the three major credit reporting agencies. Check each credit report for the date scheduled for removal of a negative listed item.

      On the Experian report it should be a section that says “Status Details: This account is scheduled to continue on record until (date).” On the Equifax report it should be a section that says “Date of 1st Delinquency” – add 7 years to that date. On the Transunion report it should be a section that says “Estimated month and year that this item will be removed. The ORIGINAL creditor and collection agency should have approximately the same dates under those sections (sometimes there is a month or two difference).

      If the date of removal is well beyond December 2017 then re-aging has occurred and you can follow the steps above to dispute a re-aging violation.

  3. Kelly gatlin

    May 18, 2016 at 8:56 pm

    Hi I have an charge off on 1 credit report and on the 2 other credit angencys collections,on the charge off it states I was ok in 2014/2015/then charged off in 2016, I paid a credit union prior to opening a new bank account as I was moving out of state and wanted a well known bank as the credit union was just in 1 town, I remember when I went to new bank they wouldn’t open up account as I owed money to credit union, that day I paid credit union they gave me receipt to give to new bank and I was able to open up new bank. All 3 credit reporting agencies have different amounts! I call the credit union and they sent me a copy of debt but address shows they put there address to me? So anyway I haven’t dealt with this credit union since I paid them in 2009 why didn’t I get any letters in the mail? I don’t have receipt as it was given to new bank. This was paid and now with a charge off and reaging that I paid in 2014/2015 then delinquent charge off in 2016 do you think my bank has put in notes in 2008 that credit union was paid? As I had to in order to open up bank account.
    Thank you

    • Lisa Phillips

      May 20, 2016 at 12:44 pm

      First on each of your credit reports you should ascertain the date of first delinquency which will tell you when to start the 7.5 year countdown to the deletion date. Some credit reports even tell you when the account is due to drop-off your credit reports. This would give you an idea of whether the account has been re-aged.

      You should also contact the credit union to request a letter showing the correct amount paid along with the date the debt was paid. Once you have that information you can dispute the dates/amounts with the credit bureaus if re-aging has actually occurred. You can include the documentation from the credit union as proof.

      An alternate route would be to dispute the charge-off dates and amounts directly with the credit union under the direct dispute rule. The credit union must respond within 30 days to the dispute just like the credit bureaus. If the credit union does not respond within 30 days they must delete the charge-off from your credit reports.

      Sometimes a collection agency will receive a debt much later than the actual charge-off date. In that case they will use the dates they received the charge-off but that still does not change the date the debt is due to drop-off your credit reports. Again, you need to get your credit reports directly from each credit bureau to see what is says. If the collection agency is reporting the debt that has been paid then you can dispute it with the credit bureaus as “collector does not have collection authority.”

      Once you get proof of payment from the credit union you can dispute the collection agency reporting to ask for a deletion because the debt was paid.

  4. JMS

    May 17, 2016 at 11:08 pm

    Hi Lisa!
    I am so glad I came across your articles, so informative and helpful!
    I have just a quick question on the DOFD. So frustrating it is just a small $85
    final bill from Comcast I thought I had paid. I received a collection letter from ERC
    Two years later. I was going through some medical issues, so just paid it without
    verifying as I just didn’t want to deal with it! I realize now it was a mistake.
    They reported it almost a year later to all 3 of the credit bureaus. It does show as
    paid, but different DOFD’s on them, none which are correct. Comcast did not report it,
    but luckily due to my records hoarding habit, I found the final bill from Comcast.
    Can this be used to prove the DOFD, and how long after that due date is considered
    The correct date?
    Thank you!

    • Lisa Phillips

      May 25, 2016 at 11:55 am

      Hmmm, your situation is a little tricky. The various dates being reported may be due to the original creditor (Comcast) never reporting the DOFD to the credit bureaus since they are not reporting on your credit files. If this is the case the collection agency should have obtained the DOFD from the original creditor. In some instances if the collection agency cannot obtain the DOFD from the original creditor, they are allowed to “guestimate” the DOFD as long as they do not choose a date that is later than the date they acquired the debt.

      Since you do keep good records (hoarding some things can be beneficial!) you can dispute the DOFD with the credit bureaus. They are required to report factual information and clearly the debt collector is not reporting factual information. The debt collector may be reporting dates they acquired the account in place of the accurate DOFD.

