Steps to take if an account has been Re-Aged

re-aging-debt

Re-aging debt is when a debt’s status changes on credit reports to make it appear as a newer debt. It is illegal for debt collectors to re-age credit accounts.

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’s 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 “…every consumer reporting agency shall clearly and accurately disclose to the consumer ALL information in the consumer’s file at the time of the request.”

This means ALL information in a consumer’s file must be disclosed to the consumer which would include the first date of delinquency. Your consumer disclosure file is not the same as your credit report. You must “clearly” state the information you are requesting, for instance:

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 $12.00.].

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.

 

59 thoughts on “Steps to take if an account has been Re-Aged”

  1. Hi Lisa,
    American Express and First Premier Bank are using re aging tactics to destroy my credit score. I have written to the Credit Bureaus informing them of this. Experian, Transunion and Equifax responded quickly only to re age these dates again. They did not investigate these accounts properly. Should I write another letter to the Credit Bureaus again demanding they validate these debts and how they even validated the accounts or should I just file a complaint?

    1. At this point, you have given them ample opportunity to correct their inaccurate reporting. I would not spend any more energy directly with the credit bureaus. It’s time to start a paper trail with complaints.

  2. Hi Lisa! I found this information very helpful. I ran into an issue and I would love your guidance on how to resolve. I had three (3) student loan accounts from the same agency. Each credit bureau had different names for the agency and there was an error with the reporting.

    Since 2017, the student loan agency no longer has my account, but Equifax showed the agency still reporting lates a few times in 2019; which negatively impacted my score. After several attempts to resolve with the agency, I submitted a dispute to the credit bureaus and the agency. The agency told me they did not report it that way and added, they would send an update to the credit bureaus showing my payment history and the correct agency names.

    Big mistake! Now, my credit score reduced by 40 points. When I compared my reports, before and after the dispute, the only difference is the company name being added. Is that considering re-aging? Can you provide any tips that would help?

    1. No, that would not be considered re-aging. There may be a few reasons why your score dropped. One may pertain to the dispute itself. Once a dispute is updated by the creditor, it may change the last date of activity which can trigger negative information to look more recent. Fortunately after a few months your scores will bounce back.

      Another reason your score may have dropped is a less obvious reason – using more of your available credit. Credit utilization makes up 30% of your credit score. It measures how much of your credit are you using in relation to your total available credit. The more available credit you use, the lower your scores.

  3. Hey there, so there one account that was sold and placed in collections on my credit report, I was fully aware of it so I decided to call up the company to pay off the debt. When I contacted the company they told me there were also two other accounts that was open under my name, but those two other accounts did not appear on my credit report. The lady told me it was a debt from 1985, and another one from 2005, I told the lady that neither one of those debts were mines especially the one from 1985 because I was born in 83. I debt from 2005 used to be on my credit but has been off for sometime now. Again neither items appear on my credit but since the woman disputed it, I received a letter in the mail stating that I have 30 days to reply to both debts and if I don’t reply they will assume that the debt belongs to me. I want to write them but I’m afraid that they might try to re-age these debts and have them placed on my credit report. What should I do?

    1. You should request debt validation and state the debt does not belong to you in the letter. Once your request for debt validation is on record, the creditor cannot attempt any collection effort until they provide proof.

      Since the debt is obsolete, it cannot legally appear on your credit reports. It’s basically uncollectible and unreportable.

  4. i was taken to court in 2019, accused of not paying a judgement in 2003. I was told that i was to only tell them how much i’m willing to pay through garnishments.. The credit card company (providian) was charged back then of illegal acts and was given a guiness world book of records fine. The attorneys that sued me gave me a long list of agencies that bought this information Although, out of a $3,300 judgement on a $500 account. my job stopped, so my garnishment did. They are still owed $800.00. This was re aging an account. Can i dispute this now?

    1. DisclaimerThe information offered on this website is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.

      The statute of limitations for collecting judgments varies by state and is typically from 10 to 20 years. But keep in mind, most states allow for the renewal of the statute of limitations which means potentially, a judgment can effectively become permanent. You’ll have to check the state laws where the judgment occurred to see how long before it lapses. In some states, creditors are allowed to renew a judgment once or twice. In others, there’s no limit.

      The time to address re-aging was during the court hearing. I’m not saying that it’s too late to assert re-aging but since a court order has already been entered, you would have to request the court to re-open a judgment or file an appeal. It may be possible to have the terms of a judgment altered.

