A charged off account remains on your credit report 7.5 years from the original delinquency date that led to the charge off. If the account was sent to a collection agency, that collection agency may also report the account on your credit reports. But after 7.5 years both the original charge-off account and the collection account must be deleted from credit reports.
Collection agencies, no matter when they get your account, cannot re-start the deletion date. Creditors or collection agencies cannot re-start the deletion time period unless they have re-aged an account which could be a violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
QUESTION. I know for a fact its been over 7.5 years that I had a cell phone bill put on my credit report back in 2002 and its still on there due to re-aging. What should I say and do to take care of this matter. Thanks in advance.
There are several options to dispute but I would start with the following:
1. Immediately dispute the debt with the credit bureaus. If it is on all three credit bureaus — Experian, Transunion and Equifax you will have to dispute it with each one. A simple dispute letter could say something like:
This debt is outdated but it appears it has been illegally re-aged. The FCRA Compliance Date has passed, please delete this debt from my credit report immediately.
The credit bureau must then either reinvestigate the dispute or remove the negative information about the old debt from your credit report.
2. Dispute directly with the “furnisher of information.” If the debt is verified as accurate by the original creditor or collecting agency (whoever is reporting the debt to the credit bureaus), you can dispute directly with them. A simple dispute letter could say something like:
You have illegally re-aged this debt and reporting it on my credit reports. The debt is outdated and the FCRA Compliance Date has passed. Please delete this debt immediately.
Once the collection agency or original creditor receives your written dispute, it is required to investigate the dispute and notify the credit bureaus of your dispute. It must send corrected information to the credit bureaus and request that the credit bureaus delete the incorrect negative information.
3. Start making complaints. Dispute with the credit bureaus first, they may delete the account. If that does not occur, dispute with the original creditor or collection agency. If that does not work then start making complaints.
Start with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. They take complaints seriously and will investigate on your behalf. Usually this works. You probably will not have to do anything else. Make complaints here.
Good luck to you!