How to Dispute Duplicate Collection Accounts on Credit Reports

Dispute Duplicate Collection Accounts on Credit Reports

Dispute Duplicate Collection Accounts on Credit ReportsQuestion: I have 4 collection accounts (each duplicated 3 times – once in open accounts, once in neg. accounts and once more in closed accounts of my Equifax 3-in-1).

They all state open or installment which I will dispute – but first, all of these collection accounts list the original creditor in the comments section but on my credit reports there is no record from each of these OCs (Bally Total Fitness (2xs), Sprint, Bright House Networks). What does that mean?

Do I have something going for me here, or does the OC not have to report at the same time the collection accounts are reported? If so, how would I compare? and if I do indeed dispute this, if it is correct, it’s probably possible for the original creditor to suddenly appear… Then it would be worse? I don’t know. All debts are $1500 or less and are reported as opened within the last three years. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Answer: First, I would not go alerting the original creditor they are not reporting a charge-off. Do not help them further lower your credit score. But there is always a risk the original creditor can show up at any time. Knowing this, if you want to go forward you should concentrate your efforts with collection agencies that purchased the debt and the credit reporting agencies.

Duplicate Collection Listings. In the article “What to know before disputing a collection account” I talk about duplicate accounts. Bad debt such as charge-offs can be sold repeatedly from one debt collector to another. Many times a debt collector has resold a debt but neglected to delete it from your credit report.

One strategy you can try is to dispute the most recent collection account first as a duplicate account. Wait to see if it is removed. If the most recent collection account is deleted from your credit report, dispute the older account as not your account.

Many times older collections are not verified because the collection agency: (a) has no record of the account ; (b) the account has been sold to another collection agency; (c) in some instances, the collection agency no longer exists.

Whatever the outcome, there should only be one collection agency attempting to collect a bad debt. At the very least you will have one collection account removed.

Another possible dispute is charge-off accounts should not be open accounts. Dispute based upon the “open account” error and request a deletion. You do not want negative information corrected so always request a deletion of the entire entry.

Debt Validation. Another strategy would be to deal directly with the debt collectors reporting on your credit report. Request debt validation from the collection agencies. Read the article: “What is Debt Validation” which will explain how the process works. Many times debt collectors purchase junk debt without any supporting documentation. If they cannot prove you owe the debt they are not supposed to report unvalidated debt on your credit reports.

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie. Be mindful when you dispute charged-off debt and collection agency debt that is still under the statute of limitations. If the statute of limitation has not passed, you can be sued for the unpaid debt. Your state’s statute of limitations determines how long you can sued for a debt.

After the statute of limitations has passed, the debt really becomes uncollectible, meaning it is solely up to you if you want to pay the debt. The legal system cannot make you pay the debt after statute of limitations has run. Good luck to you.


2 thoughts on “How to Dispute Duplicate Collection Accounts on Credit Reports”

  1. Hi Lisa,
    I hate to admit that I haven’t been very good about monitoring my credit over the years and recently found an Open Collection of $75 on my report dating back to September 2010. It is a medical related co-payment to a hospital we routinely deal with so it is probably accurate. Considering the age of the Collection how should I react? Morally I want to make the payment but at the same time I’m concerned about how to approach the collection agency. Should I dispute the payment and hope that considering the age and amount they will just blow it off, or should I offer to pay the debt and ask that they agree to remove it from my report. Any advise will be greatly appreciated.

    1. Quite frankly, a medical debt of $75 from 2010 is probably not hurting your credit scores too much, if at all. The best thing to do is to be patient (it will fall off soon) and continue good credit habits, like paying your other bills on time and keeping your credit card balances low.

      However if you just want it off your credit reports then dispute it, the collection agency may not verify and the account will be deleted. But if they do verify then a pay for delete offer would be in order. But don’t be surprised if the collection agency tacks on little extra in fees to delete the item. It would still be worth it to get the negative deleted.

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