      Regarding a judgment on credit reports, typically unpaid judgments can remain on your credit reports for seven years or whatever time limit dictated by the state where the judgment was entered. However, as of July 2018, the credit bureaus exclude judgments that don’t contain complete consumer details (name, address, Social Security number and/or date of birth). This identifying information must accompany the reporting of all public records including civil judgments and updated every 90 days. Because of this requirement, most civil judgments were removed from consumer credit reports.

      The best of luck to you.
      ~Lisa

  5. I have a debt (charge off/collection) that I have not made a payment on since 2008. The collection agency is CACH LLC. However, each month it is showing on my credit report has been reported that month. It has been 10 years. I am just now learning about re-aging. This is ruining my credit score. Is this illegal? Prior to coming across your article, I recently disputed the age of the account with Transunion by doing an online dispute.

    1. If the account was charged-off in 2008, then re-aging has definitely occurred. The date of first delinquency is what determines when the tradeline should be removed from your credit reports.

      The date of first delinquency is based off the first time you missed a payment and no other payments were made which lead to the account being put in charge-off status approximately 180 days later. Typically your credit reports will display a “purge date” for negative credit items. Check to see what the purge date is for the collection account.

      I suggest you wait for the outcome of the Transunion dispute. It may be deleted and you’re work is done. If not, make a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau stating the credit reporting time limit has expired and Cash LLC has illegally re-aged the account.

      In your complaint state you want the tradeline deleted as the resolution. CFPB will contact Cash LLC on your behalf and that should take care of it.

      Good luck to you!
      ~Lisa

  6. In June of 2011 I missed my payment on defaulted rehabilitation student loan. I never made another payment after that. In September the account was reported to credit reporting agencies as 60 days late as of August 2011. This account is scheduled to be excluded from my credit reports in May of this year.

    My problem is that this same account (same open date and all other relevant info) is reporting for a 2nd time. But DOFD is now listed as March 2012.

    I have spoken with creditor (Department of Education) and rep told me that is when the account was placed with them for collection. I tried to explain that DOFD should match that information from original account but he wouldn’t budge and stated “I’m not an attorney”.

    I have disputed the accounts with DOFD listed as later date. They all came back as verified and stayed on my report. I feel like I’m fighting an uphill battle. Can you provide me advice on next steps. I’m a little overwhelmed. Thank you in advance!

    1. You’ve really done all you can do at this point. Now is the time to start making complaints. Clearly you know exactly what has gone awry but if the credit disputes only result in verified accounts, don’t waste anymore time with disputes.

      In 2017 a report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) found a 325% increase in student loan complaints so you’re not alone. Make a formal complaint to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau first. The CFPB will forward the complaint to the DOE work to get you a response, generally within 15 days.

      Make sure you lay out the complaint just as you did here in the comment section and letting them know what you expect as a resolution. They are pretty good at intervening on consumers’ behalf.

      You can also make a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education to see if you can get some different eyes on the issue other than a rep answering calls. But I would wait to see if the CFPB resolves the situation first before submitting a complaint with the DOE.

      1. Thank you so much for the information on this site and your very informative response to my post. I have filed a complaint with CFPB. I will update this post with results!

          1. I’m in a little bit of shock typing this update! I filed the CFPB complaints and all responses basically said they would investigate. Imagine my surprise when the accounts started being deleted one by one. The original account is currently the only one reporting (to transunion only) and it is listed as estimated to be removed next month. That account is accurate. Thank you again for the outstanding information provided here! My Transunion score increased 35 points and Experian 50 points! No update yet on how the deleted accounts affected Equifax score.

          2. Wow! That’s a great increase in credit scores. Congrats on the deletions and you are very welcome.

  7. Hi, I had are car that I did a voluntary roposession with. Back in 2014. I now have a new debt on my credit report opened 11 months ago after the debt was sold to a debt collection agency. Is that legal. When I filed the dispute on line I was told that it was a legal account. what can I do

    1. Unless you made an agreement with the lender to waive the deficiency plus requested the lender forgo putting the repossession on your credit report, yes it’s legal.

      The unpaid balance on a car loan can be sold to a collection agency even when you prearrange to voluntarily surrender your vehicle. There’s very little difference in how a voluntary repossession is treated as opposed to an involuntary repossession.

