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Disputing derogatory credit information

skyknytskyknyt Registered User, ClubPA regular
Alright, 6 years ago I changed jobs. I called my cable company to close the account. After the last phone call, I asked, specifically, "does that take care of everything?" "Yes."

9 months later I get a call from a collection company, my account has been sent to collections for $50 of unpaid bills.

So I contact the cable company, pay them the $50. Two weeks later I get a letter and a check saying that my account was overpaid, and here's the refund of $50.

So now I find myself in the market for a house. Credit report turns up that the collection agency still has the note in my file. I contact the three credit agencies to dispute it. One of them removes it less than a week later. Today I get the denial of removal from the second, but I still haven't heard back from the third.

Since the removal bumped my credit score with them by 40 points, we're talking a difference of hundreds of dollars per month if I can get it removed from the others, but clearly it's not going to be as easy as I hoped. What are my options here?

Tycho wrote:
[skyknyt's writing] is like come kind of code that, when comprehended, unfolds into madness in the mind of the reader.
PSN: skyknyt, Steam: skyknyt, Blizz: skyknyt#1160

Posts

  • KyouguKyougu Registered User regular
    Raise hell with your cable company. It should be them that should deal with it, specially if you have proof of the refund/faulty charges.

    I use to work at a video store and the owner would send people to collections for late fees. Similar stuff would happen, person would be trying to buy a home, and see a collection for something like $30 bucks in late fees from us. They would come in, bitch up a storm, and sometimes the owner would go ahead and have the charge taken off their report. So it can be done.

  • skyknytskyknyt Registered User, ClubPA regular
    I talked with them, but they say they don't have any records going back 6 years. Is there a specific department or something I should ask for?

    Tycho wrote:
    [skyknyt's writing] is like come kind of code that, when comprehended, unfolds into madness in the mind of the reader.
    PSN: skyknyt, Steam: skyknyt, Blizz: skyknyt#1160
  • KyouguKyougu Registered User regular
    Billing?

    You're just going to have to escalate it until you get someone that can fix it. Stress how it's crazy that they don't have these sort of records, how their mistake is costing you, etc.

    As much of a pain as it'll be for you, I think it'll be even more so trying to go through the collection agencies.

  • skyknytskyknyt Registered User, ClubPA regular
    Well, that's worth a try. I like it a great deal better than the "be asked for a bribe by a collection bureau" option.

    Tycho wrote:
    [skyknyt's writing] is like come kind of code that, when comprehended, unfolds into madness in the mind of the reader.
    PSN: skyknyt, Steam: skyknyt, Blizz: skyknyt#1160
  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    Uh, if one of the agencies disputed the report I thought that means that they were given proof of the existence of the debt, which means "we don't have records that go that far back" is a lie.

    You should be able to ask for proof of the debt and if they don't produce it then it goes away on your credit report. I really thought that was what the dispute procedure was but you could just spell it out for the cable company. "You are reporting I owe x, please provide proof of this debt."

    Hmm....this page goes into some details that make my eyes roll.

  • skyknytskyknyt Registered User, ClubPA regular
    The report shows the account as paid off and closed, the issue is that having a debt that was sent to collections at all is a giant score hit. It never should have been sent to collections, but I don't know how to prove that (and Transunion purged the file so quickly I wasn't sure it was going to be necessary).

    Tycho wrote:
    [skyknyt's writing] is like come kind of code that, when comprehended, unfolds into madness in the mind of the reader.
    PSN: skyknyt, Steam: skyknyt, Blizz: skyknyt#1160
  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    Alright, that link still seems directly on point for what your next step is. You're disputing that it was paid late, they need to prove that it was which would require records they say they don't have. Proving it was paid late is on them, not you and if they can't do it they need to remove it from your credit report.

    Least that's what I get from that link above.

  • VeeveeVeevee WisconsinRegistered User regular
    edited January 2015
    skyknyt wrote: »
    9 months later I get a call from a collection company, my account has been sent to collections for $50 of unpaid bills.

