I Paid off a Collection and It’s Still on My Report, Now What?

A collection account on your credit report can damage your credit score and make it more difficult to qualify for loans, credit cards, and other forms of credit. If you have a collection account on your credit report that you believe is inaccurate or incomplete, you have the right to dispute it.

Even if they are accurate, you may have a path to get them taken off before the 7 years it takes for it to fall off naturally (this is known as a goodwill deletion). Depending on which situation you’re in, you can try a few different things to get the account taken off.

Here are the steps on how to dispute collections on your credit report:

1. Gather your documentation.
  • Before you dispute a collection account, it's important to gather any documentation that you have that supports your claim. This could include things like:
  • A copy of your credit report that shows the collection account.
  • Proof of payment, if you have already paid the debt.
  • If there’s been fraud, a letter from the creditor or debt collector admitting that the debt is not yours.
  • A copy of your police report, if the debt is the result of identity theft.
2. File a dispute with each credit bureau.

You can dispute a collection account with each of the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. You can file a dispute online, by mail, or by phone.

3. Provide supporting documentation.

When you file a dispute, be sure to provide any supporting documentation that you have gathered. You can attach this documentation to your dispute form or send it separately.

4. Wait for the credit bureaus to investigate.

Once you have filed a dispute, the credit bureaus will investigate your claim. They will contact the creditor or debt collector to get their side of the story. The process can take 30 to 45 days.

5. Get a resolution.

The credit bureaus will send you a letter letting you know the results of their investigation. If the credit bureaus find that the collection account is inaccurate or incomplete, they will remove it from your credit report. If the credit bureaus find that the collection account is accurate, they will leave it on your credit report.

Here are the steps to file for goodwill deletion:

1. Gather your information.
  • You will need to know the following information about the collection:
  • The creditor or collection agency's name and address, you can find this on your credit report.
  • Your account number
  • The date of the last payment
  • The amount of the debt
  • Your current payment history
2. Write a letter to the creditor or collection agency.

The letter should be polite and professional. You should explain why you are requesting a goodwill deletion, and you should be sure to thank the creditor or collection agency for their consideration.

3. Explain the circumstances.

In your letter, you need to explain the circumstances that led to the negative item on your credit report. If you had a financial hardship, for example, you should explain what happened and how you have since resolved the issue.

4. Be patient.

It may take some time for the creditor or collection agency to respond to your request. If you do not hear back after a few weeks, you can send a follow-up letter. It’s also important to remember that creditors are not obligated to grant your request for a goodwill deletion. However, if you write a well-crafted letter and you have a good relationship with them, you may be able to get them to remove the negative item from your credit report.

Disputing a collection account can be a time-consuming and frustrating process, but it's important to remember that you have rights. If you believe that a collection account on your credit report is inaccurate or incomplete, don't hesitate to dispute it!

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