I wrote a post awhile back on how to remove late payments from your credit report and it was insanely popular. There are also some great tactics for getting a collection removed that I wanted to share with you.
1. Carefully look for ANY inaccuracies with the collection entry on your credit report
Get a copy of your current credit report and vigorously verify that all the information is being reported correctly. TransUnion 3-Bureau Credit Monitoring will provide you with all your credit reports and credit monitoring –plus they include your credit score for free.
You should be checking every little piece of data. More than likely, you’ll find a mistake somewhere, and when you do, you can dispute the collection and write a letter to the credit agencies requesting that they remove the collection. I suggest using my advanced credit dispute letter template to write your letter.
You should check the following things:
- Account number
- Date opened
- Account status (e.g., Closed)
- Payment status (e.g., Collection)
- High Balance
- Credit Limit
- Anything else that appears to be inaccurate
2. Contact the original creditor about the collection
I can’t speak from personal experience on this one, but several people have told me they’ve had success contacting the original creditor. Most of the time when a debt goes into collections, the debt is actually sold to the collection agency (or they get some kind of bounty for getting you to pay). However, some creditors have internal collection departments –they are usually under a different company name so you’d never know.
By contacting the original creditor, you will probably need to offer the pay the full amount due to make any headway. Even then, many will simply say, “Sorry, it’s already gone to collections”. However, if the collection agency is actually an internal dept. of the creditor, they may agree to have the collection removed if you pay in full.
Try it and let me know how it works.
3. Demand that the collection agency validate the debt
It’s no secret that collection agencies can’t be trusted. You don’t know what kind of silly fees they are adding to your original balance. Are the fees even legit? Who knows…
Luckily, you have the right to demand that they validate the debt under section 809 of The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. If they can’t validate it, they have to stop contacting you and remove the entry from your credit report. The only downside to this is that you have to request validation within 30 days of their initial contact. Don’t put this off –if you get a collection letter in the mail, sit down and write a short, stern letter stating that you are requesting debt validation. If you don’t hear back from them, you can probably assume they couldn’t fulfill your request.
Lastly, if you’re the type of person who would rather have a professional handle it and just be done with the whole thing, I suggest you check out Lexington Law Credit Repair. They’ll take care of you.