      Both types of repossession boil down to the same problem – you failed to pay back your auto loan according to the terms of your original agreement. The negative effects to your credit report as a result of voluntary car repossession is just as damaging.

      Voluntary repossession can remain on credit reports for 7 years

      Both the voluntary and the involuntary repossession are allowed to remain on your credit reports for the same amount of time. According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, repossessions are permitted to remain on your credit reports for up to 7 years.

      Voluntarily surrendering your car does not prevent you from being pursued for any unpaid deficiency balance caused by surrendering your car. Surrendering your vehicle and repossession are fundamentally the same thing in financial terms. 

      Process in a voluntary repossession

      Once you voluntarily surrender your car to a lender, they will begin the process to sell it at auction. After the car is sold at auction the lender will take the amount they received and subtract the cost of the auction, administrative and storage fees. The remaining balance after those costs are covered is the net amount which gets applied toward the remainder of your car loan.

      Any difference between what you owe on your car loan (plus certain expenses) and what your creditor gets for reselling the vehicle is called a “deficiency.” You’re on the hook for any deficiency balance. The lender can legally sell or transfer the deficiency balance to a collection agency.

      The collection agency has the authority to pursue you for the debt which includes placing the debt on your credit reports. If the collection agency fails in getting you to pay, they may pursue legal action if the debt is within the statute of limitations.

      Voluntary repossession is essentially the same

      About the only difference in a voluntary car repossession vs. an involuntary repossession is you may save on the cost of the repo agent. As the borrower, you’re still responsible for the costs of auction, storage and administrative fees plus any deficiency balance based on the car’s value.

      The good news is that since the two types of repos are essentially the same, the lender must follow the same laws which include your state laws regarding vehicle repossessions and federal laws such as the:

      • Uniform Commercial Code
      • Retail Installment Sales Act
      • Truth in Lending Act
      • Consumer Fraud Act

      Strategies to remove car repo from credit reports

      When the lender sells the car, they must send you proper written notice about the sale.

      1. Dispute with the lender or collection agency based on the following:

      • Did you get proper notification, if so, did the notice contain incorrect information.
      • Were there any defects in the original car loan documents.
      • Correct calculation of the deficiency balance, including a description of fees and charges.
      • Did the lender take reasonable steps to find buyers for the car? Or just sell it for a lesser amount at a wholesale auction.
      • Have your state’s laws along with federal laws regarding consumer lending been properly adhered to.
      • Your state may even prohibit deficiency judgments on car loans. If the creditor violated consumer laws, then it may be prohibited from collecting the deficiency from you. (You may need to seek legal advice on this one.)

      Any procedure not followed correctly, according to your state’s laws and with federal laws along with any inaccurate information (amounts or dates) reported on your credit reports; is leverage to request the debt be removed from your credit reports.

      You’ve got some research to do with your original contract, any letters sent to you by the lender after you surrendered the car, look at your state’s laws concerning voluntary repossession and deficiency balance.

      Once you’ve completed your research send a debt validation letter to the collection agency. This is a sample of information you can request:

      • Legal notices and proof of the commercially reasonable manner of the notification and resale of the car
      • How they calculated the amount owed.

      Send the letter certified and request they provide the proof within 15 days from the receipt of the letter. Let them know if you don’t receive the requested information the alleged deficiency claim will be considered invalid, and any continued collection activities, or continued reporting of this invalid claim on your credit reports is a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

      Make sure you include in the letter that the means of contact they are to use is through US mail. No phone calls to you or your family members.

      2. Once you send the debt validation request to the collection agency wait the 15 days to see if they respond with the requested information. If so, consider a pay for delete. If not, send a dispute letter direct to the credit bureaus reporting the debt. Let the credit bureaus know you the debt was disputed with the collection agency and is being illegally reported.

      Once the credit bureaus open a dispute they will have 30 days to verify it with the collection agency. If they verify it as accurate then you must send a Method of Verification request to see how they verified the debt as accurate.

      3. Keep good records all correspondence and U.S. Mail return receipts. If the credit bureaus don’t delete then it’s time to make a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, your state’s Attorney General and the Better Business Bureau. You want to put as much pressure to delete as possible on the collection agency before you seek legal action.

