Remove a Collection Without Credit Repair

Few things are more obnoxious than checking your credit and finding a collection randomly placed on your credit. Many will tell you that to remove a collection from your credit requires an attorney or credit repair.

That’s not true.

There are many things you can try on your own before seeking credit repair services or taking legal action to remove a collection. Hiring specialists and attorneys take time and money, and you are probably wanting to remove the collection as quickly as possible to help you secure a new mortgage or loan for business.

First you must find out who the collections agency is. They are not the original billing company: most likely, a company you owed money to (allegedly) sold the unpaid account to a collections agency.

Look for a 3-bureau credit report from IdentityIQ or Experian.com. This will allow you to see any collections without putting inquiries on your credit.

After locating the collection, look for as much information as you can:

  • What is the collection agency’s name?
  • When was it reported?
  • How much do you (allegedly) owe?
  • What is the address of the collection agency?

Eventually, you will need to get on the phone (or if local, show up in person!) to get some answers on how to resolve the issue.

Steps to Remove a Collection

When speaking with a collections agency, try following the steps below:

  1. Locate the collection agency information within your credit report. You may have to Google the agency’s name to find a customer service number.
  2. When you call the agency, kindly ask them to remove the collection from your credit (if it is paid or is a mistake). If they say that they cannot do this, then kindly ask to speak to a supervisor. Tell them that it is either a mistake (make sure you have proof in writing that the collection is a mistake) or that it has been paid and needs to be removed from your credit.
  3. If you have an unpaid collection, please offer to pay only on the condition that they remove the collection from your credit once it is paid. They may say that they will mark the collection as “paid,” but that is not enough. They must remove it from your credit entirely.
  4. Ask the agency for a Certificate of Deletion (promise in writing that they will remove the collection). If they give you a verbal commitment over the phone that they will remove the collection once paid, get their name and the time you called. Verbal agreements over the phone are recorded and therefore binding.
  5. If they refuse to remove the collection, mention that you have rights under the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) to have the collection removed.
    • If it is a mistake that you have in writing, you can submit this proof to the CFPB and file a complaint against the credit bureau for failing to comply with the law. Remind the agency that you are able to file this complaint against them for failing to comply.
    • If you are offering to pay the collection, you can tell them that you never received a notification of the money owed, and that that is grounds for you to file a complaint with the CFPB.
  6. If they provide you a Certificate of Deletion, you can visit each credit bureau’s website (wherever the collection is reporting), and upload the letter in a dispute. Your credit should be clear in a matter of days.
  7. If they still refuse to remove the collection, then you can file a complaint against them by visiting the link here: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/


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