How soon can a collection agency report you to a credit bureau?

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How soon can a collection agency report you to a credit bureau?

I rented apartment for a friend a year ago; they were evicted 7 months later. A collection agency contacted me several months later and informed me that I owed in excess of $10,000. They sent an itemized letter stating a little more that $7,000. Between my calculations and theirs it’s a difference of $3,500 based on the same figures. I called and they tried to dismiss my dispute. They gave me different figures when I wouldn’t let up. However they have already reported the amount I am disputing to the credit bureau. I asked them to remove. They said no way. Can they do that? How can I have info corrected on my credit report?

Asked on August 12, 2011 Maryland

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You need to first consider suing your friend in court for the damages but after you dispute down the amount of the debt. Here is the deal. It appears you don't dispute money is owed (especially if the apartment lease listed you as a co-signer).  You need to go through each itemized expense and have the landlord prove with dated receipts (i.e., date stamp and time stamp that appear on receipts) the cost of each item. Then, in terms of your general question, it is usually not given to the collection agency until all other efforts have been exhausted. So, at this point, if you believe the debt has been sold to the collection agency, it would have probably appeared on your credit report earlier and directly by the landlord and definitely by the time it got to the collection agency. If you do not wish to contact the landlord and feel you will not get the proper information, dispute the debt with all credit reporting agencies that this debt is on and make the collection agency prove the debt.


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