How can I possibly rebuild from here?

Discussion in 'Credit Talk' started by JessG10, Jun 30, 2010.

  1. JessG10

    JessG10 New Member

    Here is a little glimpse into my credit report: Score:541
    CBJ Recovery :$119 (medical from 2005)
    CBJ Recovery :$606 (medical from 2005)
    Credit One :$623 (Credit Card, 2008)
    First Premier Bank :$371 (Credit Card, 2008)
    General Revenue Corp: $79 (have no idea what this one is, from 2008)
    LVNV Funding LLC: $670 (was an HSBC Credit card, 2008)
    NCO Financial: $414 (Sprint bill, originally from 2001, but they're saying it's from 2005 on my report...I disputed this one)
    Portfolio Recovery: $607 (medical, 2008)
    Portfolio Recovery: $1,467 (medical, 2008)
    RJM ACQ LLC: $153 (charter one account? Could've been a credit card...I settled this one for $46)
    West Asset Managment: $1,966 (not sure, but if I had to guess, medical bill from 2008)

    So, there's my credit report. Ugly, I know. I honestly didn't understand the importance of credit until this year. I wouldn't have been so stupid with those cards in 2008, and I definitely wouldn't have listened to the people who have told me medical bills don't affect your score, cuz I know now that they do!! Anyways, I'm really ready and finally able to pay off these debts and start rebuilding my credit. Yes, I've screwed up in the past, and bad. But now that I understand where good credit can get you, I know this is something I have to take care of. I just don't know where to start!! I've paid one of them, because the RJM kept sending me things to settle, so I did. But what should I settle next? Credit cards or medical? Should I try and get them to settle for less like RJM? Is there anything I can do to start rebuliding my credit while I'm in the process of paying off these debts? I really want to prove that I can be responsible with credit and that I understand its importance. My total debt is $8,536, which I could pay with my savings account right now. However, I'm not going to do that if I can settle some of these for less, or if it's not going to do me any good in improving my score. I just really need some guidance so I can get back on the right track! Any help/advice is greatly appreciated!! Thanks in advance!
  2. wolverene

    wolverene Member

    Whatever you do, don't keep settling out these debts the way you are. A settled debt on your credit report is better than an open collections listing, but barely. Start off by disputing EVERY negative listing on your report. Send a letter to all three credit reporting agencies via certified mail. Be sure to include the account number and your SS #. In the letter, state that the account is not yours. I know they're yours, but that doesn't matter at this point. What we're trying to do is get as many of those pulled off your report as possible. Remember though, just because it is off your report doesn't mean you don't ever have to pay the money to the collection agency. We're just trying to clean up your credit score, not your debt. That's another issue altogether.

    Why might this work? Well, all 3 agencies use something called e-Oscar to verify disputed accounts. When you send them your long, well thought out letter with all the details, some minimum wage employee who doesn't give a damn skims it for the basic reason you're disputing it and reduces your masterpiece of literature down to a 2-digit code to put into e-Oscar. What e-Oscar then does is compare the information about the account on the credit report to the information it gleans from the creditor to see if they both match up. If three things match, it's verified. That's right, nobody ever even sees your letter, no documentation or proof is exchanged, nobody ever even talks to the original creditor. So, in essence, you're trying to fool a stupid database.

    Wait 30 days. If the credit agencies don't get back to you in 30 days, send them a letter advising them of this, informing them that per the FCRA, they need to remove the listing because they missed their legal deadline. After this whole process inevitably you'll have some stuff removed, and some stuff comes back "verified." Then, you send another round of dispute letters. This time, disputing the account for another reason altogether. You keep doing this over and over again until you reach the end of this list (Thanks to

    1. Not mine (not my account)
    2. I didn't pay late that month
    3. Wrong amount
    4. Wrong account number
    5. Wrong original creditor
    6. Wrong Charge-off Date
    7. Wrong Date of Last Activity
    8. Wrong Balance
    9. Wrong Credit limit
    10. Wrong Status (there are about 20)
    11. Wrong High Credit (the highest amount you used)

    Don't send a whole bunch of letters at once, just one to each agency at a time. If you send to many, they'll call you're disputes "frivolous" and they'll stop looking at them. This whole process takes a very long time, but is worth it. In the meantime, pay all your bills on time, cut back on expenses, get a second job, whatever you have to do to have good credit from this day onward. After you do all of this, you'll probably have some accounts that stick. This is when you send letters (again, certified mail) to the collection agencies themselves. You ask them for a validation of the debt, which means they have to send you any and all documentation they have regarding your debt with the original creditor. Usually, they don't have it because they buy thousands of accounts in bulk for pennies on the dollar (typically it's about 2 - 7 cents per dollar that you originally owed) and don't want to spend the time, money, and effort to keep all the paperwork that the original creditor gives them. If they cannot validate it, they have to remove it. If they don't respond in 30 days, they have to remove it.

