So you’ve gone online and obtained your credit reports. For the most part they should contain accounts that you owe. Carefully go through those accounts and find the ones that have been delinquent for more than the Statute of Limitations for your State (SoL). If you don’t know what the SoL for your State is you can look it up here. You’ll want the SoL for written contracts. For California it’s four years. Those accounts that are delinquent past the SoL for your State you will have leverage over the collector since you no longer have legal responsibility to pay that debt. If you want it to go away and be taken off your credit report you can either do one of a few things.
Leave it alone
That’s right. It’s past its SoL and you don’t have to pay for it. It’s recommended that you leave it alone if it is close to falling off your report. If it has been almost seven years and 120 days then just be patient and leave it alone. In due time it will be removed from your report. As with fixing your credit the main thing about doing credit repair is that time heals the report. Let time take its course.
Poking the bear
You’re a bit impatient and you want to see that score go up yesterday. Okay then. It’s time to poke the bear and see if it wakes up. Who is the bear? Why it’s the collector of course. How do you poke them? File a dispute against the account. Remember, the credit agency you send the dispute to has no obligation to remove accurate information. However you are allowed to send a dispute forcing the collector to verify the debt. So either they are going to ignore the request and not answer. The bear continues sleeping. The other outcome is that the bear gets woken up. They not only verify the debt, but they also may begin to attempt to collect on the debt again. You may be forced to write a drop dead letter if that happens. Make sure you point out that the SoL is up so that they don’t think they have a chance of collecting and instead of calling you they just send letter after letter wasting all those poor trees. Or you could just go on with the third option.
The bear is hungry and wants your money. You can attempt to negotiate with it. If your past the SoL you have leverage. If not, then you can make an offer and see if the bear is amicable to taking a smaller meal just for the sake of receiving one. Offer 30 cents on the dollar at first. Also, when you negotiate the deal must always come with removal from the report. Otherwise they’ll mark it as paid off or satisfied. That does nothing to help your credit. It’ll be stuck on there till it falls off or you buckle and negotiate again to get it off and get stuck paying 100%. So make sure that removal is a part of the deal. Be wary that they know all too well that you want it off your report. They will use it against you. Also, the most important thing is to get it on paper. It has to be on paper, or it never happened. Get that paper first then you can pay them. Don’t ever take no for an answer. If they don’t play, they don’t get paid and the bear doesn’t get his meal.
So now is the time to go through each and every one of your debts and figure out what you’re going to do. What I have done is pretty much take nearly all the accounts and dispute them, but not all at once. The bureaus have a threshold and will start ignoring your disputes if you file too many at once within a short time. It’ll be like throwing spaghetti on the wall to what sticks, and none of them will. Break it up and do them over time. A few this month. A few more a few months later. As I said before. Repairing your credit takes one thing. Time.
Stay tuned for part 3.
Disclaimer: You have a right to remove inaccurate information off your credit report. The information on your credit report must be 100% accurate. Once disputed the information must be verified, updated or deleted within the 30 days given by the Fair Credit Reporting Act. This post does not however tell you how to remove accurate information and does not claim in any way that the information provided will do that. Also, I am in no way a credit repair company and do not claim to be one. Should you require the help of a credit repair company I do suggest you contact one. If you need help with a reporting agency and you have tried all the methods in this series or within the suggested book, it is suggested that you contact an attorney that specializes in this field.