      4. Offer a pay for delete in order to get rid of the debt. If you have some extra cash and can make a settlement offer, you may be able to get the collection agency to take the money and delete the listing. If you take this route make sure you get an agreement in writing.

      5. I realize it’s a lot of work, but repos are complicated with a lot of moving parts. You may be able to get free legal advice from a consumer law attorney at naca.net. Or, a credit repair firm like Lexington Law has experience in removing charge-offs and car repos from consumer credit reports for a fee.

      And, keep in mind as long as the debt is still within your state’s statute of limitations, the collection agency can pursue legal action against you. But even if that’s the case, an attorney may still be able to assist you in getting the deficiency balance declared null and void as long as you don’t ignore any legal action.

  8. Hello. I had a car repossessed in 2001. In 2008 I had garnishment for the car. The car was sold at auction (I can’t find how much it sold for) garnishment PD over $5000.00 to creditor. I left that job for another one,they are still trying to garnish. When I went to court about this, I said I thought it was done and over with because of being over 7 years, they said they can still come after me even after the 7 years because they can do something.. sounded like reaging (by def) is this what they are doing?

    1. Disclaimer: The materials and advice at this web site are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.

      After your car was repossessed, your lender should have sent you a repossession notice before the sale of the car and after the sale of the car. Even though what is required by a lender differs from state-to-state, at a minimum the second repossession notice should have contained information that tells you how much the car sold for and if a deficiency remains and how much the deficiency is.

      Once a judgment has been entered. Most lenders or debt collectors cannot garnish your wages without first getting a money judgment against you. Once a judgment is entered it is valid for several years before they expire. In some states, judgments can last 20 years or longer.

      Unfortunately, a judgment can be renewed for the same term if it remains unpaid and the judgment lienholder chooses to renew it. Renewing judgments restarts the cycle.

      I hate to say this but a judgment can potentially become permanent until it is paid in full. All the creditor (debt collector or lienholder) has to do is get a court order or other document to renew the judgment for another cycle. Some states limit the number of renewals; other states have no limit on judgment renewals.

      How long judgments can remain on credit reports.
      The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), allows a judgment to remain on your credit reports for 7 years. But, it can show up even longer, depending on how much time your state’s laws give effect to that judgment. For example, if a judgment was entered against you in California, it can show up on your credit report for ten years, or even 20 years if the creditor renewed it on time.

      That’s why I strongly urge you to seek the advice of an attorney. At this point the debt is really old and perhaps you can negotiate a settlement to get rid of it.

      The best of luck to you.

  9. Hi Lisa, thanks for the great info. Do you know if it is possible to request one consumer disclosure file for multiple accounts for each of the credit bureaus, or do I need to provide a separate request (and processing fee) for each, individual account for each credit bureau? Thanks!

    1. This article was written a few years ago. Credit reports directly from Experian, Transunion and Equifax should contain the information necessary to determine when the account is due to be removed. Don’t pay for it if don’t have too. Save your $12.00 bucks.

      Under federal law you are entitled to a copy of your credit report annually from all three credit reporting agencies – Experian®, Equifax® and TransUnion® – once every 12 months. Each reporting agency collects and records information in different ways and may not have the same information about your credit history but you should be able to determine when a negative item will be removed.

      Request your free statutory annual credit file disclosures from the 3 major credit bureaus by one of the following methods:

      • From the Central Source by visiting http://www.AnnualCreditReport.com
      • You can request by phone and call 877 FACTACT
      • You can complete the Request Form and mail it to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
      • When you order, you will need to provide your name, address, Social Security number, and date of birth. To verify your identity, you may need to provide some information on your credit report, such as the amount of your car loan payment or past counties where you resided.

  10. Hi Lisa,

    I believe {Commonwealth Financial} has re-aged 3 different accounts on my credit report. I asked for debt verification on them and I received it, but upon a better look I saw that the service date from the original creditor was 10/2014 but on my credit report it says December 1, 2017.

    This is the case for all of the accounts I have with them. The rep told me the date opened on my credit report is the day CFSI received the account, but even if that is the case, the date opened would not change, correct?

    Should I dispute these accounts?

    1. Debt collectors are allowed to report the “date opened” as the date they obtained their collection authority for the unpaid debt. The December 1, 2017 date has no impact on when the account will be removed (exclusion date) from your credit reports. The exclusion date of a collection account is based on the date of first delinquency with the original creditor, and NOT any other date related to the collection account, such as the open date of the collection. The exclusion date does not change, no matter when the collection agency obtained the account. I don’t think re-aging has occurred.

