Contacting a Collection Agency Won’t Add a Negative Entry

Dear Experian,

I have an unpaid charge-off that I want to pay off. I've contacted the creditor showing on my current credit report but they advised me that they sold the account. The "sold to" company has never contacted me for re-payment. How can I go about paying off this debt and stopping the monthly reporting to the credit agencies? I'm afraid if I contact the "sold to" company there will be another negative entry on my report, in addition to the original creditor.


Dear BLD,

Once an account is sold to a collection agency, the account with the original creditor is considered closed. The status of the account should be updated on your credit report to "transferred/closed."

The account will still show the payment history, and it will likely show the amount that was owed at the time it was sold. The original account remains on your report for seven years from the date it first became delinquent.

Once a debt is sold to a collection agency, you no longer owe the original creditor. All payments should be made to the company that now owns the debt. You need to contact them for instructions on where to send payments.

In many cases, the collection agency's account will also appear on the report. If the collection account is not appearing on your report now, it is likely that this company does not currently report to Experian. However, that does not mean the account can never be reported in the future or that it isn't being reported to other credit reporting companies.

Once paid, the collection account will no longer have an outstanding balance. Were it to be reported to any of the credit reporting agencies, it would show that it has been paid and has a zero balance owed. And, if reported, the collection account would be deleted at the same time as the original account.

Thanks for asking.
The "Ask Experian" team

Sign up for helpful tips, special offers and more!
You're signed up!
Our system is undergoing maintenance and will be available again soon.