Creditors and collection agencies are required to report only accurate information to the credit bureaus. However, it’s up to you to ensure the accuracy of your reports. While reviewing your credit report, you may have found inaccurate collection accounts. Follow these steps to help you remove collection accounts from your credit report.
Pull your credit report
Go to AnnualCreditReport.com and print out your credit report. Use a highlighter to mark the collections and delinquencies. Highlighting inaccuracies helps you visualize where to focus your efforts. It will make it easier to see the collection agency and information needing dispute.
Call the collection agency
The number of the collection agency should be on the report. Call the collection agency and request more details. Determine if the collection account was placed in error or a paid account reporting as an active collection.
If the collection is inaccurate, support your claim with documents. After review and discussion, you realize this is money you owe, request a settlement of the collection and a “pay for delete.” The “pay for delete” is considered a delete clause–upon payment, the collection record is deleted.
Get the agreement in writing
Ask for a verbal, written, or emailed agreement. Additionally, make sure you take notes of the person you’ve spoken to, the dates, times, and a brief synopsis of the conversation. You must comply with the agreement.
Review the same credit report
After you’ve satisfied the agreement, dispute the reported collection account with the credit bureau. The credit bureau will then request information from the collection agency. Depending on the information obtained from their request, you will see the collection account reported with correction information or deleted. From the date of your inquiry, credit bureaus have 30 days to respond with an answer.
If the collection account remains and is now reporting a $0 balance, you can dispute the inaccuracy again with the credit bureau. Provide your notes and the “delete clause.” Contact the collection agency and take notes of the agent’s name, the date, time, and details of the conversation again.
Dispute the information with the credit bureau
If you are unsuccessful removing the collection account, stay focused and continue to dispute with the credit bureaus, periodically. Escalate the dispute by sending a certified letter via USPS courier.
In some instances, you may contact the collection agency and after you’ve satisfied the agreement, may reply that they do not remove collection accounts. Stay calm. Continue the dispute process directly with the credit bureau and provide any updated information.
One thing to keep in mind, credit bureaus are not your enemy. They only report information shared with them. It is up to you to maintain the accuracy of your credit report. Persistence and consistency can lead to a satisfying result.