Help with Credit Report and a Collections Agency
July 11, 2015 9:51 PM   Subscribe

I owed Verizon Wireless $38 and now it’s in collections. I need some help with how to handle this situation.

The debt originated in 2012. My account was sent to a collections agency called Jefferson Capital Systems earlier this year. I noticed the collection agency as a new creditor on my credit report immediately (I am enrolled in an alert service). I panicked and immediately paid Verizon $38, using one of my credit cards, via their automated phone system. I have a confirmation number and the amount has shown up on my online credit card statement.

I then used annualcreditreport . com to get all three bureau’s free credit reports. On two of the reports (Experian and Equifax), the $38 along with the collections agency are listed in the “negative” section (Transunion says I have “no open collections, no history of collections”). I then paid to get my FICO score from Experian, and it is 812.

My questions are:
(1) Did I just throw away the $38 I paid Verizon? Should I request the $38 back from Verizon? Should I ask my credit card company to cancel the payment?
(2) How do I actually, properly pay this? Do I just call the collections agency and say “here’s $38” (give them my credit card info)? Should I ask them to remove the negative entry on my credit report? What are the chances they will do this, and what timeframe should I expect? Should I do everything via snail mail instead of phone?
(3) If I should just call the collections company, can you help me with a script? As in, what to say, ask for, and what not to say?

Also -- just any general advice about the simplest, fastest, best way to handle this would be greatly appreciated. For some reason I'm scared to call the collections agency -- like that would be a foolish thing to do somehow.

I know this is a stupidly small amount, I know it was stupid not to pay it on time and to not be paying closer attention. I also know it was impulsive to pay Verizon. And I know my credit score of 812 is excellent. I just want to pay what I owe and I want the negative entry gone, removed off my credit report. Thank you all for any help you can give me. Throwaway email address:
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Keep in mind that the bureaus don't update immediately. It takes something like 3 months to refresh - so even if you paid the debt right away, your credit reports wouldn't update until the next bureau refresh.

Check with Verizon first to see where the money went. It's possible they're holding it in a general ledger somewhere, or it's possible they can just mark it as paid and pull it back from the agency. If they can't, then just pay the agency. Tell them you want to pay the $38, get a confirmation number and agent's name, and be done with it. It'll still be a negative mark on your credit report, but with a score of 812, it certainly won't affect you too much when applying for credit.
posted by Verdandi at 11:15 PM on July 11, 2015 [2 favorites]

I had this weird item on my credit report as going to collections for a small amount of money. I never could figure out who I supposedly owed the money to, or why I would owe that money. My score was significantly less than 800, and I easily got a home loan. The lender asked about that item, I told them I had no clue, they shrugged their shoulders and we went on.
Simply telling a lender "I neglected to pay the bill, didn't realize I owed it till the collection co contacted me, I paid it X days later, here is the payment on my CC statement" should take care of it.
posted by rudd135 at 3:31 PM on July 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

I empathize completely. You probably have enough going for you to get the stain removed from your credit report. I'm a little anal, so that's what I would do.

I answered something similar a while ago (link below). The basics is that you have to be persistent in calling until you get someone in VZ billing who is sympathetic. That might take a while, though I hope their phone systems have improved since I jumped through similar hoops, for your sake.

Get them to understand you paid VZ in full. Have them agree to send a letter to the bureaus removing that notation. And get a copy of that letter from VZ yourself, should you need to follow up.


Good luck!
posted by ccl6yl at 6:03 PM on July 12, 2015

« Older Self-acceptance after breakup with asexual...   |   Can I list class projects on my resume? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.