There have been plenty of issues with poor debt collection practices in Arizona over the past few years. This can make it difficult for Arizonians to know what should and what shouldn’t be on their credit reports when it comes to debt collections.
Having an account that has gone to debt collections on your credit report hurts your credit score. Therefore, it’s a good idea to get these items removed as quickly as possible. There’s too much to do and see in Arizona. You don’t want a low credit score holding you back.
The worst thing you can do about collections on your credit report is absolutely nothing. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) protects Arizonians from unnecessary credit damage. If you have accounts in debt collections, you can minimize the impact to your credit score by knowing your rights.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Handling Debt Collection Items on Your Credit Report
Sadly, there have been a number of reported incidents in Arizona where debt collectors have gone after the wrong people. This is why you should first verify that the debt is actually yours when you’re contacted by a debt collector or collection agency. If an unpaid debt that doesn’t belong to you shows up on your credit report(s), you can dispute the debt in writing and have it removed.
Even if you’re contacted about a legitimate debt, you should request debt validation. If you do this, the debt collector must provide proof that the debt is actually yours. Then, if no proof is given, or if the debt collector fails to respond, it is within your rights to have the debt removed from your credit report(s).
With debts that are validated, it’s important to remember that these items have a statute of limitations for reporting on your credit report. According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”), a charged off account must be removed from your credit reports after seven years from the first date of delinquency. Sometimes, credit bureaus neglect to remove expired items. Or, underhanded debt collectors will try to re-age debt in order to make delinquent accounts stay on your credit reports longer. Don’t let them get away with this! As Arizonians, we deal with 106 degree weather and rattlesnakes. The last thing you need is a sneaky debt collector trying to make your life harder.
This is why you need to keep careful tabs on your credit reports. Luckily, the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) makes it easy to do this. This federal statute entitles you to a free copy of your credit report every twelve months from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus. You can go to www.annualcreditreport.com (the only federally sanctioned website that offers free credit reports) to request reports from Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax.
While going over your credit reports, if you see expired debt that is still be reported or accounts that have been re-aged, you can dispute these items in writing and have them removed. For re-aged debt, any proof that you can provide about how long the account has actually been delinquent will give you more leverage.
Other Ways Arizonians can Remove Debt Collection Items from Credit Reports
When it comes to getting debt collection items removed from your credit reports, sometimes you have to get a little creative. This shouldn’t be too tough for anyone who calls Arizona home. People in other states complain about rush hour traffic, but you might run into a giant sand storm on your way home from work. Here, finding creative solutions to problems is just a way of life. With this in mind, if don’t want to wait until a debt expires, you can:
- Watch your credit reports to see when your account gets sold to another debt collector. When this occurs, you can request that items reported by the old debt collector be removed.
- Make a payment on your debt in exchange for getting it removed from your credit reports. Any negotiation with a debt collector should be done in writing.
- Ask the debt collector for a “goodwill deletion.” Debt collectors don’t have to stop reporting on an account that you’ve paid off. However, some may do this if you ask, so it can’t hurt to try. Recently, Midland Credit Management announced that it would remove paid accounts from credit reports if two years have passed since the first date of delinquency. If your account is with this collection agency, follow up. Make sure the debt actually disappears when it should.
Finally, if you’re dealing with debt collection issues in Arizona, you don’t have to go at it alone. You can get a Free Credit Repair Lawyer.
The Free and Legal way to Get Better Credit
Don’t let debt collections and errors on your credit reports bring your credit score down. At Credit Repair Lawyers of America, we’ve been cleaning up credit reports for consumers since 2008 for free.
Let’s start the conversation about what we can do for your credit. Set up your free consultation today by calling Attorney Gary Nitzkin at (480)771-6001 or sending him a message through our contact page.