Credit report....can I dispute?

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-26-1999
Credit report....can I dispute?
Thu, 09-12-2013 - 5:47pm

I **finally** made it back here (to the .com instead of .ca site, which is all I've been able to get to for ages) and to be able to sign in AND get to the post page.

I have a question about what you can dispute on a credit report. Just got the report from Equifax, and it has an "open" account reported as "bad debt, collection account or unable to locate". It was reported by a cell phone company and I am sure we never received any statements/invoices/letters during the time period the account is listed as delinquent. Point being, it would have been paid if we had been made aware of it before it was charged off. We contacted the company who no longer have any details of the account as it is 4+ years ago...we can get no details at all from them. The account was sold off to a debt collection agency.

The debt collection agency is also reporting this as a bad debt. We have not received anything in writing them. They called once in February, and despite our repeated polite requests for details of this alleged debt in writing, they refused and were extremely threatening and nasty. I've since found out it is illegal for the collection agency to call before they have contacted someone by mail (they never notified us, and further refused our request to send anything). We just don't answer the phone when they call.

So one question is, can I dispute the cell phone company charge with Equifax since we didn't receive any sort of communication from the company before they wrote it off as bad debt and reported it?

Second question is can I dispute the debt collection agency charge with Equifax since we have nothing about the alleged debt in writing (and they have refused to send anything). I am not going to mail a cheque to a debt collection agency simply because they harrass us by phone and don't send any written details of their alleged claim.

The rest of our credit reports are very good (almost perfect) and I want/need to clear these charges off the report. I'd be very grateful for advice/guidance about what course of action is best. Thanks, and I hope all the rest of you are well.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-24-2014
Mon, 02-24-2014 - 12:56am

Americans have become much less trusting in the banking-industrial complex, despite the ubiquity of large multinational bank branches. Consequently, a regular trickle of people have been leaving and electing for credit union membership. A short term loan will help you pay for your extra bank expenses until you switch to a credit union. Payday lenders can provide short term loans and other forms of money loans at somewhat lower cost and with much less administrative hassle.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-10-2003
Thu, 09-26-2013 - 10:22pm

I think you can dispute. I worked at transunion for a summer and I remember this happening all the time. I would check and determine what the criteria and timelines are for burden of proof. But I would dispute!

Bex -

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-26-1999
Wed, 09-25-2013 - 12:36pm
Hi Marie, Thank you for the reply. It's dh's debt & credit report. I've questioned him and I think he is being honest that he didn't know anything about it and that if he had gotten notices, bills, he would have paid it when it was current. We also shared a post office box when the alleged debt was current so I would have seen mountains of envelopes from the original company, and I don't remember anything. We both believe in paying what we owe, not looking for a free ride out of this. When we got the call from the collection agency, and they refused to provide us any information, we called the original company to try to get information on what the bill was for, but they couldn't give any info because it was too old. The crux of the issue is that we can't get anything in writing from the collection agency so we have nothing to pay from (we won't just mail a cheque to a collection agency) and no point to try to negotiate from. If they sent us details it would be taken care of by now. I will send a registered letter to the collection agency letting them know we never received any information from the original company when the alleged debt was current, and that we can get nothing in writing from the collection agency. My point to the credit reporting agency is that it isn't right to have a black mark on the credit report for something that we knew nothing about, and therefore had no chance of paying...and further that isn't right to have a second black mark as a result from a collection agency that will not provide info. We'll see what happens.
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-31-2010
Sat, 09-21-2013 - 4:01pm
You can write to the credit reporting agency and ask that they look into this particular item. The company who placed the debt on your report has 30 days to reply to validate or they have to take it off. Since their is such a mess with who owns the company now, it might take them more than 30 days to get it off, so the time frame can work in your favor. Remember to send your letter to them via registered mail, so you have a receipt of the date received. My other piece of advice if it is with the debt company, it sounds like this debt is legitimate so I always like people to be honest with themselves and pay what they owe. Why not work with them to pay at least a portion of it, play let's make a deal and as a part of the deal ask them to dismiss is or remove from the report? At the end of the month those firms tend to negotiate more so they earn individual bonuses. They probably bought your debt for less than $0.25 on the dollar, so if hey can get even 1/3 of what you owe, they are profitable. Note that if you do settle and it stays on your report, it will stay for at least 2 years. You might want to try option 1 first, then option 2???
Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
Fri, 09-13-2013 - 3:21pm

I'd say you have nothing to lose but time.  Make sure you clear this item from all three major reporting agencies, not just Equifax.  Good luck!

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Thu, 09-12-2013 - 7:22pm

If memory serves me correctly, when I refinaced my house in 2008 I believe I dispusted a small cell phone debt through the reporting agency, even without proof. 

Mine was one of those that had been sent off to collections and I settled with for a lower amount.  But it was never reported to the reporting agency and was still showing up as delinquent.  I did not have proof, as the collection agency never sent me anything.  Surprise surpise!

I disputed it and it was taken off, no questions asked.  So I say go for it and see what happens. 

Serenity CL making a second marriage work