Hi, I have quite a few accounts in collections that are delinquent. I am a young adult and have recently became more concerned with my credit score/history. I have heard many things about a pay-to-delete that can be sent to a creditor. I have some small inquires like $125 cable bill, $225 AT&T, and $147 to a gym. The big debt is my old apartments. For some reason they have charged me twice for the complexes and Experian refusses to delete the doubled account. ($3000) What is the best way to go about taking care of my debt? I am willing to pay of some other debt but I don’t see a point when it won’t be deleted off of my credit. What can I do???
How can I fix my credit?? Is there a such thing as Pay-To-Delete?? HELP!!!! :’(
Thank you for your question. Pay-for-deletes are very rare at the creditor level, but are sometimes possible with collection agencies.
In your situation, the cable bill, the apartments, and the gym are more than likely being reported by a collection agency rather than the original creditor. So, you may find success with pay-for-deletes on these particular accounts. Although, aside from the apartment account, your balances are very low and may not be enticing enough to the collection agencies to agree to a pay-for-delete.
If the AT&T account is for a cell phone, it is probably being reported directly by AT&T and you’ll experience a lot more resistance to your request for deletion.
As far as the Experian situation is concerned, I would wait to tackle that if you intend on settling these accounts. The reason why is if you attempt to clean up the dispute now, you will be demonstrating your intentions of resolving your credit, and subsequently your debts. This will weaken your position if you intend on negotiating settlements. As the collectors will become more confident in their ability to collect from you, because you have made your intentions known by attempting to clean things up first.
So the steps you should take are…
- Figure out a way to generate the funds to resolve these accounts as soon as possible. If your future credit is your concern, you want to resolve these accounts as soon as you’re able. So your clock of rehabilitation will start ticking.
- Initiate your negotiations with the collection company that is handling the apartment account. Are you familiar with the breakdown of their charges? Are they charging you for carpet or any items that may need to be pro-rated? A lot of apartment complexes will attempt to charge for carpet at its full value. When in reality, carpet has a 7 year life expectancy, and if you moved out when the carpet was 6 years old, you should only be held liable for 1 year of its value.
- Once you have become comfortable with the balance that they’re claiming, if you prefer to settle the debt, make the pay-for-delete request part of your offer. If you would rather pay the account in full, make the pay-for-delete request contingent on full payment. If they work with you on the pay-for delete request, that should resolve your issue with the double reporting. Assuming it’s the same agency that is appearing twice. Is it? If they won’t agree to the deletion, then once you pay or settle the account, make a request to them to remove the duplicate item.
- In respect to the other accounts, they’re all small balances so you’re better off paying them in full. Call the other collection agencies and offer them pay-for-deletes in exchange for full payment. As mentioned earlier, any accounts that are reported by original creditors and not the agencies themselves will be far more complex to have deleted.
Lori, it sounds like you have read a lot of the hoopla the internet has to offer. It’s a very common misconception to think that since the delinquent accounts remain on your credit, and the fact that your credit score doesn’t change directly due to the resolution of collection accounts and charge offs, that you’re doomed.
That couldn’t be further from the truth. I have written an article about charge offs and credit scores that will help you understand how your rehabilitation works.
Please feel free to follow up with any questions in the comments. Good luck to you.
I was formerly one of the best debt collectors in the country and since 2002 I’ve been helping people settle their delinquent debts right away. – About Jared Strauss
Don’t worry – I wasn’t the huffy-puffy type. :)
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