Can a collection agency for an apartment lease re-age outstanding debt

QUESTION: 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.

ANSWER: 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 take steps to remedy that violation.