Clean-Up Charged Off Debt Accounts

I have a lot of old debt and charge offs. What is the best way to clear these up?

I have a lot of OLD debt. A lot are old charge-offs and my credit report only shows the collection company's debt and not the original debt. How do I find that out if they show to be open when the collection company bought the debt. Should I contact the collection agency? What should I do to find out how old the debt is and when it will come off my credit? I have been living with this for years and I would like to take care of it. What would be the best way to go about this?

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Bills.com Team
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By Bills.com Team
January 18, 2008

Most debt will be removed from your credit reports 7 years after the date of first delinquency. Here are the steps to take to deal with old and charged off debt accounts.

Charge Off

The term charge-off is an accounting term used by creditors. It means an account is transferred from the “accounts receivable” books to the “bad debt” ledger. Credit card issuers are required to do this by the federal Office of the Comptroller of Currency, in an attempt to prevent banks from inflating future earnings statements with defaulted accounts. For the consumer, the only consequence of an account charging off is the account will report as a negative item on the consumers’ credit reports.

Credit Report Rules at a Glance

Federal law (US Code Title 15, §1681c) controls the behavior of consumer credit reporting agencies. The specific law is called the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Under FCRA §605 (a) and (b), an account in collection will appear on a consumer’s credit report for up to 7½ years. To determine when an account will be removed by the CRAs (TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian and others), add 7 years to the date of first delinquency. The date of first delinquency is shown in credit reports. Subsequent activity, such as resolving the debt or one debt collector selling the debt to another collector, is irrelevant to the 7-year rule.

Some debts may be reported longer than 7 years, including:

  • Tax liens: 10 years if unpaid, or 7 years from the payment date
  • Bankruptcy: 10 years from the date of filing (15 U.S.C. §1681c)
  • Perkins student loans: Until paid in full (20 U.S.C. §1087cc(c)(3))
  • Direct and FFEL loans: 7 years from default or rehabilitation date (20 U.S.C. §1080a(f)(1) and 20 U.S.C. §1087e(a)(1))
  • Judgments: 7 years or the debtor’s state statute of limitations on judgments, whichever is longer

The FCRA 7-year rule is separate from state statutes of limitations for debt issues. Learn the lifespan of a judgment in your state at the Bills.com Statute of Limitations Laws by State page.

The start of the 7-year period begins at the date of first delinquency, or if no payments are made, when the first payment was due. Review your credit report carefully to make certain the dates of first delinquency are reported correctly. Unscrupulous collection agents reset the date of first delinquency to stretch out how long a derogatory appears on consumer’s credit report. This is illegal under the FCRA.

Just because a debt does not appear on a credit report does not mean the statute of limitations for the debt has passed. The opposite is also true: The passing of a state statute of limitations on a debt does not mean the debt may not appear on a credit report. The federal FCRA and state statutes of limitations are separate and independent of each other.

Whether a debt appears on a credit report does not establish legal liability for the debt. The opposite is also true: You may have legal liability for a debt not reported to the credit reporting agencies. Credit reports are not legal records of every debt you owe.

If you struggle with credit card debt, then get a no-cost consultation with a Bills.com pre-screened debt provider.

Get No-Cost Copies of Your Credit Reports

The best way to determine the date of first delinquency is to get copies of your credit reports from each of the three consumer credit reporting agencies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — through AnnualCreditReport.com. Your credit reports should list the date each of the accounts in question were charged off by the original creditor. Even if the accounts are sold to collection agents, your credit reports should still reflect the original date of first delinquency, which starts the 7-year clock.

Debt collectors are not allowed to change the date of first delinquency on accounts they purchase. Whether collection agents buy or sell your accounts, the date of first delinquency may not change. Unscrupulous debt collectors change dates of first delinquency in an effort to keep old accounts on consumers’ credit reports longer than 7½ years.

If a collection agent misreports the date of first delinquency, contact the original creditor to learn the date you last made a payment on the account. If a debt collector reports a date of first delinquency different from that being reported by the original creditor, dispute the credit report listing with the consumer credit reporting agencies.

Once you find the date of first delinquency, and confirm the account information is reported correctly to each of the three credit bureaus, you should be able to determine when the accounts will fall of your report. The accounts should be removed automatically from your credit report 7 to 7½ years after the date of date of first delinquency. As mentioned above, verify the information on your credit report to make sure negative information is removed from your credit reports in a timely manner.

Dealing with old and charged off debt accounts is a chore, but should be much easier now that you know what steps to take. To learn more about credit, credit reports, and credit scoring, visit the Bills.com credit help page.

I hope this information helps you Find. Learn & Save.

Best,

Bill

Bills.com

166 Comments

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  • 35x35
    May, 2013
    stephen
    A lienholder 'writes off" a debt and then sells the debt. Is the lien still valid?
    1 Votes

    • 35x35
      May, 2013
      Bill
      Unfortunately, the words charge-off and write-off have no meaning in law, and the act of writing-off an account does not change the creditor's right to collect the debt or the consumer's liability for the debt.

      Charge-off and write-off are accounting terms that are synonymous. Charge-off and write-off mean a creditor moved an account from its current-accounts book to its general ledger as a bad debt. It does not mean the account is canceled, forgiven, or extinguished. See the Bills.com charge off page for a more complete discussion of this oft-misunderstood phrase.

      You mentioned a lien. A lien is the result of a court's judgment. The judgment-creditor did not change its legal rights to the lien when it wrote-off your collection account.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Mar, 2013
    Michelle
    I have been married for 6 years and am slowly rebuilding my credit. Prior to marriage, I found myself always robbing Peter to pay Paul and have bad credit and charge-offs from 2006 and earlier. Do I want to go back and clear this up? All my bad debit is in California. I'm not hiding from anybody, but I'm terrified my husband will have a negative credit record because of me. Do I start the first steps, ignore it at this point, or what? And what is the first step?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Mar, 2013
      Bill
      You have two distinct issues — the debts themselves, and their impact on your credit reports. Let's look at the easier of the two first.

      Negative marks on a consumer's credit report must be removed 7 years after the date of first delinquency. This means that if your latest first delinquency was in 2006, you should start to see these derogatories fall off your credit report in 2013 and early 2014. Assuming you have been making on-time payments on your other accounts, in other words you have been generating positive credit history, you should start to see your credit scores zoom upward this year.

      Now let's turn to the trickier issue — any unpaid delinquent debt you may have. You indicated you were a California resident when you incurred the debts, and now reside (apparently) in Arizona. The statute of limitations for delinquent credit card debt is 4 years in California, and 3 years in Arizona. This means that if the original creditors — the credit card issuers — file lawsuits against you in California or Arizona, you have an affirmative defense you can raise in a motion to the court. If a collection agent files a lawsuit against you, it must do so in your state of residence, which here I'm surmising is Arizona. Here again, you would raise the statute of limitations defense and ask the court to dismiss the case.

      Notice I did not write, "The creditors can't sue you because the statute of limitations has passed." That is because that's an untrue statement in all but two states. A creditor can still file a lawsuit if the statute of limitations has passed in almost all US jurisdictions.

      You asked about your spouse and liability for the debt and its possible impact on your spouse's credit score. Generally, spouses do not have liability for each other's pre-marital debt. However, there are some exceptions for spouses in community property states. Arizona is a community property state, but I have not studied the nuances of Arizona's community property law. Consult with an Arizona lawyer who has family law experience to learn if your spouse has any liability for the debt.

      You asked where to begin. As mentioned, learn if your spouse has liability for the debt. If not, you have more flexibility and leverage in any settlement negotiations with creditors. Read the Bills.com article Arizona Collection Laws to learn more about your rights and liabilities as an Arizona resident. According to the collections industry statistics, most collection accounts are never collected. Therefore, I follow the "let sleeping dogs lie" approach to accounts that are more than 7 years old and are beyond the consumer's state statute of limitations for that debt. For newer debts, negotiate settlements for less than the face value of the balance due.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Dec, 2012
    David
    I had two unpaid medical bills from 2007 that arrived at the same collections agency on 12/1/2007 and 2/1/2008 respectively that to this day I have not paid, nor acknowledged their legitimacy to the collector. They appear on my credit report from Experian as the account being "closed" and marked "Potentially negative closed". As of March 2012, they have been reported as delinquent going back to at least 2010, and I assume up to today. My question is this: After 6 years in WI, when the statute of limitations occurs on those accounts, will they continue to show up on my credit report as being delinquent from that day forward until they are paid or will they disappear? I know the SoL means that they can no longer sue me in court for the money, but can they still report to the credit bureaus that I am delinquent in paying?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Dec, 2012
      Bill
      You mentioned Wisconsin. Wisconsin is one of two states where creditors may not file an action (a lawsuit) against a consumer after the state statute of limitations has passed. In other states, the statute of limitations clock running out simply means the consumer has the right to assert an affirmative defense in a lawsuit.

      Dig out a copy of one of your three credit reports, or get a new one from AnnualCreditReport.com. Look for the date of first delinquency. That's when the 7-year clock starts on how long this derogatory account may appear on your credit report. Once the clock reaches 7, the account should disappear on its own.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Oct, 2012
    N
    I had an account that i got behind on and I was told that it was being sold to another lender. The lender finally contacted me and I made arrangements to pay the account. I have paid the account in full, but the original lender is still on my credit report as a write off. Is there anyway to get the original lender to indicate I have paid this account in full?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Oct, 2012
      Bill
      The original lender is allowed to show that your account went into charge-off status. It is required to report only accurate information. Even though you paid the collection agent, it is accurate that the account went into charge-off with the original creditor. The original creditor account will fall off your credit seven years after the date of first delinquency. It will have less and less effect on your credit score, as time passes.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Aug, 2012
    Natassha
    I am a Massachusetts native living in Boston. I have a debt that is way over 7 years. They kept taking me to court and the judge dismissed my case without prejudice, but I keep seeing them appear on my credit report as a inquiry like, they have been rumbling through my credit report on purpose. What does that mean? Doesn't that bring your score down just from them doing this? How can I put a end to this issue?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Aug, 2012
      Bill
      There are two types of credit inquiries: Hard and soft. A hard inquiry has a slight negative impact on a person's credit score. However, many hard inquiries over time will have a significant impact. Hard inquiries are supposed to be the result of a consumer's action, such as applying for a new credit card, vehicle loan, or apartment lease.