  5. nicolle E

    October 21, 2015 at 5:12 pm

    Hello, Ms Phillips
    I received my credit report recently from transunion and discover that my new mortgage lender waited 14 months to report late payments from the previous lender who transferred and closed my account. In addition my previous lender reported that I was 2 times late in January 2012 for (120) days The new lender received the account in January, 2012, but waited until March 2013 to report me 2 times late at (180) days late instead of 120 days. My question is this re aging my account. Also is this legal to falsify the number of days late in my credit file. The mortgage lender refuse to make the corrections. I have disputed it twice with transunion. What can I do next to have this file deleted or changed on my credit report.

    • Lisa Phillips

      October 21, 2015 at 9:40 pm

      The new mortgage company can report payment information that occurred with the previous mortgage company. It is part of your credit history. Re-aging takes place when the date of first delinquency (DOFD) is changed. If the DOFD changes it would extend how long the negative listing will remain on your credit reports. Check your credit reports to see if they reflect a NEW date that the negative listing is to be deleted, if so, then re-aging has occurred.

      As far as changing the number of days late, I suggest you make a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. It is a good that you have already disputed the inaccurate information because the CFPB will want to know what you have done to attempt resolution of the matter. Now you can relate to them that mortgage company and Transunion refuse to delete inaccurate information. As a resolution ask for a deletion of the negative listing. They are not obligated to delete but it does not hurt to ask. Changing negative information to like 180 days late to 120 days late probably won’t make much difference in your credit scores but if the entire negative listing is deleted, that will for sure improve your scores.

      Submit a complaint about your mortgage company here.

  6. David Robinson

    October 5, 2015 at 7:38 am

    Hi Lisa, Thanks for the info! Quick question, I have a private student loan that was sent to collections in 2009 and was closed and scheduled to fall off my report next yr The DOFD was December 2009 . A new collection agency is now reporting the debt and is saying the DOFD was earlier this yr in March and falloff date is 2021. Is this an example of re-aging? I have had no contact with this new agency, no calls or dunning letters. Is there anything I can do about this?

    • Lisa Phillips

      October 5, 2015 at 8:03 pm

      If you do not already have a copy of a credit report which shows the DOFD as December 2009 and a deletion date of 2016, then you need to start at Step One in the article above. If you have a copy of a credit report showing the correct DOFD then start at Step Two in the article above. It seems clear that re-aging has occurred. You have a good case for deletion of the new collection agency from your credit reports. You may want to seek the assistance of an attorney for violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

      • David Robinson

        October 12, 2015 at 4:26 pm

        Thanks for the info, how do I go about finding a attorney and do you have any recommendations.

        • Lisa Phillips

          October 13, 2015 at 11:05 pm

          NACA.net has a listing of consumer law attorneys by State. You can research their areas of practice. I don’t have any particular recommendations but do suggest you find one with knowledge in the areas of Credit Reports, the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

  7. Sam

    September 19, 2015 at 10:16 pm

    Hello Lisa,
    I just came across this and was wondering if you could help me understand issue about missing DOFD. I just got a dunning notice from Midland and they said I have till 10/11/2015 to pay off discounted price. But that letter doesn’t have any DOFD. I am sure after 10/11/2015 they will put it on my CR. I am not sure what the DOFD is for that item but it should be somewhere in early part of 2010. I checked SOL and it is 6 years so if they don’t put the right date on reports, should I wait till it is past SOL and then ask them to verify the date? When my payments stopped (whole another story on why but thats not important at this point), I didn’t get any reports and just want to leave my credit alone for a long time but of course at one point I needed cards so I started the process in the hopes that I don’t wake any sleeping monsters.

    On a similar point SouthWest Credit Systems is reporting only on EX and their estimated removal date is 2020 which is based on date they have, which is 2013. But this is completely wrong as I didn’t have Comcast at that point. So should I call EX and ask them to send me DOFD documentation for it? How do I proceed? I may have to use the same procedure for other item which will start reporting in Oct.

    • Lisa Phillips

      September 21, 2015 at 1:26 am

      It really does not matter if you request the DOFD from the credit bureaus now or at a later date. The DOFD should already be in your consumer disclosure files based on the original creditor’s reporting, not the collection agency. Trust me, Midland already knows the time line for the SOL under which you can be sued for the debt. Requesting the correct DOFD from the credit bureaus is not going to keep you under the radar for Midland filing a lawsuit. In fact as you stated Midland is currently not reporting so requesting the accurate DOFD of a charged-off account from the original creditor is not going to come from Midland anyway. The credit bureaus should already have that information from the original creditor.

      In order to get the correct date of first delinquency follow Step No. One in the above article. The consumer disclosure file should tell you the correct DOFD. If you do not agree with the DOFD then you can dispute the date with either the credit bureaus or directly with the original creditor.