  11. Hi Ms. Phillips.
    I just checked my credit reports. It shows that the three collection accounts on my reports have stated January 8th 2018, as the last time that they reported to the credit bureaus. Does this constitutes as re-aging? My accounts were initially delinquent over a year and a half ago.
    Thank you kindly.

    1. Hi Mark,
      Re-aging has not occurred. Unfortunately, collection agencies are allowed to update to your credit report as long they have account authority or until the account is paid. But the date the accounts are scheduled to be removed from your credit files does not change.

  12. Hi Lisa,

    I recently had a 6 year old collection account that I had deleted 8 months ago by All 3 bureaus reinserted by ERC as a new collection. The original delinquency date stayed same. However, by it being listed as a new collection it lower my score by 80 points. Each bureau sent me a letter 8 mth ago saying it was deleted and they would take steps to ensure it wouldn’t reappear. It has under a new collection agency?

    1. If the debt was sold to a new collection agency, that debt collector now has the authority to collect and report the debt to the credit bureaus. Unpaid debt can be purchased and sold repeatedly, from debt collector to debt collector, until it is paid.

      However, once the 7.5 year reporting period has been reached, it can no longer be reported in your credit files. If the prior debt collector sold the debt to a new debt collector, the new debt collector now has authority to report the debt, regardless of what the credit bureaus may have stated. Consider sending a debt validation letter to ERC where you dispute the debt and ask for proof of the original debt. Send the letter certified, return receipt mail.

  13. Hi Lisa,
    Thank you soo much for this article. It is very well written and easy for me to understand. I also have some debts that I know are older than the DOFD, and they are currently held by Portfolio Assoc. I will definitely be taking your advise to help clear these from my credit.

  14. Hi Lisa,
    I suspect re-aging of an account by Portfolio Recovery Ass. because the original creditor’s account, Capitol One, is nowhere to be found on any of the 3 CRA’s. However that is my only evidence. Can I dispute with the CRA’s asking that they verify based on that?

    Thanks so much. Also thanks for all of the information and advice you give, you have helped me immensely!

    1. Yes, you can dispute Portfolio with the credit bureaus but they may only verify that their account reporting is accurate. However, if you suspect re-aging it’s probably better to report that illegal violation to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and request deletion as a resolution. You can also file a complaint with the BBB and your State’s Attorney General Office. You will need to estimate the date you made the last payment and no other payments were made. This would be the date of first delinquency which determines how long negative items can be reported in your credit files. Remember, debt collectors can contact you about time-barred debts at any time but they cannot report once the 7-year time period has passed.

      The best of luck to you!

  15. Hi! Thanks so much for this article! Its by far the best Ive read on this subject.
    I have a car repo from 2015 that has been charged off and sold to Calvary Collections.
    The original creditor changed the date of last payment from feb 2015, to feb 2016. The acct. Was closed and sold in Dec 2015.
    Calvary is now reporting the date of last payment as Feb 2016 instead of 2015.
    I disputed this with the credit bureau and they did not remove or correct the date.
    Ive been working really hard for sometime on cleaning up and rebuilding my credit, I use credit karma to keep a eye on changes etc.
    I have copies of my report showing the the original creditor reporting the last payment date as feb 2015, not 2016.
    Isnt this re-aging? What should my next step be?
    Thanks in advance for your time!

    1. I would definitely agree you have a case of re-aging. Since you have already disputed the re-aging occurrence to the credit bureaus with no success, it’s time to move on to the next step. As I see there are two steps to take: (1) Seek legal counsel on pursuing court action as re-aging is a violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act; or (2) Make a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau explaining the issue just as you did in the question. You articulated the issue perfectly; simply attach your proof (copies of report showing last payment of Feb. 2015) along with your complaint and as a resolution request the negative item be deleted. They may just correct the item but it doesn’t hurt to request deletion. The best of luck to you.

  16. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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!

        1. 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!

  17. 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.

    1. 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.

  18. 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

    1. 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.

  19. 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!

    1. 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.

  20. 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.

    1. 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.

  21. 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?

    1. 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.

        1. 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.

  22. 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.

    1. 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.

  23. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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. 🙂

  24. 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!

    1. 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!

  25. 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!

    1. 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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