Should charge-offs be disputed or left alone to drop off

clock ticking on charge-off

clock ticking on charge-offQuestion: I was laid off in 2008 and got behind on my credit card bills. When I started working again they told me I had to have it paid off the balance in 1-3 payment or they would do a charge off.

Of course I didn’t have that kind of money so they got charged off. Most of them were charged off in April 2009. Some were a little later.

I just looked at my credit score and it is a mile long. The companies sold my debt so many times. The ones that were sold are new; they have a 2011 date through the third party. They all say that they are closed but most all of them have a balance due and a past due balance. Can I do anything or should I just let the time run out. I’m still not in a position to pay the debt off.

Answer: I cannot advise whether or not you should attempt to repair your credit. Only you can make that decision. The advice I can offer is as follows:

Research
Do your research regarding credit repair, familiarize yourself with the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act.

Once you are familiar with these topics you will be in a better position to make a decision as to attempt credit repair. When you have many items to repair it can be daunting; however the rewards of credit repair can be priceless. You should note unpaid debt does not go away. It is perfectly legal for an unpaid closed account to have a balance unless that account was sold to a collection agency. In that case, the balance should be $0.

Duplicate Reporting
It is not legal for more than one collection agency to report the same debt on your credit reports. That is duplicate reporting. A negative account such as a charge-off can appear on your credit report twice, once with the original creditor reporting the charge-off and once with the current collection agency that purchased the debt.

Once the debt is sold to another collection agency, the previous collection agency should no longer be reporting the account.

Dispute Duplicate Charge-off Accounts
You can dispute duplicate collection accounts and request they be deleted. The following strategy sometimes works with good results:

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 debt. At the very least you will have one collection account removed.

Date of Last Activity
When disputing old charge-offs and even collection accounts you always run the risk of the date of last activity being updated to a more recent date. This could hurt your credit score.

Statute of Limitations
Should you decide to engage in the dispute process, check your state’s statute of limitations. If your debt is within the statute of limitations, you can be sued for the debt.

The website is full of information that may help you. It just takes time to read and go through the information that may apply to your situation. A good place to start is “How to Repair Your Credit.” It is an overview of credit repair and may give you a better understanding of the process. How to Dispute Negative Credit is another good place to start.

Credit repair can be a bit overwhelming and time-consuming, but well worth it if the results are successful. The best of luck to you.

 

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