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Topics addressed on September 26, 2012:
Addition of collection account after declining settlement offer
A debt collector contacted me about a debt that isn't on my credit report. If I don't pay him the settlement offer he proposed, can he then add the account to my report?
Anytime you owe a debt, the creditor has a right to report the debt to one or all of the credit reporting agencies. The debt collector may have a policy that gives the consumer another chance to pay the debt before reporting the account.
Another possibility is that the original delinquency date of the debt is older than seven years, causing the account to be deleted from your credit report. If so, it cannot be reported again. However, the collection agency may still be able to attempt to collect the debt even after has been removed from the credit report.
Keep in mind that even after the debt is paid or settled, it may still appear on your report. Settling the debt for less than the full amount owed will be viewed differently than paying it in full. When you settle an account, you pay less than originally agreed. Any time you fail to pay the full amount owed it will reflect negatively in your credit report and in credit scores.
Thanks for asking.
- The "Ask Experian" team