      A soft inquiry on a person's credit report has zero impact on their credit score. These happen all of the time, and are usually credit card issuers who are trolling for prospects with particular characteristics.

      Review your credit report carefully. If the inquiries are hard, then consult with a lawyer who has consumer law experience to learn if you have a cause of action against the collection agent under the FDCPA. If the inquiries are soft, then do not worry about them.

      You asked how to put an end to this issue. Negotiate a settlement with the collection agent.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Aug, 2012
    Theresa
    I have credit card debts that are nearing 7 years so I checked my credit report to see when it would fall off my report. The credit card company had sold the debt to a collection company who reports it as an open account thus leaving it on my report. There is nothing on the report showing the old company charging it off or anything. I disputed to have my info verified, and it came back correct. I don't know when the credit card company charged my account off. What are my options. I'm afraid of talking to the collection company will restart the statue of limitations and I don't know how to get this off my report.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Aug, 2012
      Bill
      When it comes to credit reports, the key date you need to focus on is the date of first delinquency. The date of first delinquency is, as the term appears to be, the date you missed your first payment. That date starts the 7-year clock for when the derogatory will fall off your credit report. A collection agent buying or selling your collection account does not reset the date of first delinquency.

      Unscrupulous collection agents will misreport the date of first delinquency to stretch out how long a derogatory account will appear on a credit report. If a collection agent reset the date of first delinquency on one of your accounts, then file a dispute.

      Disputing an erroneous date of first delinquency does not reset the statute of limitations on the debt.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jul, 2012
    elizabeth
    Hi, I live in Texas and I have an old debt from GE Capital card from my college years and it was charged off years ago and is no longer on my credit report (its been over 7 plus yrs). The debt was somewhere around $300 give or take and every once in a while I will get a letter from a collection agency stating that I still owe this debt but the balance keep increasing. The last letter I received stated I owed over $4000 now. How is that possible that it keeps increasing? I'm not sure if I ever closed the credit card account but if it was sent to a 3rd party should that make a difference and how can I keep the balance from increasing without acknowledging the debt? Please help, thanks.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Jul, 2012
      Bill
      Collection agents tack-on mystery fees and interest each time a collection account is sold or traded. In some states the fees and interest exceeds the state's usury rate, but other states have no restriction. My advice? The next time a collection agent contacts you about the account, validate the debt. A debt that cannot be validated cannot be collected. Let us say for the sake of argument the collection agent validates the debt. You mentioned Texas. Because the debt is older than Texas' statute of limitations for a written contract (4 years) and it no longer appears on your credit report, send the collection agent a cease communications notice.

      You asked how you can prevent the balance from increasing. The only way you can stop all collection activities is to negotiate a settlement to pay the debt. Keep in mind that collection agents pay a few cents on the dollar when buying collection accounts.

      My advice? If the statute of limitations has passed, it seems wiser to me to not settle the account and to ignore any collection efforts that come your way. If you are sued, however, make sure to appear in court and use the statute of limitations as an affirmative defense.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    May, 2012
    Steve
    My son's home is in foreclosure. He could fight it (and live for free) and it probably will take a few years here in Nassau County NY. He wants to offer the bank his immediate agreement to the foreclosure and give them the deed in return for the bank removing the bad remarks it placed on his credit reports and not reporting a foreclosure to the credit agencies. It appears it would be a win-win but can the bank legally do this? Thanks
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      May, 2012
      Bill
      What you are describing is a deed in lieu of foreclosure. Follow the hyperlink I just mentioned to learn more.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      May, 2012
      steven
      Actually the bank wants a foreclosure so that they can wipe out any subordinate claims so it's not a deed in lieu they want....it's a foreclosure they want. That being said if my son agrees to the bank's foreclosure action can the bank agree to wipe out his negative credit comments and also not report the foreclosure to the credit agencies. Is it in the bank's power to do that?
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      May, 2012
      Bill
      Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), creditors are obligated to report accurate information to the credit reporting agencies, including Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

      A credit report is just that — a report. A credit report is not a legal ledger that determines a consumer's liability for a debt.

      A more important issue is whether the borrower has liability for the loan's deficiency balance. this is determined by the deal the borrower can strike with the lender, and the borrower's state's anti-deficiency laws.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Apr, 2012
    amanda
    I would like to pay off my credit card debt, but I want my account transfered back to the bank. Is it possible for them to transfer it from the collection agency back to the original creditor?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Apr, 2012
      Bill
      If I knew why it important to you for the debt to go back to original creditor, I might be able to give a more complete answer. Regardless, I will try to answer your questions as best I can.

      If the original creditor sold the account to the collection agency, then it is highly unlikely that it could end up back in the original creditor's hands.

      If the collection agency has been contracted to collect on the debt, the debt could end up back at the original creditor. You can call the original creditor and see if someone will accept payment. Even if you get a no, it is possible that you could get a different answer if you called again, depending on the time of the month, the fiscal quarter, or the fiscal year.

      I have it on good authority, however, that you are likely to get the most favorable and flexible repayment terms from a contracted collection agency.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Apr, 2012
    Morgan
    I have a judgement on my credit report. Its going to fall off on 03/2013. I need to get a new apartment now.... will I be able to get accepted anywhere whith that judgment? Even when it was from so long ago? I do plan to pay it, but I cant before I need to move. I live in ND. Help! Thanks.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Apr, 2012
      Bill
      A landlord could certainly choose to not rent to you due to the presence of an unsatisfied judgment. A landlord has broad discretion on deciding to whom to rent its property. As long as the landlord does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, national origin, or any protected class, he or she can be quite picky.

      Different landlords may apply different standards, so how the judgment will affect you remains to be seen. For instance, you could offer a larger deposit to offset their concerns.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Apr, 2012
    d
    I have a charge off account from Crescent Jewelers and on my Equifax credit report showed Date last reported was 4/06. I tried calling the company to settle the account and wanted to pay it off but the Company went out of business. What should I do to settle this or have it remove from my credit report? Should I file a dispute with Equifax so that it will be removed? I don't see any collection agency on the credit report. It only shows Crescent Jewelers with the address and phone no. but I tried calling it and says a different company. Pls advise. Thank you.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Apr, 2012
      Bill
      Filing a dispute costs you little more than your time, and may result in an increase to your credit score. There does not appear to be "anyone at home" to refute your dispute, so your chances of success appear high.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Apr, 2012
      D
      What should I mention on my dispute to Equifax about the company that had been out of business already? Will Equifax able to remove the charge off from my credit report?
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Apr, 2012
      Bill
      Consumers have more than one credit report. Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion are the three largest and most well-known credit reporting agencies. Each may publish different information based on information they gather about consumers. You may need to dispute the derogatory you mentioned at all three credit reporting agencies if each has the same information about that account.

      Follow the link in my earlier reply to the Bills.com article "Credit Report Dispute," which describes how to dispute an error on a credit report. Please ask any follow-up questions you may have on the page I just mentioned.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Apr, 2012
    M
    I have one credit card that I know that I owe but, it's on my credit report but when I call the company to pay they say that they no longer have the account. It went to three different collections agencies...now that I'm able to pay the bill...I'm not sure who to contact because "no one" has the account anymore.

    In addition, to that I have one card when I was 18...I'm 33 now do I still have to pay this card? the SOL for Ohio is 10 years? Please let me know. Thank You. I really appreciate any help that anyone can give me. I'm back in school for my Masters Degree I have 1 more year and I'm looking to purchase a house in the next three years!
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Apr, 2012
      Bill
      What your story illustrates is another dirty secret in the debt collections business: Collection accounts are traded among collection agents like baseball cards. My guess, note that word choice, is your account was traded on an exchange where the new collection agent bought a batch of accounts including yours. The collection agent may or may not get around to reporting the debt to the credit reporting agencies (the credit bureaus). In the meantime, I know of no way a person can be reunited with their collection account.

      You mentioned Ohio. Ohio offers many statutes of limitations on debt, and I confess I do not understand which applies to credit card debt. Consult with an Ohio lawyer who has consumer law experience to learn more.

      Just because the statute of limitations has passed and the debt has fallen of your credit report does not mean you are immune from a lawsuit. If you are sued, you may use the statute of limitations as an affirmative defense.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Apr, 2012
    Steven
    I have 2 credit card accounts that were charged off. My credit report lists them as a negative comment. The credit card company sold the accounts to a collection agency. I am also getting negative comments from the collection agency. In essence I am receiving 4 negative notations for 2 accounts. Can I fix that with the reporting agencies so I only have 2 negative notations? Thanks SH
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Apr, 2012
      Bill
      Inaccurate information can be removed by disputing it. In your case, the original creditor can show the accounts as charged off and the collection agent can show that you owe the balance that it is trying to collect. Try to negotiate a settlement to bring the debt to $0 balance, to protect yourself from collections. If the debt has passed the statute of limitations, it may make more sense to just wait for the account to fall off your report. Nothing that you do will remove the original creditor's charge-offs.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Mar, 2012
    Lisa
    My husband was recently contacted at work by a bill collector in reference to one of my charged off debts. The debt was charged off and removed from my credit report...statute of limitations. They continue to call my husband at work. The debt was charged off 10 years ago. Isn't it illegal to discuss a debt with my husband and not myself (this debt is from before I even knew my husband), to call him at work, and to collect on a debt that is charged off and removed from my credit report because of the statute of limitations?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Mar, 2012
      Bill
      According to credit reporting laws, a derogatory entry on a credit report can appear for 7½ years after the date of first delinquency. The laws for credit reports have no relationship to a state's statute of limitations. For instance a state can have a statute of limitations for credit card debt of four years. The debt will still show on a credit report for 7½ years.

