Collection Account Reported in Error

woman sitting looking at tablet screen
Dear Experian,

What should I do if a collection company won't remove a collection that is in error despite providing written proof?

- SBS

Dear SBS,

If you've already disputed a collection account with Experian and the collection agency determined that it should remain on your credit report, there are a couple of things you can do:

  • Add a statement of dispute. When you disagree with the results of a dispute, you can request that a statement of dispute be added to your credit report. The statement of dispute explains why you disagree. It tells your side of the story.
  • Contact the collection agency. If you have not yet spoken with the collection agency directly, contact them to ask why they feel the account should remain on your credit report. If the written proof came from the original creditor, you may want to contact them as well. If they agree that the account was sent to collections in error, they can speak to the collection agency on your behalf.

How to Dispute an Error on Your Report

If you have a collection account on your credit report that you believe is in error and you have not yet disputed it with Experian, take these steps to get the information corrected:

  • Dispute the information with Experian. The fastest way to dispute inaccurate information is through Experian's online Dispute Center. Be specific about why the item is inaccurate and include any documentation you may have that supports your dispute. You can submit documents online or send them by mail. If mailing your document, please send a copy and keep the original.
  • Contact the company reporting the collection. If you haven't already done so, contact the collection company and notify them that you believe the account is appearing on your report in error. If your written proof is from the original creditor, send a copy of that document to the collection agency as well.
  • Talk to the original creditor. If you believe the account should never have been sent to collections, you may also want to contact the original creditor. If they agree with you, they can contact the collection company on your behalf to request that they delete the account from your credit report.

How Does a Collection Account Affect My Credit?

Collection accounts are considered very negative, and can therefore have a significant impact on your credit scores. A collection account will remain on the credit report for seven years from the original delinquency date of the debt.

Medical Collection Accounts

Experian will not report medical collection accounts until they are one year past due. This grace period gives individuals with medical debt 12 months to resolve any insurance or billing issues and to make payment arrangements if necessary before the past due balance is reported.

Some of the newer credit scores now omit paid in full medical collections from their score calculations.

Thank you for asking,
Jennifer White, Consumer Education Specialist

This question came from a recent Periscope session we hosted.

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Personal credit report disputes cannot be submitted through Ask Experian. To dispute information in your personal credit report, simply follow the instructions provided with it. Your personal credit report includes appropriate contact information including a website address, toll-free telephone number and mailing address.

To submit a dispute online visit Experian's Dispute Center. If you have a current copy of your personal credit report, simply enter the report number where indicated, and follow the instructions provided. If you do not have a current personal report, Experian will provide a free copy when you submit the information requested. Additionally, you may obtain a free copy of your report once a week through December 31, 2022 at AnnualCreditReport.