What to do about a changed date to an old debt?

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What to do about a changed date to an old debt?

My husbands credit score was fine until a week ago when an old creditor from CA changed the date of last activity from 3 years ago to 2 months ago. This hit his credit score dramatically and now we are unable to obtain our loan. What if any legal action can we take to correct this?

Asked on September 7, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Nevada

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

What you are referring to is known as "re-aging" a debt. This occurs when a collection agency trade-line on your credit report is reporting a newer one than your actual original creditor trade-line. What this does is to allow negative information to remain on your credit report for longer than permitted by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

What you need to do is to check the trade-line of the original creditor for the debt (i.e. when the debt first went delinquent). You will either see a date of last activity (DOLA) or a removal date. If their DOLA does not match the original creditors, or if their removal date is more than 7 years from the true DOLA, your debt has been illegally aged.

You must contact the collection agency in writing and tell them that re-aging a debt is against FCRA guidelines and that they have 15 days to remove their illegal trade-line from your credit report; do not send a copy of your credit report (it's best to send the letter certified mail return receipt requested).

If the collection agency does not remove their trade-line, then you will need to send letters to each of the credit reporting agencies that are reporting the re-aged DOLA. Inform them that the DOLA has been illegally aged which is in violation of the FCRA. Show when the date the debt went delinquent with the original creditor and the date that the collection agency shows do not match up. Make the collection reporting agencies aware that you attempted to rectify this with the collection agency but they would not fix the trade-line.

The credit reporting agencies will conduct an investigation into the correct DOLA of the debt and any illegal actions on the part of the collection agency. If the reporting agencies do not remove the re-aged trade-line, then write another letter demanding that they make the deletion and that their willful non-compliance will result in your filing complaints with both the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and your state's Attorney General.


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