    So I contact the cable company, pay them the $50. Two weeks later I get a letter and a check saying that my account was overpaid, and here's the refund of $50.

    Wait, you got a call from a collection agency, but then turned around and paid the actual cable company? This may be where you screwed the pooch, as it were. When the collection company called you didn't owe the cable company anymore, you actually owed the collection company since they bought the debt from the cable company. When you gave the cable company the money for the debt you actually didn't owe them anything which is why you got the $50 back as an overpayment, you owed the collection company that $50.

    You need to be in touch with the collection company that owns the debt, not the cable company. They are the ones you'll be disputing the veracity of the debt with, and it's their records that will either have or not have the record of the debt.

    Edit: And that debt will fall off the reports automatically after next year (the 7th year after the last payment) anyway, so if you can hold off on buying that house until then you don't have to go through the BS of getting it removed.

    Veevee on
    spool32
  • skyknytskyknyt Registered User, ClubPA regular
    Okay, so at this point I'm at the mercy as it were of the collection agency?

    Tycho wrote:
    [skyknyt's writing] is like come kind of code that, when comprehended, unfolds into madness in the mind of the reader.
    PSN: skyknyt, Steam: skyknyt, Blizz: skyknyt#1160
  • VeeveeVeevee WisconsinRegistered User regular
    skyknyt wrote: »
    Okay, so at this point I'm at the mercy as it were of the collection agency?

    That is correct, at least as far as I understand the situation. Once you got that call from the collection agency the cable company was completely out of it.

  • skyknytskyknyt Registered User, ClubPA regular
    When I paid the cable company, they marked the account as closed and paid off. It's not open, it just should never have been sent to collections.

    Tycho wrote:
    [skyknyt's writing] is like come kind of code that, when comprehended, unfolds into madness in the mind of the reader.
    PSN: skyknyt, Steam: skyknyt, Blizz: skyknyt#1160
  • VeeveeVeevee WisconsinRegistered User regular
    edited January 2015
    skyknyt wrote: »
    When I paid the cable company, they marked the account as closed and paid off. It's not open, it just should never have been sent to collections.

    How did you come to that conclusion?

    You owed $50 but didn't pay it for 9 months, so they sent it to collections. You paid AFTER it went to collections, so it really sounds like it should have been sent (and was! And it worked cause you paid it!)

    Edit: If you mean it shouldn't be listed as in collections now, it's that way because you didn't actually pay the debt. You paid the company who previously had the debt, but didn't own it when you paid which is why they sent the $50 back.

    You never paid this debt because the company who owned it never received your payment

    Edit2: I wouldn't doubt it if the phone rep at the cable company you talked to tried to tell you that you didn't owe them anything and tried to get you to call the collections agency, but you were so insistent on paying that they just gave up arguing and took the payment anyway knowing you'd get a refund a few weeks later. At least, that's what I went through way too often when I was working on a billing support line.

    Veevee on
  • skyknytskyknyt Registered User, ClubPA regular
    I mean the credit report says "closed and paid"

    Tycho wrote:
    [skyknyt's writing] is like come kind of code that, when comprehended, unfolds into madness in the mind of the reader.
    PSN: skyknyt, Steam: skyknyt, Blizz: skyknyt#1160
  • VeeveeVeevee WisconsinRegistered User regular
    edited January 2015
    skyknyt wrote: »
    I mean the credit report says "closed and paid"

    Ok, so it was sent to collections, then reported as closed and paid after you paid? The report still lists it as having been sent to collections because it was sent to collections. The fact you weren't aware of it until it was sent to collections means diddly squat, and the fact you paid it after it was sent to collections is reflected in the closed and paid status.

    If you are fighting the sent to collections flag under the "But they sent me my $50 back so the bill shouldn't have ever been created to be sent to collections" angle, the fact you paid it is confirmation the debt was valid. This is why places will inform consumers to never outright admit that the debt is valid until they have proof that it actually is.