  8. Debbie

    August 25, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    Hello Lisa, I recently filed a dispute of obsolete to request if the negative could off early on a paid account with a 90 day late that would be turning positive in December 2015 making it 7 years on record. The 60 days of that 90 was in December 2008. They came back with results about a week later and updated denying the early removal but pushed up the dofd of 60 days to January 2009 making the 90 day appear on February 2009.

    I have Credit Reports back to 2013 and all have December 2008 as the dofd. This is with Experian as Transunion and Equifax remained at the same original dofd after dispute with them. It did not change. I didn’t have a problem with Experian not changing the negative to positive early but i definitely did with them pushing the dofd up one month.

    I subscribe to their monitering service and have since March 2014 and have downloaded all the Archived Reports since that time and they have always reflected the December 2008 dofd until the dispute. They changed all the Archived reports to reflect the changed doff they made. I still have all the reports intact with the file numbers on them with the original doff before the dispute. I called them about it and the person speaking told me she didn’t have anything in front of her to see the change .. and then she ask if i wanted to file a dispute. I was polite the whole time and told her i would be contacting the Creditor first. I did call after that and the person i spoke to didn’t seem to have a clue .. only showed it closed. I don’t believe it was verified with the creditor at all because the dates did not change with Equifax or Transunion.

    My question is should i leave it alone considering it is only a month or pursue it? It’s the principal of the thing. Why would they do that to begin with. Is a month worth taking action. It still bothers me that they went and changed all the archived files with the new date of the dofd even though i have downloaded copies of the originals and older than that not at the monitoring service. Thank you so much for your time.

    • Lisa Phillips

      August 25, 2015 at 9:41 pm

      I don’t like that at all. Even though it’s just a month, I see no reason why it would be extended. Normally, I would say dispute it with the credit bureaus and include the previous report showing the December deletion date. But, since you have already disputed and spoken with Experian I would make a complaint directly with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau at consumerfinance.gov. Let Experian explain to them why your account was re-aged to extend the deletion date. Make sure you upload your proof (credit report showing December 2015) along with the complaint. They will probably just delete it once the CFPB gets involved.

      • Debbie

        August 27, 2015 at 5:31 pm

        Thank you Lisa for your prompt and kind reply. I will be updating you with new information in the coming week ahead as it provided to me. The Creditor did send updated information to Experian today. However what it contained they did not tell me. They did suggest i call Experian to confirm they were in receipt of the updated information. If it does not match what has been on all 4 CRA’s for almost 7 years come December 2015 then i will contact CFPB with all my documentation. I hate conflict and would like it resolved in a peaceful resolution. Will update you and thanks again. 🙂

  9. Melissa J

    July 6, 2015 at 8:42 pm

    Hello Lisa’s, I just came across your website regarding re aging of old debt. I am so confused…here is what I am dealing with, I currently have 2 different collection agencies reporting old debts on me, These are 2 different accounts, the first is an old debt from late 2003, the origiinal creditor was AT&T, when this originally transpired over a disagreement on roaming charges, I closed and shut off my cell phones with them. I have not heard nor been contacted by them or any agency including the one that is currently reporting the collection in all these years. I found both issues when I recently pulled my credit reports to check them out before I applied for a home mortgage. The agency reporting on this AT&T bill shows only a date placed for collection as 12/01/2012, it also shows it as an open account in their name with a account # I have no clue where they came up with, it doesn’t even look like an actual acct. #. The second agency is reporting an old credit card debt, both have past the SOL for Florida, which is 5 years. This second agency shows placed for collection on 11/21/2013. The amount due and original creditor. I have a previous report I pulled in 3/13 at which time the original creditor lists the date of first delinquency as 06/2008, although I find that date questionable as everything before that only has an *. I feel that both of these fall under re-aging but was told by several sources I contacted today that they can in fact use the date they took over or bought the debt. These sources include my loan processor and a girl with the state of Florida that took my call (whom by the way told me not to argue, she had worked for collections agencies for years and they can in fact do this and it will never fall off my credit reports)…she also said that I can still be sued it hey sell it again because the clock starts over yet again along with I shouldn’t believe everything I read online. Yet when I visit all the federal sites pertaining to this, all the regs say as you do, that they have to use the original creditors date of first deliquency…both told me today the date for reporting resets every time the debt is sold and purchased by another agency! I am hoping you can provide some clarification on this or at least point me in the right direction, I am overwhelmed but trying to work through it. Thanks and sorry for being so long winded!