      You mentioned charge off. This is an accounting action that has no legal consequence for the consumer. The fact that a debt is charged off or not charged off has no bearing on a creditor's rights to collect the debt.

      You mentioned statues of limitations. Except in Wisconsin and North Carolina, the expiring of a statute of limitations does not mean the creditor is barred from contacting the creditor about the debt or otherwise collecting the debt. If a creditor files a lawsuit against you after the statute of limitations expires, you can use the statute of limitations as a defense.

      Tell your spouse to tell the collection agent to cease contacting him at his work place. Under the FCRA, collection agents must cease communications with consumers who tell them to stop contacting them on their cell phones or at their work places. If the collection agent persists, consult with a lawyer in your state who has consumer law experience to learn if you have a cause of action — a legal cause to file a lawsuit — against the collection agent.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Feb, 2012
    jon
    I am being charge interest from a AZ debt collector for an AZ debt back to the original date of service even though they just bought the debt is that legal? By the way they also have an office in CA but the correspondence to me is from an AZ inc.
    1 Votes

    • 35x35
      Feb, 2012
      Bill
      The debt collector is permitted to collect interest, as long as it is consistent with your contract agreement with the original creditor and is permitted by law.

      If you reside in Arizona, the collection agent or law firm may use its Arizona office in the expectation of pursuing legal action against you, which requires in-state lawyers. If you reside elsewhere, then I would not place any significance on where a collection agent's office may be.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Feb, 2012
    Thomas
    I have a few outstanding debts. I'm trying to pay them back, but I'm having problems locating who is collecting. Each group I call is saying they've been transferred to another agency. I finally reached the end where they told me they no longer have me on record, and that my debt was transferred to a previous collector, who says they no longer hold the debt. It's very confusing. We're only dealing with about 3 layers. The original creditor, the agency they transferred to and then the agency they transferred to. What can I do?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Feb, 2012
      Bill
      Two options:
      • Wait for a collection agent to contact you, then validate the debt.
      • Pull a copy of your credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com and see who reports it is the latest owner of your collection account(s). A credit report is not a legal document, but it may offer you a clue as to who owns the debt now.

      As I mentioned, validate the debt before you negotiate a settlement.

      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Feb, 2012
    Andrea
    My family had gotten in a situation where we defaulted on our credit cards and have not made payments for about 3 years. Per my state the statue of limitations is 4 years. Now, my current concern is re-aging these debts. We are not in a position to pay them off, not unless we were given a really good settlement offer. One of our cc we did. The debt is now totaled to just over $3,700. I received a settlement offer in the mail that seems fishy and too good to be true, saying I have until the end of this month to accept it. It is through a collection agency, which I can only assume purchased this bad debt. They are saying they will settle with me for only $99. My other question is, we do have some other debt (medical,) and were considering bankruptcy. But, we have maybe 5 years left of negative reports on our credit reports from the cc debt (medical is older and not on it.) Would it make more sense to just not pay or file for bankruptcy (unless they tried to pursue us before the statue of limitation are up,) which would then have a negative effect on our report for 10 years, so an extra 5 years from what it currently would be.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Feb, 2012
      Bill
      Regarding the offer from the collection agency, you can do a debt validation within the 30 day period of receiving the letter. This will not re-age the debt. If you do decide to repay the debt, try to negotiate a reduced balance settlement. Get any settlement offer in writing, before you pay.

      As regards your overall debt situation, there are different debt relief solutions available, including bankruptcy and debt settlement. For more information read the Bills.com article about debt relief. Follow the links I mentioned to learn more.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jan, 2012
    Julie
    I lived in WA in 2008 and accumulated debt that was charged off. A job transfer took me to FL later that same year and is where I remain. No effort has gone into "hiding" from my creditors, but none have gone into contacting them either. I am finally in a financial situation to begin paying back debt. The statute of limitations in FL is 4 yrs. However, I am not sure if the statute tolled by my departure from WA. How can I find out if the statute of limitations has passed so that I do not end up paying down debt that is non-collectable.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Jan, 2012
      Bill
      First, read the Bills.com resource statute of limitations for a brief overview of how to analyze statute of limitations questions. Second, consult with lawyer in your present state of residence (you mentioned Florida) who has civil litigation experience. He or she will analyze your contract(s) that gave rise to the Washington debts you mentioned, research Washington law, and advise you accordingly.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jan, 2012
    Amanda
    I have a judgement against me for an upaid credit card through a credit union, the date filed was 10/12/2005. How long will this stay on my credit? Should I try to pay this judgement or let it fall off my credit report? Also, once something fall off your credit can a creditor put it back on or renew it? Thank you for your time.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Jan, 2012
      Bill
      Under the FCRA, a civil judgment can appear on a credit report for seven years or the length of a judgment's statute of limitations in that consumer's state, whichever is longer. You indicated you reside in Alabama. The statute of limitations for judgments in Alabama is 20 years. Therefore, the judgment will appear on your credit profile for 20 years.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Nov, 2011
    Hello and thanks for all of this information. My wife and I short sold our home a year ago. We also settled a few credit card accounts for less than full amount with the original creditors. We have one left that has been charged off but not sold to a collection agency. My questions is, does it make any sense to pay anyone for this debt? Are credit rating has taken a big hit with all of these changes. We are currently living with parents and do plan to move in a year or so into a rental. In the meantime do we save all the cash or throw some of it at this bad debt? What would be the reason to do so if it will fall off our report in 7 years?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Nov, 2011
      Bill
      By not dealing with your unpaid credit card debt you will face two major consequences:

      • negative impact on your credit report
      • being sued by the creditor, which can lead to a court judgment and then to wage garnishments, bank levies, and liens on your personal property.

      If a public judgment is obtained by the creditor, then this will not fall off your report after seven years.

      You mentioned that you successfully negotiated credit card debts. The type of debt settlement tactic appropriate for the remaining debt would depend on your financial situation and the size of the debt. Use Bills.com's Debt Coach to find a solution appropriate to your situation.

      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Nov, 2011
    Hi, I most recently viewed my credit report and noticed 2 active negative accounts. So I called to see what they where and was informed that they where cell phone bills from 2004. with the last payments being made in 2005. But there showing up on my credit report as being opened in 2010 and not being paid how is this possible?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Nov, 2011
      Bill
      I assume that you still owe money for the cell phone bills, with the last payments you made in 2005. It is possible that the debt was sold to a collection agency, who has opened up the account and improperly re-aged the debt.

      Do not contact the collector or pay any money until you determine if the Statute of Limitations has expired.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Nov, 2011
    Jenna
    I am 21 years old and unable to open credit because my score is so low. My debt only totals about 1,500. which i can easily pay off now. My question is, I have a charge off Macy's account for 335 dollars. Can I pay that off? Or once they are charged off you just have to suffer the consequences?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Nov, 2011
      Bill
      You are still liable for the debt to Macy's. To improve your credit score contact the creditor and negotiate the settlement of the debt. Once you pay off the debt, it will appear as having been delinquent, but a zero balance. If you are having trouble obtaining a credit card, look into a secured credit card. Bills.com offers advice and tips about secured credit cards and credit score.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Nov, 2011
    maureen
    About 15 years ago, i damaged my credit. I had some charge offs. I have settled some. I just received a letter from a debt collector for a charge card i do not remember having. I got the 3 free credit reports and they are no longer showing any of my charge offs and I can't seem to find a way to see them. I do not want to call in fear of the never ending harassment that will follow. So my question is How do I check if this charge is mine? or Is it passed the time that they have to collect?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Nov, 2011
      Bill
      Start by validating the debt. Check on the statute of limitations on debt in your state, to see if enough time has passed since your last payment on the account for the SOL to have expired. Do NOT pay a penny or have any communications with the collector, before you get proof that you still owe the debt and whether you can raise the SOL defense successfully if collection efforts proceed.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Oct, 2011
    David
    Actually-- to knowingly attempt to collect a debt past the statute of limitations is a violation of the NC Fair Debt Collection Act and the collector will be penalized $1,000 to be paid to the party to whom they are attempting to collect the debt. I think this is common throughout the country, but I'm only licensed to practice law in NC.
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Oct, 2011
    aaron
    I recently checked my credit report and found a couple of accounts sent to collection agencies. Collection accounts show the estimated date the item will be removed but does not show the open/close dates. It also shows that the item was frequently updated. Is the collection agencies trying to change the dates? Also, can you explain more about debts that have been charged off as bad credit. Am I legally responsible to pay this debt off even after the SOL and the 7 years (after it is removed from the credit report). Thank you in advance.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Oct, 2011
      Bill
      Let us look at the facts and terms you shared in your message, and others that were implied:
      • Time and Credit Reports. Seven and a half years is how long most derogatory items can appear on a consumer's credit report file. The 7½-year rule has nothing to do with charge off. It does not determine whether the debt is collectible. It also has nothing to do with a state's statute of limitations. See the Bills.com resource Fair Credit Reporting Act to learn more about what can appear on a credit report and for how long.
      • Charge-off / write-off. An accounting term that means a creditor has moved an account from its current-accounts book to its general ledger as a bad debt. It does not mean the account is canceled, forgiven, or extinguished. See the Bills.com resource Charge Off for a more complete discussion of this oft-misunderstood phrase.
      • Statute of Limitations. Just because a statute of limitations has passed does not mean a creditor may not collect a debt, except in Wisconsin. The passing of a statute of limitations gives a defendant in a lawsuit an affirmative defense, and nothing more. See Statute of Limitations to learn more.

      A collection agent working on a debt older than a state's statute of limitations may contact the consumer to attempt to collect an ancient debt (except in Wisconsin). It can even file a lawsuit against the consumer. However, the consumer has an affirmative defense if there is such a lawsuit.

      The 7½-year clock does not reset when the consumer makes a payment or settles the debt. There is no reason, from a credit score perspective, to pay debt older than 7½ years in age. If the creditor files an action — a lawsuit — against you, you may have an affirmative defense if your state's statute of limitations has passed.

