Unfortunately, you have no leverage in this case as the creditor has already been paid their money. The best strategy for accounts which were paid off a great while back and now just show up as a “Paid Charge-Off’ or “Paid Collection Account” is to find something wrong in the reporting of the information so that you can initiate a reinvestigation for verification. The hope is that the accounts (now being an inactive paid account) may be stored on electronic files not in the main system of the creditor.
This might create more work as far as research than the creditor wants to pursue just for
verification purposes. If so, the account must be deleted from your file for lack of a response from that creditor. The effectiveness of this method is hard to determine. It is as varied as the number of data storage systems in use today and the variety of people overseeing the process.
I have heard about using the term: ESTOPPEL in some cases. What I have read is this: The creditor has already been paid and the consumer makes the claim that, when the debt was paid, the consumer was under the impression that the creditor would make a favorable entry on the consumer’s credit report. BUT, when the credit report showed a PAID COLLECTION, this damaged the consumer’s credit rating. So, the consumer files a lawsuit claiming damages.
The logic to this is that because the creditor already has the funds, what more can they gain by defending this lawsuit. Especially, if they are in another town. So, the creditor either loses by default or succumbs to the consumers demands. Personally, I think that this type of action requires guidance from your trusted attorney.
Old Delinquent Accounts:
(EXTREMELY IMPORTANT) MAKE SURE YOU DON’T MISS THIS)
This has long been probably the most unfair provision in the FCRA. The original 1970 law allows for a seven-year waiting period before negative collection accounts were automatically removed. This is referred to in Section 605(a)(4) “Accounts placed for collection or charged to profit and loss which antedate the report by more than seven years.”
That seven-year clock begins ticking from the time reported as the last activity. If you have an account that never was fully paid, that you have not made a payment on in five or six years, beware!
If you go make a payment on it now, you will restart that clock and have to wait another seven years for it to be removed. There is a distinct wording in Section 623(a)(5) of the Fair Credit Reporting Act that reads “the seven year period of reporting derogatory entries begins when an account is FIRST late and never get caught up. That is fact and there have been numerous court cases where Collection Agencies have been fined millions of dollars for violating this statute.
Confused, guess what? So is the system. BUT, you can rest assure that when a collector or mortgage broker tells you that by paying on an account you restart the seven year clock, that is hogwash. It begins when the account was first late and NEVER gets caught up. It is directly identified in Section 623(a)(5) of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
Is it fair to be sentenced to seven years in a credit prison only to have your sentence increased for good behavior? I don’t think so!
As you can see, in some cases, you may have to make a decision whether to live with a charge-off for another year, or, a paid charge-off for seven more years. A paid charge-off will trigger a credit denial almost as easily as one that hasn’t been paid. It’s a shame that our system provides no more incentive to pay these old debts.
How do you know if you are a victim of credit fraud? The signs can vary, but typical indicators of fraud include: Unusual purchases appearing on credit card bills
· Calls or letters advising that you’ve been approved (or denied) for credit for which you’ve never applied.
· Calls or letters from collection agency about accounts you don’t have.
· Or you suddenly stop receiving your credit card bills, or all of your mail
Even though you didn’t cause the problem, your credit is adversely affected. As with any other crime, as soon as you know or suspect that you are the victim of credit fraud, you should contact that creditor’s fraud department and FILE A POLICE REPORT. You must advise the creditors of the fraud. Remember, the criminal may have used your identification to open the account, so the creditor may have no knowledge of the fraud until you report it. In order to establish the crime and to identify and possibly prosecute the criminal, creditors may ask you to complete certain paperwork.
Additionally, the bureaus have fraud departments to review cases and assist you, however assistance has not always been forth coming.