    • Lisa Phillips

      July 7, 2015 at 8:56 pm

      Keep in mind there is a state statute of limitations in which a creditor or collection agency has a specific time limit to sue you. Then there’s a statute of limitations in which the credit bureaus can report a negative debt and that is 7 years from the date the account first went delinquent and no other payments were made. Certainly if you had an account that went delinquent in 2003 and another in June of 2008, neither account should be on any of your credit reports.

      I would not spend any more time discussing the issue with the loan processor or the state. It’s time to get to work on your end.
      First: A creditor or debt collector has a limited number of years during which it can sue you for an unpaid debt — a time period called the statute of limitations. Unless you have re-affirmed the debt the statute of limitations DOES NOT change even when debt is resold among collection agencies. Most debts, with the exception of student loans has an expiration date. This fact is not up for debate. It’s the law. Even if you were sued, the lawsuit would not get very far once you respond to it using the affirmative defense of “this debt is beyond the statute of limitations.”

      Second: It is true that each collection agency that purchases the debt can use the date it acquired the debt. But it still does not change the original creditor’s date of first delinquency and when the negative account is due to come off your credit reports. It sounds like the debt collectors have “parked” the old debt on your credit reports without notifying you. Debt buyers often don’t alert consumers that they’ve reported an old debt to the credit bureaus. The only way consumers find out about the negative listing is when applying for a new loan as in your case. They are hoping you feel pressure to pay the old debt in order to clear it from your credit report so that you can get the new credit or loan approval.

      Third: The FCRA limits the amount of time that negative information can appear on your credit report not the collection agency or the creditor. You can either: (1) Follow STEP THREE above and dispute the accounts with the credit bureaus – Make sure you include the supporting documentation of the older credit report showing the date of first delinquency as 06/2008. (Just circle that part of the report and make sure the page has a report or file number at the top); or (2) Dispute directly with the debt collectors.

      If you choose to dispute directly with the debt collector you can send a simple dispute letter that they must respond to within 30 days just like the credit bureaus. Here is a sample:

      According to FCRA 623(a)(5), the original creditor has reported the date of first delinquency on their account to the credit bureaus as June 2008. This means any debt collector reporting on this account must have the same date. If not, reporting a different date of first delinquency constitutes re-aging. As you know re-aging an account to extend the amount of time a debt remains on a credit report is a serious violation of the FCRA. Please delete this account immediately from my credit reports including but not limited to Experian, Transunion and Equifax as it is too old to be reported on my credit files.

      It will most likely be resolved but if not you need to make a complaint to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau along with the Better Business Bureau about the debt collector. Both entities are pretty good at helping consumers resolve matters like this but you must show you have tried to resolve it on your own first.

      If, after you follow one of these dispute procedures, the debt collector or credit bureau fails to comply with its obligations, you may be able to sue for violations of the FCRA. If successful, you might get actual damages, punitive damages, and attorney fees and costs. Good luck to you and keep me updated!

  10. Danielle W

    March 19, 2015 at 11:54 pm

    Hi Lisa! This is the most helpful post I’ve seen on this topic–thank you! A couple questions for you: In Step 1, are the [account name] and [account number] for the ORIGINAL creditor? And in Step 2, when checking the dates of the original creditor and the collection account, are those the Reported Date and Opened Date on the credit report, respectively? Finally, one of my credit reports is showing collection accounts as past due, but I did not think collections could be considered past due. Do you have any knowledge on that subject? Thank you again!

    • Lisa Phillips

      March 20, 2015 at 12:21 am

      Step One: I am referring to the ORIGINAL creditor. It refers to FCRA 623(a)(5), which provides that if the ORIGINAL creditor has reported to the credit bureaus a DOFD (date of first delinquency which determines how long the negative stays on your report) a debt collector must abide by the same date of removal.

      Step Two: You need to compare the dates on your reports which refer to when the negative account is scheduled to be removed. It can be confusing because the credit bureaus do not have a uniform way of reporting.

      On Experian report it should be a section that says “Status Details: This account is scheduled to continue on record until (date).” On Equifax report it should be a section that says “Date of 1st Delinquency” – add 7 years to that date. On Transunion report it should be a section that says “Estimated month and year that this item will be removed. The ORIGINAL creditor and collection agency should have approximately the same dates under those sections (sometimes there is a month or two difference).

      The DATE REPORTED for the collection account is when the account was originally reported to the credit bureaus. The DATE OPENED for the collection account is the date they acquired the debt.

      Past Due Collections: If the status of the original creditor account was past due when the collection agency acquired the account they can report that status. However, they cannot report monthly lates.

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