    Debt and the collecting of it is a nasty, nasty world with many pitfalls and caveats that most everyone never even thinks about.

    fakeEdit: I want to be clear, I am not blaming you for what happened and is currently happening. I'm just trying to get a clearer picture, and also trying to explain what is going on from the credit and collection agency's point of view, because unfortunately their opinion is really all that matters (A judges opinion trumps theirs, but this probably isn't worth getting one of them involved). If it seems like I'm going "It's all your fault, tough luck, haha" I do apologize for that.

    Veevee on
  • skyknytskyknyt Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited January 2015
    The issue is that I contacted them long before it was sent to collections and confirmed that the account was closed, and that there was nothing outstanding, and one credit agency quickly agreed with me.

    skyknyt on
    Tycho wrote:
    [skyknyt's writing] is like come kind of code that, when comprehended, unfolds into madness in the mind of the reader.
    PSN: skyknyt, Steam: skyknyt, Blizz: skyknyt#1160
  • DraygoDraygo Registered User regular
    I think veevee is trying to point out you need to resolve the issue with the collections agency.

    The collections agency believes rightly or wrongly that you owe them 50$, ask them for proof that they own the debt. Then its up to you if you want to dispute it or just pay them the 50$. It is in no interest of the cable company to solve this for you, so calling them will probably get you nowhere. Collection agencies are persistent, they will keep calling you forever.

  • skyknytskyknyt Registered User, ClubPA regular
    The debt is closed. The collection agency hasn't called in 6 years. I'm mostly asking what the big 3 credit reporting agencies are looking for in purging derogatory information. One of them did it in less than a week with the information I provided.

    Now, talking with the cable company yesterday it sounds like they have a certificate of some kind I can get.

    Tycho wrote:
    [skyknyt's writing] is like come kind of code that, when comprehended, unfolds into madness in the mind of the reader.
    PSN: skyknyt, Steam: skyknyt, Blizz: skyknyt#1160
  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    I am still failing to see how this link is not directly on point.
    The Link wrote:
    Using 623 Method To File a Dispute With a Creditor
    Last Updated: September 19, 2014
    If you have tired the conventional methods of disputing an inaccuracy on your credit report but these attempts were met with failed results, the 623 dispute method may be a viable alternative to getting erroneous or unconfirmed information removed from your credit report. The 623 dispute method allows you to dispute any inaccurate information on your credit report directly with the original creditor.

    You disputed it with the credit agency. They came back saying "Yep, that account existed so we're not removing it." Now you want an investigation into the accuracy of the specifics of the account closure and that can only be done by the original company. So you need to request that from them as detailed at that link.

  • skyknytskyknyt Registered User, ClubPA regular
    The letter to legal will be the next step if they won't furnish me a letter on site.

    Tycho wrote:
    [skyknyt's writing] is like come kind of code that, when comprehended, unfolds into madness in the mind of the reader.
    PSN: skyknyt, Steam: skyknyt, Blizz: skyknyt#1160
  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    I think you're reading too much into one of the CRAs having removed the item from their report on you. I doubt much due diligence was done. IIRC one of the CRAs would pretty much roll over if you asked (probably assuming it'll pop right back up if a creditor is still trying to get paid) and one of them were right bastards and made the whole process annoying.

  • skyknytskyknyt Registered User, ClubPA regular
    there are no creditors trying to get it back it is a closed account

    Tycho wrote:
    [skyknyt's writing] is like come kind of code that, when comprehended, unfolds into madness in the mind of the reader.
    PSN: skyknyt, Steam: skyknyt, Blizz: skyknyt#1160
  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    Right, so you're asking how to get info removed? Clark Howard has a good process. I've never had to go past the certified letter to CRA, but the content is "this (account number) is not my debt". Not sure what mechanism you've used but sounds like you've acknowledged the debt in some fashion? Send the letters anyways, can't hurt and not too expensive.

    It doesn't matter what has happened or what are the facts. What matters is what info the CRAs report, cause that is what your lender will go by. Clean up that and you'll get better rates.

    Be aware that there are multiple scoring metrics, and your lender is likely using a scoring metric that grades you lower than what you can find out as a consumer ( e.g. myfico).

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