      You asked about the updated accounts appearing in your credit report. Were the changes to the date of first delinquency? If so, and if these changed dates were made without your consent, then the reporter of that false information violated the FCRA. Consult with a lawyer who has consumer law experience to learn if you have a cause of action against the collection agent, presumably, who made that change.

      1 Votes

  • 35x35
    Oct, 2011
    James
    In 2004 I was considered a very good credit risk with a good credit rating. Had several credit cards and a new car loan. Long story short. My Mother's health went down hill and I quit my job to take care of her. In any case,several years later I now have unpaid credit card debt, and a unpaid car loan against my name. All of the debt will drop off my credit in the next 10 months.I just recently came into a great deal of money,and could easily pay off all the debt. In fact I would like to have one of those particular credit cards again. My concern is, if I paid the debt back before the 7 years is over, would the negative debt stay on my credit for an additional period of time? Would it be better to wait until the 7 year mark has pass and then pay off the debt? After the 7 years has past (and I then pay off the debt) can the creditors report a paid debt to the agencies and hurt my credit?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Oct, 2011
      Bill
      The behavior of consumer credit reporting agencies — the credit bureaus — is controlled by a federal law called the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Under the FCRA, most derogatories can appear on a consumer's credit report for 7½ years. This clock starts at the date of first delinquency, and not when the consumer pays the debt, the original creditor sells the collection account to a collection agent, or any event other than the date of first delinquency. Your paying the debt before, during, or after the 7½-year deadline does not matter.

      Negotiate a lump-sum settlement on the debt, and do not pay the present face value of the debt. Start negotiations at 15 cents on the dollar.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Oct, 2011
    Joe
    I have a situation where my ex-wife and I have a joint vehicle loan account that was opened back in 2004. We had a sep agreement signed for her to refinance and pay on the vehicle. She never did. So I had the vehicle voluntarily repossesed from her leaving a difference of $8,000 left for me to pay. 5 years later the original creditor finally wrote it as a charge of as of June 2011. In this article you are stating that creditors usually write it as a charge off 180-240 days after last payment. It took them roughly 5 years to do this! Is there anything I can do to disbute this???
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Oct, 2011
      Bill
      Charge-off guidelines are a bit maddening because they are just that, guidelines, and are not rules or laws with consequences and penalties for violations. I spent time researching charge-off guidelines for nationally chartered banks, and the FDIC and Comptroller of the Currency describes charge-off in terms of best practices, and not limits.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Sep, 2011
    Danielle
    We recieved a letter from a lawyer staing we owed almost $16,000 to a creditor named Alliance and it said the original creditor was USBANK. We sent them a letter stating we wanted validation on this cause we don't believe we owe this debt. Its bben 30 days since they signed for the letter. I called them and they said it could take a few more weeks to get it. Since recieving the letter they have sent me another letter asking for payments what are our options on this.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Sep, 2011
      Bill
      Under federal law, it is illegal for a collection agent to attempt to collect a debt a consumer has asked to validate. Consult with a lawyer who has experience litigating FDCPA violations. You may have a cause of action (a legal reason to file a lawsuit) against the collection agent / lawyer that is attempting to collect the $16,000 debt you mentioned.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Sep, 2011
      LaShun
      Did the debt show on your credit file? If it does, dipute it with the credit bureau (Equifax, Transunion, Experian). After 30 days, this would have been removed if they didnt provide them with proof.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Sep, 2011
    Shenice
    I'm young, 22yrs old and I have near 15k in debt. Most of this debt is Hospital bills from 2008 (no health insurance) and a student loan from trying to put myself through school, I didn't have enough money to survive(rent, food, pg&e, or even transportation to and from school) so I dropped out before finishing so that I may work. I don't want to live in poverty forever but I'm having a hard time receiving another student loan. I make $1600mo and $1000 of that goes on rent alone. How do I even begin to start clearing my debt??
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Sep, 2011
      Bill
      I have no magic solution for you. Make a budget, and eliminate non-essential expenses. Use the no-cost, no-gimmick Bills.com Debt Coach online resource to help you understand your debt resolution options.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Sep, 2011
      Mo
      ...and find another place to live. Only 1/3 of what you make should go towards rent. I make about 3200 per month and i cringe at paying 800 for rent...and I live in an higher living expense state. You have to cut corners wherever you can...do you have friends that are good with their money? Talk to them and ask what their budget looks like and if they'd help you create your budget. Good Luck!
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Sep, 2011
    Alexis
    My home foreclosed last October and it was a 80/20 arm loan. In Arizona, we are an anti-deficiency state and so we didn't have to pay back the debt. But the 20% arm loan was with Bank of America and they are showing it as a home equity line of credit. They have not closed the account and keep sending us bills. How long can they keep it open, because as of now my credit report shows that I have late payments for this one account every month. Other than my foreclosure I pay my bills on time and never have been late. I called Bank of America asking them to close the account and they told me that they can not close the account unless the debt is satisfied and current. Can they keep it open or will it be wiped off my credit report after 7 years?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Sep, 2011
      Bill
      If your second was a purchase money loan, then it is covered by Arizona's anti-deficiency laws and may not be collected. Consult with an Arizona lawyer who has experience in real property or civil litigation law. See the "Arizona Foreclosure" subheading in the Bills.com resource Arizona Collection Laws for a discussion of this issue.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Sep, 2011
      Manny
      could you tell me what options i have for a similar situation. we short sold our home. the primary settled for less than full and our second mortgage released the lien for a small amount but not the debt (as I expected) . now the resurgent mortgage has the 2nd mortgage and they have continued with the account as open but delinquent and a last payment showing in 1/2009 and a past due of approximately 13k, we short sold in 4/2010. what could we do , by the way balance for second mortgage is about 43k.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Sep, 2011
      Bill
      Your mortgage debt is now an unsecured debt, so you can employ strategies used for dealing with unsecured debt. By the way, it's not clear to me if Resurgent is actively pursuing collections against you at this time.

      You can speak to a bankruptcy attorney, to see if you are eligible to discharge your debt via a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If you can, you don't have to file for bankruptcy. You can use the fact that you're eligible for discharging the debt to negotiate a low-dollar settlement. The creditor will likely accept a small cash offer than get nothing. If you can file for bankruptcy, offer as little as 5-10 cents on the dollar.

      If you can't file for bankruptcy, you can lie low and wait to see how aggressively collections are pursued or you can try to work out some kind of payment plan.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Sep, 2011
    Andrea
    A collection agency is contacting me regarding a debt from years ago. The debt has fallen off my credit report, however if I pay the debt (or the settlement they are asking me) can that show up on my credit report? I am just trying to figure out how to handle.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Sep, 2011
      Bill
      First, check to see if the debt has passed the statute of limitations. You may not have an obligation to pay it. If that is the case, don't pay a penny and send a cease and desist letter to the creditor, without acknowledging that you owe the debt. Making payments can bring a dead debt back to life

      Please read about debt collection on an old debt.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Aug, 2011
    Doug
    Hi, I have an account with AMEX that was charged off with a balance a bit over $9,000 due to being laid off about a year ago. Been back at work now for close to 6 months and would like to pay it back (This was my only credit blemish) as I'm making the same income I used to. My question: Since this is charged off, no matter if I pay in full it's going to affect my credit history/score. What's the best approach to this? Thanks!
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Sep, 2011
      Bill
      Your best bet, since the R9 or chargeoff status has already occurred and will not magically disappear, is to offer a reduced balance settlement and pay the debt off for a discount. This will show as a chargeoff that was settled or settled in full. Then take your savings and invest in either credit repair or in establishing a better credit record going forward.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Sep, 2011
      Doug
      So what you're saying is that since it's been charged off, there is a very unlikely chance they will delete this incident from my report if I paid in full? This is the only blemish on my report as my 3 other CC's are always paid on time or have no balance. My AMEX was a Gold charge card, hence it ending up going to collections and charged off. If this is the case, what is your recommended start of negotiations? .20 or .25 on the dollar? I appreciate your prompt response and thank you for the mind share.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Sep, 2011
      Bill
      You can start at 25 cents, but expect a high counter offer. Can you demonstrate a financial hardship that gives the creditor an incentive to settle for a small amount? If not, it may depend on whether the debt is in the hands of a collection agency that bought the debt or one that is hired as a contractor to collect on it. Either way, it is often a good time to reach a settlement at the end of the month or the end of the quarter (end of September), when the collectors are trying to hit their own quotas for bringing in money.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Aug, 2011
    Olga
    Back in 2007, after a job loss, I fell behind in all my payments (2 mortgages and 3 credit card bills). After 6 months, I found a new job and started a payment plan with all credit cards in question. I've been paying diligently and without fail since late 2007. On one of them - Amex - I had been paying thru the legal firm they had at the time (James West) on an automatic payment. About a year into my payments, I had not realized that 2 months went by and they had not taken their normal payment. Instead I received a court summons from a new legal group (Zwicker) who asked and received a judgement against me on Amex's behalf. I did not even fight this since I was not disputing that I owed them anything. I had never gotten anything saying there had been a change in collection folks. I started paying them monthly right away and have been paying ever since. I now have this judgement against me and I'm not sure how that will affect me or not. I called them the other day asking why I was not getting any "credit" on my credit report for paying every month on time and they told me that it will only be updated as paid upon paying the entire debt off. Target actually had charged theirs off too but have been reporting it as a payment plan and have actually contributed positively to my credit score. Zwicker looked it up on my credit report and saw that and they were dumbfounded. Who's right here?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Sep, 2011
      Bill
      I believe that the collection agency is acting within the law, and that it is not required to report a monthly payment on your collection account. You can check with an attorney that specializes in Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) violations to get an authoritative answer. Readers, do you have any feedback?
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Aug, 2011
    Amy
    Hi Bill, I have a couple of credit card accounts that were charged off in 2004. I know they are soon to fall off my credit report. They were turned over to collections and the debt seems to keep moving from collection agency to collection agency. The problem I'm having is that the collection agencies report this debt every single month on my credit report. When I tried to get an apartment, I was denied because they said I had too much recent activity. Are they allowed to keep reporting on my debt every month like that? If not, how can I get them to stop? Thanks!
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Aug, 2011
      Bill
      Please read about re-aging debt, which is what the debt collectors are doing. That article gives you advice on what steps to take to dispute the debt, so it is accurately reported on your credit report.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Aug, 2011
    Mary
    I'm writing in about my husband's credit. He has two accounts that are only showing up on one CRA each. The first account is a medical bill in the amount of $500, with a date of 9/07 on Transunion. The second account is an old retail store account (Fashion Bug) with a balance of $120, open date of 01/01 and showing on Experian. What would be the best course of action to take with these two accounts? The Fashion bug account should be past the 7.5 years, right?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Aug, 2011
      Bill
      Dispute the 10-year-old-derogatory appearing on the Experian report. The 2007 derogatory should fall off the TransUnion report in early 2015. If this derogatory is inaccurate, dispute it, too.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Aug, 2011
    Mandi
    I had a collection agency contact me yesterday regarding a Chase credit card that was charged off and purchased by another lender in July 2007. The amount owed at the time of the charge off was $7,677. According to my credit report Pinnacle purchased the debt and has continued to add charges to the debt (now at $10,300) The CA left me messages saying she needs my "testimony" and if she didn't hear from me she will "be in court this afternoon" but she never stated who she worked for. When I called her she told me she was not a lawyer but Chase it about to file suit in the county (didn't state which one) and that if they do this I will be responsible for the $10,300 plus attorneys fees, court costs, etc. She then stated she was not an attorney but had the power to report our coversation to the court. She offered a settlement of $4,120 and I told her I didn't have that amount, she asked me what I could afford. I said I may be able to come up with $2,000 she said she will have to take it to Chase to see if they would accept this amount. I asked her why she was going to Chase when they had charged this off sold it, her response was the account had been returned to Chase as refusal to pay. This is when she told me she was recording our conversation, this confused me so I asked her who she worked for and she didn't say anything. I then told her I needed her company's name, address, and a fax number which she finally gave me. (CRS & Associates, in Dallas, TX) I asked her if paying this would get this off my credit report and if the collection calls would end and she told me yes. She called me back that afternoon (I recorded the conversation this time) and said Chase would settle for $2,060 and that I had to pay by August 31. I told her I needed proof in writing of the original debt, the terms of the settlement (removal from credit reports and settlement price)and proof the debt would be resolved completely before I would agree to pay anything. She said she could do that but I needed to be aware that if I paid by check or debit card it would take up to 90 days to receive a settlement of debt notification but I could wire or Western Union the money to receive the settlement notification within the week. I again told her I need the things I requested in writing, to which she asked for my email address to send them to. She has never notified me by mail (nor did she ask to verify my home address) but she called my work. I'm not sure what to do in this situation or how to handle going forward. This is the only account I've ever had that went to collections/charge off. I'm considering finding an attorney that knows the laws. What advice can you give me?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Aug, 2011
      Bill
      First, the talk about "being in court this afternoon" is almost certainly untrue. You should have received notification of a hearing if it were. The next time the collection agent mentions a court appearance, ask her to fax or e-mail you the summons so that you can ask your lawyer to appear at the hearing.

