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The Credit Card Company Says My Husband is Responsible for Debt on a Card But I Think He’s Only an Authorized User. – Stephanie

“Dear Steve,

Rebuilding credit after being laid off in 2007 and going back to school full time; signed up with a debt consolidation program at the time which turned out to be a scam. We lost thousands with them and tried reporting it to the Attorney General, etc., but nothing came of it. Ended up with approximately $30,000 in debt, though over the years some of the balances have doubled or tripled and then some with the collection agencies.
I’ve settled what I could afford to, started sending debt validation letters and goodwill letters constantly and cleared a lot of the negatives from our credit reports.

However, one account in particular has been a real problem. It was a business card, which I honestly didn’t think about after my business folded, and it was used as a regular consumer card. My husband was an authorized user on the account. In 2007 the account defaulted along with all the others, was charged off and sold to a collection agency.

Now they report a 12k collection on my husband’s credit report and report it as an “individual account,” but they don’t contact me or report to mine (never have). We’ve tried disputing it through the credit bureaus as not his account twice, but they keep verifying it.

I had a business credit card that defaulted in 2007 after I was laid off (and after my business folded years before that). Eventually, it was charged off and sold to a collection agency. My husband was an authorized user on the account, but for some reason the collection agency only contacts him and only reports on his credit report as an “individual account.” We’ve tried disputing it as not his account, but it comes back verified every time.
I don’t know whether this account being a business credit card changes the liability for an authorized user or how it ended up being reported this way. The original charge off is not and has never been on either of our credit reports, so I can’t look to see if he was reported as an authorized user or what.

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Is there any way to get this collection off of his credit report?

Thanks in advance.


Dear Stephanie,

The answer is yes and probably no. There is nothing to prevent any company for verifying an account without checking it. But then again I think we need more information to get to the bottom of this.

You can keep trying the same thing you’ve been trying or paying a bit of money and getting an attorney that is licensed in your state that has some experience with these issues to contact the credit bureau. One place to look for such an attorney is at

Another observation is that depending on your situation it might just make sense to consider bankruptcy to close the door on all the old debt and start over again with a second chance and fresh start.

I’d suggest you first read How to Get Out of Debt. The Honest and Unvarnished Truth and The Truth About The Success Rates, Failure Rates and Completion Rates of Credit Counseling, Debt Settlement, and Bankruptcy. They will give you a great overview of what we need to deal with to get you moving in the right direction.

Then use the free How to Get Out of Debt Calculator to review your options.

Once you’ve identified a company you want to work with, then follow my step-by-step guide on how to check out a debt relief company.

Please post your responses and follow-up messages to me on this in the comments section below.


You are not alone. I'm here to help. There is no need to suffer in silence. We can get through this. Tomorrow can be better than today. Don't give up.

About the author

Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.

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