In my experience it is possible to remove collections from your credit report. A collection account, even paid collections, on your credit report can severely lower your credit score and in many cases even prevent you from obtaining a mortgage or auto loan.
How I Remove Collections From My Credit Report
When I was in college I got a cellphone with Sprint. The phone service didn’t work well so I switched to Verizon but forgot that I owed Sprint a payment. Long story short, it ended up going to Sprint collections and showing up on my credit report. I went ahead and paid the collection because I thought that would also remove it from my credit report. However, it wasn’t removed, it was just changed to “paid collection”. My credit score was still taking a hit, so I followed these steps to get it removed.
1. Request a Goodwill Adjustment from the collection agency
The first step is to mail the collection agency a “goodwill letter”. This is basically a letter that explains your situation, such as you want to purchase a house but can’t because of the collection on your credit report, and you’re kindly asking that they remove the collection out of goodwill. I know this sounds like a long shot, but it works surprisingly well. The best way to write an effective goodwill letter is to use my sample goodwill letter template.
2. Dispute the Collection Using the Advanced Dispute Method
If the goodwill letter fails to get the debt collection removed from your credit report, the next thing you should try is the advanced dispute method.
For this method you will need a current copy of your credit report. TransUnion will provide you with all your credit reports –plus they include your credit score for free.
Once you have your credit report, find the entry of the collection you want removed and verify every piece of information that is listed. If you find anything that is inaccurate, note it. This method works because rather than simply disputing the entire entry, you are going to write an advanced dispute letter that lists specially what is inaccurate.
Check the following items on the collection entry for inaccuracies:
- Account number
- Date opened / Date closed (check all dates)
- Account status (e.g., Closed)
- Payment status (e.g., Collection)
- Credit Limit
- High Balance
- Anything else that appears to be inaccurate
After you have noted the inaccuracies you found, use my advanced credit dispute letter template to write your letter. Using this letter, you will demand that each piece of information be corrected or that the collection be removed. This makes it more difficult for the credit agencies to verify the collection, and hopefully result in them simply removing the collection altogether.
3. Demand That the Collection Agency Validate the Debt
If you’re unable to find any inaccuracies on the collection entry on your credit report, next you should write the collection agency and demand that they validate the debt. Under section 809 of The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, collection agencies are required to validate debts they are attempting to collect if you request that they do so. The rub here is that you only have 30 days to make the request after their initial contact. If they are unable to validate the debt, you can ask them to remove it from your credit report.
4. Have a Professional Remove the Collection
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, and honestly they usually get stuff removed a lot quicker. Give them a call at 1-844-764-9809 or Check out their website.