      The talk about the collection agent recording your conversation is also probably untrue, because the conversation would then contain the collection agent telling you that a court date was within hours. It is a violation of the FDCPA to threaten a lawsuit if none is planned. If you have a recording of the collection agent making that claim, then contact a lawyer who specializes in consumer law. You may have a cause of action against the collection agent.

      You may be compressing together and mixing your negotiations for a resolution of the debt, and the debt validation. Validate the debt first. If the collection agent cannot validate the debt, it may not be reported on your credit report, nor can it be collected. Validate the date, then negotiate.

      I encourage readers to consult with lawyers in their states when they have legal issues to resolve.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Aug, 2011
      Mandi
      Thanks for the quick reply! I asked her to send me proof of debt. Is that what I need to validate the debt? She told me she'd send an email notification of the settlement terms but didn't mention the proof. In the future, I intend on recording every conversation I have with her & saving her voicemails (she referenced the testimony & court appearance in the vm from yesterday.) Does talking to her & having her send me a settlement offer/terms restart the statute of limitations on the debt? It is all very confusing to me. I'm really considering hiring an attorney
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Aug, 2011
      Bill
      Follow the link I mentioned in my earlier reply to learn how to validate a debt properly.

      Generally speaking, negotiating an accord and satisfaction, a settlement in other words, is not an acknowledgement that resets the statute of limitations. There are public policy reasons for this rule. If negotiating reset the statute of limitations automatically, then no one would be encouraged to discuss out of court settlements. The result would be a huge influx of court cases involving debt, which the courts could not handle. Courts encourage out-of-court settlements. That said, take care when sending written correspondence to a collection agent when negotiating a settlement. Do not say, "I want to resolve the debt I owe you." Do say, "I want to resolve account No. 123-ABC you have listed in my name."

      Consult with a lawyer in your state who has experience in consumer law to learn more about your rights and liabilities when resolving debt.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Aug, 2011
    Wes
    I recently tried to get a Citibank credit card. I was denied because of charge off which happened in 1990, yes, 21 years ago! The supervisor said that I just needed to wait until "it goes to archive." She could not give a definitive answer as to how long that may take. Further stated that I would never get a Citi card until that does goes to archive or until the "rules" changed. I guess the banks have every right to hold onto any charge-offs as long as they want. If not, I'd love to hear how to get this cleared up.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Aug, 2011
      Bill
      Is the charge-off in question appearing on your credit report? If so, dispute the derogatory that should have been removed from your credit report(s) 14 years ago.

      Was the charge-off with Citibank? If so, Citi has the option to never do business with you again, just as you have the option to never darken Citi's door again if you wish.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Aug, 2011
      Wes
      Bills.com, It is not showing on my credit report. The charge-off was with Citi. I understand they are hesitant to give me another Citi card and get burned again. I currently have 1 with them, 11k limit, always paid in full (to zero balance) and on time. *sigh* I guess I'm lucky to have that one from them! Thanks for the quick reply.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Aug, 2011
      Bill
      It is odd that the situation from over 20 years ago is a barrier to getting another card, especially when you were able to open a card with the same creditor that has an $11,000 limit and on which you have a sterling payment record. That does not make a lot of sense. Go figure.

      It's not clear to me what benefit you would obtain by opening the new Citi account. Is it some special offer? If so, there may be other creditors with similar offers and other creditors will not take into account nor have any knowledge of the 21 year old charge-off.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Aug, 2011
    Cristen
    A couple of years ago, my husband and I started in a debt management program. The only debt in my name was originally from CIT Bank who then sold it to Vericrest Financial. Our DMP counselor negotiated the debt with Vericrest and we began making payments in Feb of 2009. A year later the debt was paid off and I received a letter from Vericrest stating the account was paid in full along with the last check we sent. A few months ago I got a letter from a new collector saying I still owed the money. I faxed the letter from Vericrest along with a list of payments made from the debt management program and never heard from them again. Now I've received a letter from a new collector (this one's a rude lawyer, too) saying he represents Vericrest and I still owe the flipping money! He told me it was on my credit report so I checked all three bureaus and Vericrest charged it off and from what I can see at different dates in 2009 but after we started making payments. Our counselor told me to file a dispute with the bureaus but that only seemed to make matters worse. Now my credit report says I owe more money than the debt was for. This is the only ugly thing on our reports and it's really frustrating me! Especially because we're almost debt free! Do I call Vericrest or do I have to deal with the snotty lawyer and his snide remarks? I'm not even sure he really represents Vericrest or if he's just another collector who bought the debt.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Aug, 2011
      Bill
      I agree with your debt counselor that disputing was the proper step to take. I don't understand why the credit bureaus did not accept the letter from the creditor that the debt was paid in full. I think you should follow up with the credit bureaus again.

      Tell the snotty lawyer that regardless of what shows on your report that you have a letter from the creditor stating that the debt is paid in full. Don't be bullied by him. I agree with your suspicion that he is not working for Vericrest, but is likely a debt collector who purchased the debt.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Aug, 2011
    Nashonda
    Hi my credit score is currently 567. I have 5 old accounts in collections, 1st $800 to be removed from credit report in 2012, 2nd $320 remove from report in 2012, 3rd $180 to be removed from report in 2014, 4th $373 to be removed from report in 2013 and 5th $800 to be removed from report in 2014. All five are in collections, the only other thing that's on my credit report is my student loans which are in good standing. I plan to pay off all 5 collection accounts by the end of the year. By paying them off could my credit score go over 600 being that it now stands at 567 or will it remain the same? and will my student loans hinder my credit score going up even if I pay all the collections in full? I have about $15,000 in student loans.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Aug, 2011
      Bill
      Your credit score is influenced by both positive and negative items. Your student loans, if you pay them responsibly, improve your score. When you take out debt and pay it back as agreed, you demonstrate that lending you money is not risky. However, when you let accounts go to collections, you demonstrate that you are a poor credit risk.

      When you pay off old debts, it is possible that your score can drop at first. This is because recent activity influences your score more than old activity. Paying on an old debt increases that debt's weight on your credit report. Still, paying off the debts, bringing them to a $0 balance, will have a positive effect on your score, even if it drops initially.

