Validating credit card
If you want to see if you’re being affected by these “double jeopardy” tradelines, you should first pull your free annual credit reports at Annual Credit and you can also check your credit scores for free on to get a better idea of how to rebuild your scores.
Four consumer law attorneys with expertise in credit reporting and debt collection issues weighed in with advice for Trish, and for consumers with similar problems.
“My first suggestion would be to send validation letters (via certified mail or other confirmation delivery method) to each one of the debt collectors on her credit report asking them to identify the original creditor, current owner of the account, current balance and date of last payment,” says Jason M. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, debt collectors must send the consumer a written notice of the debt within 5 days of initial contact with you, adds William Howard, founder and managing partner of the consumer protection division at Morgan & Morgan.
Then, the consumer has thirty days to request verification of the debt.
It’s bad enough when you can’t pay a debt and you know that it’s going to damage your credit for years to come.
But what about when a single debt multiplies, turning into two, three or even more negative items on your credit reports?
Trish told me that she has requested verification of the debt from some of the collectors and received confusing information.
One collector listed the original creditor as “Cache” — a name she doesn’t recognize. “A lot of these debt collectors will buy these debts but they don’t have documentation to back it up,” he warns.
“The letter does not have to be fancy or detailed but must state that the individual disputes the debt,” he says.She’s not trying to avoid her debts, but she also doesn’t want to pay several different collection agencies for the same debt.“I’ve never felt so held captive by anything in my life as I do with my credit,” she says.Another option is to file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau and/or state attorney general’s office consumer protection division.“Most AG’s offices will assist you in dealing with the collection agencies and will often contact the collection agencies on your behalf,” Valentine explains.
“I see these ‘double jeopardy’ tradelines all the time,” says Michael Bovee, founder of the Consumer Recovery Network.