stop-sign

Question

I have a department store credit card I use occasionally. I had signed up for electronic statements which I was receiving with no issues for over a year. In April, I started getting phone calls with no messages for several days – always on my home phone while I was a work. By chance, I did a reverse phone lookup and found out it was Kohl’s collections. I called Kohl’s and found out I was near 90 days past due on a $19.23 balance that was due in February. I had not received ANY communications from Kohl’s for over 3 months.

The last statement was the month prior to this missed statement which was paid in full. They agreed to remove the late fees and finance charges and I paid the balance in full immediately. They also said this wouldn’t show up on my credit report. Well, it’s showing as a 30 days late payment. I called Kohl’s several times, and they say they have reviewed my account and will not re-age it to fix the problem. What else can I do? I’ve had PERFECT credit for 30+ years!!! I’m certainly never receiving electronic statements ever again! Help!

My Response

Unfortunately you have learned the hard way that collectors are filthy liars and should never be trusted. Also, because you do not have this agreement in writing, there is little you can do. You could keep bugging the hell out of them (that is, call them everyday) and you might get them to budge.

Personally, however, I would not bother with this. In the long run, this is a small mistake and will only negatively affect your credit for a couple of years. I understand that it’s annoying to have this little ding on your 30+ years of perfect credit, but unless you’re in the market to purchase a home, I would brush it off and, rather, declare it as a lesson learned –the lesson being: always get agreements between you and collectors in writing before sending them any money.

Take Home Point

I wrote an article awhile back entitled, “3 Ways to Get a Late Payment Removed From Your Credit Report“. In this article, I stated that a hiccup (i.e., a single late payment on an account with otherwise clean history), will sometimes be simply forgiven if you ask them. However, when you are dealing with a collector, you must keep in mind that any verbal agreements mean nothing because collectors are liars. If you are attempting to negotiate a late payment, make sure that any agreements are issued in writing before you pay them. Many times they will send you a letter stating the agreement and you’ll be golden.