    After this, amazingly, you may have some stuff left. Then, what you do is dispute the listing with the original creditor by asking them to perform an investigation on your account. They most certainly no longer have the records for your account because they hand all of it off to the collection agency when they sell it to them. They usually have the account #, date opened, date closed, and final balance before it was sold, but nothing else. Dispute the dates of transactions/late payments/charge-off date, whatever because they won't have that information. Same 30 day rule applies as of tomorrow, July 1st, because that's when the amendments to the FCRA kick in that state an original creditor must respond to you in 30 days if you request a debt investigation.

    Finally, if all else fails, threaten to sue. Do legal research. Look on forums, web pages, and all other places for case law, suggestions, how-to's, etc. By this time, you should be in good shape. If not, you could always send a "pay for deletion" letter. It's almost like settling your debts, but with one exception. You basically tell the creditor that you will settle with them, but only if they fully delete the account from your credit report. It works out for you because you get a clean report, and it works out for them because they get paid. They only reason they reported it to the credit reporting agency in the first place is to get you to pay.

    Hope this helps, and whatever you do, don't give up. There's always options no matter how crappy your credit is.
  3. ccbob

    ccbob Well-Known Member

    Those are all reasonable steps, but I'd argue one point.

    While the collection accounts might look like a bill you haven't paid, and your guilt over not having paid it might further convince you that it's your's, Unless you've validated the collection accounts and confirmed with the original collector that the collector is authorized to collect on that account you can't be sure.

    Don't be so quick to send your money away!

    If the account is on your credit report, the damage has been done. You now have no reason to hurry because the entry won't just go away. So, take your time and dispute.

    Many people come here thinking that there's some magic letter that will just make this all go away (I'm not saying that you're one of them), but while some entries disappear quickly, most take several months to go away. If you're of a litigious mind, you want them to take their time making a lot of mistakes so you can squeeze a little money out of them in court. But, either way, while there's hope, expect this to take some time.
  4. jaykay

    jaykay Member

    RE: eOscar... case law found from another forum... Maybe if we quote these case law when we send the letter(s) to the CRA's perhaps they will do their do diligents???? Maybe, hopefuly?

    On the illegality of the credit bureaus using eOscar:

    Cushman v TransUnion, Stevenson v. TRW (Experian), and Richardson v. Fleet, Equifax. The courts ruled each and every time that the CRA couldn't merely "parrot" information from the creditors and collection agencies...that they have to conduct an independent REASONABLE investigation to ensure the validity of the debt and the honesty/integrity of the creditor/CA in question.

    (could not post URL's because I have not posed 25 posts.
  5. Hedwig

    Hedwig Well-Known Member

    DON'T dispute everything as "not mine." Once it's verified that it is yours, getting anything else done is problematic. You said it wasn't yours, they proved it was. Now everything else is frivolous as far as the CRAs are concerned.

    Carefully go through your report and target things that are truly incorrect, such as dates, balances, and status. Dispute those fields.
  6. wolverene

    wolverene Member

    That sounds reasonable to intelligent people like you and me, but keep in mind we're dealing with the CRA peons. In my experience, they aren't smart enough to come to that conclusion. However, that is a good point, so the OP may want to skip that step just in case.
  7. Hedwig

    Hedwig Well-Known Member

    It's happened to more than one person. They disputed as "not mine" and after it was proven, subsequent disputes are returned as frivolous. It doesn't happen all the time, but it does happen.

    That's why you should always dispute individual aspects such as balances and dates.

    And, as ccbob said, don't send anyone money until they prove that they are the authorized to collect. Perhaps it's been pulled back or sold to another creditor. So you pay the company that sends the letter, and several months later here comes another company looking to collect that amount because they have bought it and are now the ones that can legally collect it. So you just threw your money away paying the first company.

Share This Page