      You should have three active accounts in good standing at all times, in order to build or maintain your credit score. Ideally, you should aim to have a mix of accounts, such as consumer credit accounts, car payments, or mortgages. Your student loans count, too. If you don't have other accounts, open one up, even if you have to get a secured credit card, due to your current low credit score.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jul, 2011
    James
    Hopefully someone out there can help me because I can't think what else might work. Got divorced and 1 account became seriously delinquent in 2000. The account was sold in 2007 to a collection agency. There was no activity on the account for those 7 years. Because I wasn't sure if the account was my ex's I requested information on the debt starting in 2005. No one has ever been able to provide me any information on the debt. I have disputed it on my credit report and it would get removed for a while then placed back on. The only dates being reported on my report is the date the accoubnt was opened 1999 and the date the account was sold or charged off 2007. On all my other accounts with Experian they show the history of the account and even say when the account is scheduled to be removed. But not with this account. Am I right to think the account should have been removed about 7.5 years from the first major delinquency? So the original creditor kept the account for the 7 years then sold it when they couldn't report on it anymore. Except. . .they are using the date the account was sold. They have left off very important dates which would show it should have been removed several years ago. I've written to the original creditor and to Experian and they refuse to fix it. Does anyone have any ideas for what I should try next and is my understanding of the 7 year time limit correct?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Jul, 2011
      Bill
      From what you describe, the account should not be on your report. The fact that only Experian is showing the account seems to demonstrate that, too. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act Section 605 (a)(4) and 605 (c)(1), the seven year period starts with the first delinquency.

      I think that there are two steps you can take:
      1. Speak with an attorney. You may have a case against both Experian and the collection agency.
      2. You should report the facts of your situation to the FTC at:
        Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Consumer Response Center - FCRA
        Washington DC 20580
        Telephone 877-382-4357
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jun, 2011
    Tavo
    I have a motorcycle that i haven't paid over 6 years and no repossession came in place but my credit went bad low. Just this year the bike has been stolen. I do not have the title but should I receive the title now since it has been charged off no letters has come from the first year since then. Can I ask for the title since I have been suffering over 6 years now with my credit score to get insurance involved ?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Jun, 2011
      Bill
      By all means, open a negotiation with the creditor to resolve the issue with the title. In the meantime, you can still file a police report.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    May, 2011
    Esmer
    I have a charge off on my credit report. I understand that it will be removed 7 1/2 yrs after the 1st delinquency, however I want to pay it off. If I pay it off to the third party agency will the paid charge off be removed 7 1/2 yrs after the original delinquency date or the date I paid it off?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      May, 2011
      Bill
      Under the FCRA, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the date of first delinquency is the significant date. The date of any settlement or payment is irrelevant to the 7-year rule.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Feb, 2011
    Dustin
    I have an old account with Citibank which is showing up as a charge off on my credit report. I called today to try and pay the account in full to hopefully get them to change it to a paid status instead. However they will not let me pay anything on it because they have already written off this debt. So do i have any options to remedy this? I don't want to wait 3 more years for this to fall off my credit report and it is the only thing I have left that is affecting my score.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Feb, 2011
      Bill
      It can be frustrating dealing with old and charged off debt accounts. I commend you for working to take care of this issue.

      I don't know, but I am guessing that your account is no longer owned by Citibank. I believe that Citi sold your account to a thrid-party debt collector. Otherwise, Citi would have no problem collecting the money owed. The fact that the account is in charge-off status does not stop Citi from collecting on the account in and of itself.

      I suggest that you view your credit reports. You can get a free credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com. The collection agency should be listed on your report and you may find their phone number at the back of the report. If there is no phone number, use the collection agency's name to do a search for them online.

      If you can't find anything useful on your credit report, then you can try calling Citi back. Speak with a supervisor and try to find out to whom they sold the account.

      Please report back and let me know if my advice for dealing with old and charged off debt helped you.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Feb, 2011
      Dustin
      Thanks for the fast reply! I called back yesterday and talked to a different agent. He said they had already sent out a 1099-C form to me basically telling me that the debt had been forgiven and I no longer owed it but that would not change the charge off status on my report since technically I never paid the account. I asked if I paid the debt anyway if they would give me a letter saying that it had a zero balance so that I could send that to the credit bureau. He said they would do that but that is all they would do they could not change the status of the account on my credit report even if I paid the balance since it had already been forgiven. Hopefully this will be the right decision. I have no problem paying the balance since I do owe it and hopefully will be favorable to my report if is shows a paid charge off instead of just charge off. Also one other thing, the people I spoke to were actually an internal collection agency for citibank which is why I had no 3rd party collection agency appearing on my report for this debt. Thanks again. Dustin
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Feb, 2011
      Bill
      Paying off the charged-off debt will cause the account to now show a $0 balance, which is far better than having the debt remain active. The charge off notation is already on your account, so you have already suffered the damage from that. Paying off the debt will improve your score. Another advantage to paying off the debt is that you close the matter; you prevent the debt from popping up down the road in a way that could lead to a wage or bank levy.

      Make sure to save all the paperwork you exchange with the creditor. You want to keep proof that you paid the debt in full, just in case the 1099-C that was issued to you prompts some IRS action down the road. In fact, I recommend that you speak with a tax professional, to find out if you need to account for the 1099-C on your return, as a way of making sure that the issue does not pop up in the future.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Feb, 2011
      Nicole
      I'm in a similar situation and found this site while trying to understand the phrase "charge off". I have reviewed my credit report and know what accounts are with a collections group except one - the largest balance. I called the agency it was I guess sold to? last year - the last response I have is from August of last year. The rep says I have to call the bank to find out where the account is because it was no longer on their books. So I am confused and not really sure what I even need to ask the bank.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Feb, 2011
      Bill
      Your debt is, at the moment, in limbo. Wait a month or two and get a free, no-gimmick copy of one of your credit reports from AnnualCreditReport.com and see who owns the collection account in question. Collection agents buy and sell collection accounts for pennies on the dollar, so start your negotiations at 10 or 15 cents on the dollar, and take it from there. Ask for a pay for delete.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Mar, 2011
      Dom
      Some time ago, I had a checking account written/charged off by my bank. Now, my wife wants to add me to her bank account. Will this be a problem?
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Mar, 2011
      Bill
      I don't think there is a simple, accurate answer to your question, but I will make a couple of observations.
      • I think the risk is greatest, if your wife is trying to add you to her account at the same bank where you had your debt written off. If it is a different bank, I think the risk is minimal.
      • If it is the same bank, you could speak to them about opening your own account. If they are willing to open one in your name, then I think there would not be problem.

      Because I don't want you to be added to your wife's account and then have that account garnished because of an old debt you have, I suggest you speak with an attorney in your area, who could advise of how great a risk you are facing.

      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Nov, 2010
    Once a CA has sold my account to another agency does the 7year period starts over again on my credit report with the new CA?
    1 Votes

    • 35x35
      Nov, 2010
      Bill
      No! No! No! The 7½-year rule states the clock starts at the date of first delinquency. Subsequent account activity, such as your paying-off the account or collection agents buying and selling your collection account, is irrelevant.
      1 Votes

  • 35x35
    Nov, 2010
    Kevin
    I have several delinquent accounts on my credit report. Some are charge offs and some say they are still open. I'm looking to pay the ones first that are still "open". I know if you pay a charged off account is remains on there for 7 or so years but says paid, but what about an "open" account? If I pay them in full, will it still show for 7 years or will it come off quicker than that? I guess I'm hoping that the open accounts will be erased completly after a month or so. Thanks!
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Nov, 2010
      Bill
      Derogatory entries on a credit report appear for seven years, regardless of subsequent activity. Your paying the account will partially offset the damage caused to your credit score.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Aug, 2010
    Bill
    I know of no laws requiring creditors to notify debtors when a debt is charged off. As I tried to explain above, charge-off is irrelevant to the consumer from a legal perspective. A charged-off debt is still a debt owed by the debtor. Regarding the second part of your question, yes, a defendant must be given adequate notice of a lawsuit. That is an iron-clad rule of civil procedure in all state and federal courts. If a judge agrees the plaintiff did not give the defendant adequate notice of the lawsuit according to the laws of that jurisdiction, then the judge must dismiss the case. Consult with an attorney in your state who has experience in consumer law to learn more about your rights.
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Aug, 2010
    Kay
    Good information. I can use this! But what do you do when the charge - off went to collections and you never got a notice then to an attorney and find you are being sued? Isn't there a statue of limitation or procedures they must follow? Thanks Kay
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Aug, 2010
    Bill
    Yes, state laws allow what you described. The maximum amount of interest varies by state.
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Aug, 2010
    Davea
    Question for you- Can a collection agency charge me accruing interest on the account even when it is charged off?
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jun, 2010
    Bill
    You are stuck because you a) want to repair your friend's credit report, but b) fear your doing so will initiate collections activity. You are dealing with five different original creditors who in all likelihood sold each collection account to different collection agents. Your main issue can be summarized as, "Should I dispute a collection account that appears on a credit report?" My general answer to that question is no. As implied in your question, the date of first delinquency on these accounts is five years of age or less. The appearance of the collection accounts on your friend's credit report is a form of leverage the collection agents have in collecting the debt. If you dispute the unpaid collection accounts, the collection agent will almost certainly respond to the dispute. Your disputing the collection account is a signal to the collection agent that the debtor wants to clean-up their credit report, and may initiate collections efforts to take advantage of the debtor's motivation. See Disputing Credit Report for details.

