So, you’ve done things the nice way by writing the creditors a “Goodwill Letter” and still nothing has changed.
Then, you tried removing negative items from your credit report by firing off “Challenge Letters” to each of the three credit bureaus http://www.equifax.com http://www.experian.com, and http://www.transunion.com. Unlikely that some items wouldn’t be removed but stranger things have happened.
What’s the next move?
It stands to reason that if a piece of data about you, describing your spending pattern, and associating itself with you, appears on your report than it has to be proven to be yours. It would not make any sense if a slew of late payments on a Victoria’s Secret charge card appeared on the Transunion report of say a single teenage male. We are now entering the realm of what’s commonly known as Debt Validation.
Logically speaking, the burden of proof is on the creditor, collection firm, attorney, credit bureaus, to prove or validate that the debt is yours. If they’re going to report something, positively or negatively, about you it has to be true. According to the FCRA, Fair Credit Reporting Act, if a consumer asks for a validation of the debt the reporting party has 30 days to provide sufficient proof that the debt is yours. If they cannot, and they often cannot within this allotted period, then on the removal list it goes.
Now, this should do the trick in the majority of cases, but like anything else several attempts may have to be made. Several cycles of letters may need to be written. Be dogged and stay on the offensive. The creditors and credit bureaus are are made up of guess what…people just like you and I.
Another great strategy is the “Pay for Delete.” Sometimes, you have to bite the bullet and weigh the importance of fighting and writing to no reasonable end. Negotiating for anything is always made easier when you have the financial wherewithal to backup your argument. If a creditor or collections agency is giving you a really hard time; try calling the creditor and offering to pay and settle the debt. Obviously, if you have the money this helps tremendously. A Pay For Delete would involve asking the opposing party to remove the negative late, collection, judgement, payment permanently upon receiving settlement funds from you. Try offering an even higher amount than would be customary as an incentive for the collector to seek permanent removal of the negative item.
You will probably end up saving more money in the long run because better credit means cheaper rates to borrow. So, don’t be stingy. It’s the old addage, “you get what you pay for.”