    A better sequence of events is to resolve the debts one by one. The collection agents bought the collection accounts for pennies on the dollar, so start your negotiations at 10 cents on the dollar. Ask for a pay for delete on the account, which will remove the derogatory and help boost the debtor's credit score.
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jun, 2010
    Terry
    Hi Bill, I'm trying to help my boyfriend repair his credit. He's been back and forth overseas letting his accounts charge off. The credit reports doesn't show the original creditors but is showing the 3rd party. Can the original and the 3rd party both report negatively on the credit bureau? I also found some accounts where it shows 120 days past due for over 2 years and then recently charged off...confused can this be disputed for an incorrect charge off date? He doesn't want to have an agencys' help; only mine. My concern is that I don't think the 3rd parties can find him to contact him about these accounts. If I send a letter for the last activity date, last payment date, and the balance that was written off they will try to sue since they will have a valid address. I don't want to cause more problems I just want to help. If he can't afford to pay them off in full should we wait the remaining 7 years or do a settlement on the charged off account? Does that restart the 7 years reported on the credit bureau? He has 5 charged off accounts totaling about $8K with a charge off date ranging from 1 to 5 years please help. Thank you.
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jun, 2010
    Bill
    A charge-off appearing on your credit report will not increase your credit score. It will do the opposite. See the Bills.com resource Charge Off to understand why.
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jun, 2010
    ciscogirl
    well i cosigned for my friend back in 03 but she past away in a car wreck and the insurance company paid 11000 of the car but it kept coming out as a charge off on my account i called the auto finance and they said that there is a balance of 4000 so they will be notifing the credit bureaus so by that being done will it boost my credit score
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    May, 2010
    Bill
    Your mother-in-law should trust her memory. Validate the debt with the collection agent. Your mother-in-law's time to do so is limited under law, so do not delay. If the collection agent can validate the debt, then she will be provided the evidence necessary to show that she either opened the account and used it, or provide evidence she is a victim of identity theft. If the collection agent cannot validate the debt, then the debt is noncollectable.
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    May, 2010
    Steve
    Bill, My eighty year old mother in law has been living with us for a year now. We recently received a bill from B&T Financial Services who I assume to be a collection arm of a company named Pinnacle. They purchased a credit card debt from Chase that originally was First USA Bank NA. The charge off was several years ago and I'm certainly not interested in helping the collection agency prove this is her debt, but she never remembers this credit card and mentally she is still pretty sharp. However, her other daughter is fully capable of doing something like this. Taking out this card in her name and never telling her about it when she was living with her mother. I ran a credit report and challenged it. They "updated" it, so it's still there. Who would I go to to get a copy of the original application and what are the chances of actually getting a copy of it to see the handwriting? Thanks and thanks also for this great service you are providing!!
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Mar, 2010
    Bill
    Contact the creditors listed and ask for details. The fact that there are so many accounts and that you seem to know nothing about them leads me to conclude there has either been a huge error where the credit reporting agency confused you with someone else, or you may be a victim of identity theft.
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Mar, 2010
    Jerry
    Hey Bill, just checked my credit report and on a credit card bill, it showed this a total of 10 different charge offs. The most recent Feb 2010 and the very first charge of shows a date of May 2004. What does this mean? I understand what charge offs are but why did I have a total of ten?
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Mar, 2010
    Terri
    I have two issues on my recent credit report, one is a redundant posting. I had a Providian Account, my wallet was stolen and I was issued a new card (the debt was not disputed), WAMU bought out Providian and Chase bought out WAMU. I paid off the entire balance at Chase and closed it, but it now shows all three accounts, two open accounts for Providian which no longer exists and the closed Chase account. I disputed this same entry two years ago, and it was never removed. They show I pay as agreed and no late charges, but it shows 2 open accounts one with a balance owed, and the other with the balance area blank, which is still deceiving showing I have open credit when I don't. The second issue, is a disputed First Omni card. I had this card over 20 years ago haven't used it since then. The card had been in mine and my husband's name. I quit using the card when we separated 23 years ago. and I moved out of the state. He filed bankruptcy about 4 years ago and 2 years ago when I went to purchase a home, the Omni account showed up. I contacted him, he said he hadn't used it or heard from them in over 20 years himself, and it never showed up on his report. He had his attorney look into it, and they couldn't find anything. The account had "name unknown" as the debtor. I disputed this as, if nothing else, it was over 20 years old and past the SOL. It was removed and my purchase went forward, now I have recently gotten a copy of my credit report, and there it is again, with new dates. Also they have it posted 3 times. One for over 11,000, and two in amounts that equal 11,000. I never had a card with a limit of anywhere near what that could be. Have I no recourse from these people? I have no debts, I own one card and consistently paid more than required and before it is due. Now I am being told that I show too much debt. I owe about 1000 dollars, not counting my home.
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Mar, 2010
    Bill
    It is unclear to me from the facts in your message if the account in question is actually yours. You may be a victim of identity theft.
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Feb, 2010
    Bill
    I do not know of a legal means to remove a person as co-signatory of the loan under the circumstances described. As a co-signer, you are guaranteeing payment in case the primary borrower defaults. The lender will report the account as a derogatory item on your credit reports if the primary borrower fails to pay.
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Feb, 2010
    kari
    I opened a business account for my boyfriends business (me being a cosigner) and he has since filed bankruptcy. He could not turn this account in with his bankruptcy filings since I was the one that opened the business account. This is on my credit report as a charge off. Is there anyway I can get this off of my credit report? The account was in his company's name
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Feb, 2010
    Natalie
    Thanks so very much. I will research those links.. The FTC has so much info that sometimes it's hard to focus on the right one. I'm fighting the BIG Cap One, but I won't stop yet. I need to find out what obligation the credit card company and/or the coll. agency has to mitigate the circumstances. Yes, I broke a contract, basically, but there must be reasonable expectations of all parties to settle the account. By the way, my breach was caused by loss of business due to outsourcing and a hospitalization - not because I just didn't want to pay. Again, thank you for your help and for the work you are doing for others. I will keep you posted as to how this turns out, and maybe it can help someone else.
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jan, 2010
    Bill
    First, read the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Second, learn your state laws for the maximum amount of interest and fees that can be added to a collection account. It would not surprise me to learn the collection agent added an illegal amount of interest or fees to your collection account. Take this information to an attorney in your state who has experience in consumer law, and ask him or her if you have a cause of action under the FDCPA. If so, hire the attorney, and let him or her write letters to the creditor in anticipation of filing a lawsuit.
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jan, 2010
    Vittoria
    This is a stumper. How do I get this fixed? 2005: Cap One charged off my debt of $4200. Van Ru Coll. Agency contacted me. I agreed to settle for $2000. By fax, I asked that this agreement be put in writing. They never would put it in writing. I sent Van Ru my cashier's check for $2000 anyway, as agreed, and since they would not give me a written agreement, I put what they called a "restricted endorsement" on the back of the check. (Basically saying that cashing the check was settlement in full.) They returned my check and wanted an additional $123. I agreed reluctantly, again asking for this to be put in writing. I never heard from them again. Fast forward to Nov. 2009. SOL in California is 4 years. We apply for a re-fi, which was approved, but the $4200 on my credit report has to be cleared up first. (It's the only derogatory on my credit.) After 4 years, I forgot the details of this mess. Thinking I paid it with the $2000, I pull all my records, call Cap One and also file a dispute with Equifax. Equifax reports back that they "verified" the account with Cap One. In other words, they never investigated anything. AFTER my formal dispute, Cap One reported a new amount owed of OVER $8,000! They've added $4,000+ interest. So, on my credit report, in less than a month, $4,000+ was added to this charged off account. I went back to Cap One Recovery and spoke with a "manager." I sent her a fax requesting a settlement amount. She did not respond. I re-sent the fax on 1/6/10. No one from Cap One has ever responded. Now we cannot get the re-fi because Underwriting Dept. says anything over $250 has to be cleared before the loan is signed. I will not agree to pay $8000! What can I do about this? 1) Is it legal for them to add interest after four years? They have reported to the CRAs the amount of $4,000 and added interest only AFTER my dispute, for the first time since 2005. I feel it's retaliatory. 2) Who can I contact/complain to? The FTC? Our State Attorney General? 3) Should I re-dispute it with Equifax? 4) Should I send a letter to the CEO of Capital One? I have spent hours researching my options. I have found no one with this predicament. Any help at all is greatly appreciated. Thank you.
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jan, 2010
    Bill
    "Charge-off" or "write-off" means the account is no longer current and, for accounting purposes, cannot be included as a current asset by the creditor. An account being charged-off has no legal significance to a debtor. The fact an account is charged-off does not mean the debt is forgiven, disappears, or is no longer collectable. Ignore that your account is charged-off -- charge-off means nothing to you. It may be legally significant that you did not receive notification of the lawsuit against you. You should have received a summons to appear for a hearing. Consult with a consumer rights attorney in your state to learn if you can have the judgment against you vacated for failure of service of process.
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jan, 2010
    Dawn
    I had a judgment that I was never informed of until there was a levy on my account. Now my biggest thing about this is that Pressler & Pressler told the court in this judgment that they were representing Capital One. Capital One was listed as the Plaintiff. However once I called Pressler & Pressler the woman could not answer me about when this credit account was started only had last couple of statements that were sent to me. Also she admitted that Capital One charged this off before it came to their office. My credit report also showed that Capital One had charged it off. How can they say they were representing Capital One to the court if it was already charged off?
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jan, 2010
    Tracie
    Thank you very much for your info. I appreciate your good advice!
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jan, 2010
    Bill
    It is not uncommon for the original creditor to sell, or "charge off", an account to a collection agent. Once sold to a collection agent, this new creditor has the right to sell the account to another collection agent. Ultimately, you should only have to pay one collection agent, or creditor. You may want to dispute or validate the debt with the collection agent. I recommend you visit our Debt - Self Help Center. Here you can find forms to dispute or validate the debt, and help you determine who owns the debt. To learn more, please read Collections Advice.
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jan, 2010
    Debi
    My 2008 Capital One $300.00 credit limit credit card is showing on my report as charged off. I received a letter from another company (LVNV) stating Cap One was the original creditor but LVNV is now the creditor for this debt. Next I received a letter Resurgent Capital stating it is attempting to collect this debt. I don't understand at this point who owns the debt. I am 100% disabled living on a 100% fixed disability income and cannot afford to pay all three companies this $300.00 debt that is now listed by Capital One and LVNV on my credit report as a $1,011.00 debt. The credit bureaus refused to remove the debt when I disputed it. Question is, Can all three companies own this one debt and who do I owe? You may reply on this website and to my email.. Thank you
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jan, 2010
    Bill
    The statute of limitations is a DEFENSE a defendant can raise in a lawsuit. It is not a test or a barrier to filing the lawsuit. Consult with an attorney in your state who has experience in civil litigation to determine which statute of limitations applies and what you need to file with the court.
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jan, 2010
    kim
    I had a car repoed in Florida in Febuuary 2003, I now live in TN.The creditor American General Finance has served me with a civil summons to appear in court for March 2010.I thought the SOL for them to sue me was 6 years.I had my credit report pulled from all three bureaus and all but one shows it to fall off in January 2010 the other one shows July 2010.I am not sure what to do.Do I go to court or is there some papers I need to file. Is my SOL up and if so what do I do.
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Dec, 2009
    Tracie
    Thank you very much for your info. I appreciate your good advice!
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Dec, 2009
    Bill
    The term "charged-off" has significance to accountants. The term has no significance in law. “Charge off” is an accounting term used by creditors, meaning that a creditor has transferred an account from its “accounts receivable” books to its “bad debt” ledger; credit issuers are required to do this by the federal Office of the Comptroller of Currency, in an attempt to prevent banks from inflating future earnings statements with old and defaulted accounts. For the consumer, the only real consequence of an account charging off is that the account will report as a negative item on the consumers’ credit reports. Charge-off does not mean the consumer no longer owes the debt. Despite what it sounds like, an account being charged off does not forgive the consumer for liability for the debt in question. Regarding your question about the fees, I cannot answer your question specifically because you did not include the amount you are paying monthly or the loan's interest rate. If you are paying a small amount each month, then what the creditor is doing is reasonable.
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Dec, 2009
    Tracie
    My car is labeled "charged off" on my credit report for the amount of $2,930 in the state of AL. I now reside in GA and have been making payments on that same car. However when I request a receipt from the loan company it does not reflect any payments made. When I questioned the loan compnay about this they said the payment I'm making goes to late charges and interest. My question is legally can they continue to charge me interest and late fees on a charged off debt without any of that money going to the principle balance?
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Oct, 2009
    Bill
    Trish, just because the statute of limitations is reached for a debt, that does not mean the creditor cannot continue to try to collect on the debt. See the first three sections of my answer Charge Off, Credit Report, Statute of Limitations & Merged Creditors for more information on this nuance in the law. You can send the collection agent a "Cease Communication Demand" letter, a sample of which you can find at the Bills.com debt self-help center. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) the collection agent must discontinue calling you upon receipt of such a letter.
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Oct, 2009
    Bill
    Denise, under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) you have the right to send a debt collector a "Cease Communication Demand" letter. See the the Bills.com debt self-help center for a sample letter you can download and adapt for your use. See my related answers to other readers, Collections Advice and Advice on help with bills in collections for more information.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Apr, 2011
      Jen
      I have a collection agency trying to collect a debt that I paid to a different CA 16 years ago. There was another CA in the interim, and I told them the debt had been paid, but I don't have the receipt from the money order as proof. If I ask them to cease contacting me, will it re-age anything?
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Apr, 2011
      Bill
      Chances are the collection agent bought a bare account. I suggest you validate the debt. If the collection agent cannot validate the debt, then it may not report the debt, re-age the debt or attempt to collect it.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Oct, 2009
    Denise
    I have been receiving calls 3 and 4 times a day from a collection agency on a charged off department store debt that is 20 years old. I live in Texas. How can I make them stop calling me?
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Oct, 2009
    trish
    I have recently been contacted by a collection agency about an old debt. The date of last activity on the original debt is November 2002. I sent the agency a SOL letter, and disputed that I owed the debt due to SOL. I know that the original debt will be coming off my credit report in the next few months. Will the collection agency still be able to report on this debt if the original debt is no longer on my credit report for the next 7 years, or will this collection agency have to delete this debt from my report?
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Sep, 2009
    Bill
    The date the account was opened is irrelevent. What is important is the date of last activity. Dispute any entries on your credit report that are more than seven years old. See this answer I gave to another reader that shows how: Credit Report Question and Dispute.
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Sep, 2009
    Bill
    You could be sued by the creditor, which in your case would be the collection agency that purchased your debt from the original creditor. If a lawsuit is filed against you and you do nothing, you will have a judgment against you, which gives the collection agency the right to garnish your wages, levy your bank accounts, or seize your assets. See Collections Agencies, Collections Laws and Your State's Statute of Limitations for more information. You use the word "discharged." That term is usually used in conjunction with bankruptcy. I suspect that you really mean "written-off," which the creditor did at after 120 days of non-payment. Writing-off a debt is an accounting action and has nothing to do with the creditor's ability to collect on the debt.
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Sep, 2009
    jaimeson
    old debt...discharge by original creditor. 3rd party attempting to collect. 1. can they sue for the debt? 2. should i pay it if its been discharged.
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Aug, 2009
    Bill
    Let me rephrase what you've written so I understand it. You bought something from Time Life for $129.91, and still owe the company $29.99. You tried to pay the company in 2007, but something failed during the transaction and they never got paid. Two years pass. Time Life sold the debt to a collection agent and can't tell you which collector bought it. The debt is on your credit report as unpaid and you want to remove it. Question: Have you asked Time Life if the company will accept a check for the $29.99? Have you received a letter from the collection agency? If Time Life won't deal with you, and the collection agency has not contacted you, then it is time to dispute the debt.
    1 Votes

  • 35x35
    Aug, 2009
    Edna
    I paid Time Life $129.91 and sent in a payment for $29.99 but the said they never received it. Then I attempted to pay from my debit credit card account which had money in it at the time and they said it didn't go through but my bank disputed that and said that it was Time Life making that choice to reject the transaction. I called Time Life and told them I had mailed it and mentioned the funds being in the account. And they still refused it. This was in 2007 and now it's 2009 and I've been told that it was sent to a collection agency but they didn' t have the name of it. What can I do to get this off of my credit report?
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Aug, 2009
    Bill
    In a word, "no." You need to dispute any such entries on your credit report. See this answer I gave to another reader that shows how: Credit Report Question and Dispute.
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Aug, 2009
    Scott
    If I had a charge off of a credit account already negatively reported on my credit report can a 3rd party legally report the same bad debt negatively on my credit report as if it were a naew debt by assigning their own account number?
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jun, 2009
    Bill
    You will need to pay whoever owns the account at this point. Make sure to get written offer letter that specify the payoff amount and also that the collection agency will report the debt as paid in full, before you send any payments. It usually takes 30-60 days for your credit report to be updated, but will be dependent on the collection agency being timely with their reporting process.
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jun, 2009
    Brandie
    If I have chargeoffs on my credit should I pay the collection agency or the original debt holder? Also, when these accts are paid how long before they are required to update your info as being a paid acct?
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    May, 2009
    Bill
    Depending on the state that you reside in, the Statute of Limitations might have already expired on the debt. You can check for your state laws here: http://www.bills.com/collection-laws/. If you find that the debt has passed the SOL, then it might be better if you do not do anything. Please keep in mind that the SOL having expired will not stop the creditors from tring to collect on it, it just means that if they were ever to sue you in court, you would have absolute defence in that it has expired and the judge will easily dismiss the case.
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    May, 2009
    SNP
    If an account was charged off my the original creditor in 2003 and now 6 years later, a third party collection agency is trying to settle the account, will it now be another 7 years before its removed if I pay (since its the last activity)? Currently, its not even on my credit report and I'm afraid if I pay it will be added to my report by the third party company and remain there for another 7 years. Please advise.
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Mar, 2009
    Bill
    An account being charged off does not mean that you do not owe the money of that the amount owed changes, it is just an accounting transaction where in the company that originated the debt, writes it off of their books of accounts. While the collection company will try to refuse anything but the full payment, they will be open to accepting a lesser amount if you negotiate with them.
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Mar, 2009
    Sue
    What if the debt has been "charged off" with the primary debtor but the collection agency is still trying to collect on that debt? Do I have to pay the past debt in full and can the collection agency refuse my payments?
    1 Votes

  • 35x35
    Dec, 2008
    Bill
    Typically, the seven year period starts from the date of last activity (whether that is the last payment or the last charge that was made). It has no correlation to the date an account was opened. Cheerio!
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Dec, 2008
    Leah
    If the date an acct. was opened is 2001 and the 1st date of delinquency is 2002, will the debt automatically fall off the credit report in 2008 (originally opened in 2001) or in 2009 (date of first delinquency 2002) according to the seven year rule and does a request have to be made for this deletion or does it "just come off"?
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Dec, 2008
    Bill
    A charge-off is both an accounting and a credit scoring term. It generally means that an account has gone delinquent and without payment for 180 days or more. On a credit report is usually shows up and an R9 account. Since you did have a chargeoff (in the past) it will likely stay there even if you payoff or settle the debt with a 3rd party collector. You could update the account and request the original creditor to remove the negative listing (request this removal of the derrogatory from the three credit bureaus and from your creditor) with your letter that the debt has been paid. I can not make any promises, but it might work.
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Nov, 2008
    HS
    If an account has been charged off but yet sold to a 3rd party and the 3rd party had paid the debt. Can the original debt still document that the account was charged off? To the best of my knowledge a charge off meaning that is was a loss for the company and they report for govt credit. can you advice on this matter
    1 Votes

  • 35x35
    Sep, 2009
    jojo
    i have a charge off on my credit report. Acct was opened in 1994. It was charged off but on the credit report it shows no date of the charge off and no dates of activity just the date the acct was opened. I did pay this bill through a collection agency. Question is can the charge off from 1994 be removed since that is the only date showing on the report and how do i go about doing this.
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Aug, 2008
    Bill
    Once you pay the account in full, it will be reflected as a closed account with a zero balance and will stay on your credit profile for another 7 years. There is not much you can do to get it removed before that time unless you hire the services of a credit repair firm, but even then, if it is a valid entry, i doubt that you'll be able to remove it. If you are looking for a credit repair firm, a good firm is LexingtonLaw.com.
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Aug, 2008
    Wendy
    I have a "charge off" ,and I am paying a third party collections agency. Once this is paid will the charge off still be reported as such? What is the best route to take for me to get this taken off my credit report?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Mar, 2011
      tish
      You should have done a PFD or pay for delete letter. You write up a letter stating you will pay them in exchange for complete deletion of the debt from any and all credit reporting agencies.
      2 Votes

  • 35x35
    Apr, 2008
    Linda
    The 7 year period starts with the first delinquency you had not the date of charge off. You can find this reference in the Fair Credit Reporting Act Section 605 (a)(4) and 605 (c)(1).
    0 Votes