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How I Removed Charge-Offs From My Credit Report

Posted By:  |  October 9, 2012  |  39 Comment(s)

Toward the beginning of the recession (2008) I was just setting out on my own and was completely unequipped with the knowledge of how credit works or how greatly it could impact my life. Because of this, I made stupid, uninformed mistakes that cost me a lot of time and stress. You’ll be glad to hear–as I was–that there is hope if you need to do some credit repair of your own due to charge-offs.

But what is a charge-off, exactly? If a creditor is unable to collect payment after a certain period of time (typically 180 days), they will “charge it off” so they can write the debt off as a loss against their income taxes. At this point, the debt is handed over to a collector and the negative words “charge-off” will appear on your credit report, discouraging future lenders from working with you.

Like I said, though, there is hope! Here are three ways I was able to get rid of these ugly words from my credit report and move forward with my life.

1. Request a Goodwill Removal Post-Payment

The first time I noticed a charge-off on my credit report, I panicked. Not knowing what to do, I hastily sent in payment, wrongfully thinking that this would repair my account status. Unfortunately, paying off an account after the charge-off status has already been reported to the credit bureaus does not result in its removal. I decided to call my creditor and politely request that they help me out with my credit repair process. I spoke with a manager (this is important, as regular employees do not have the same decision-making power) and graciously pled my case. In the end, he agreed to send me a “cancellation of debt” letter which I then forwarded to the credit bureaus. Within three months, the charge-off had disappeared from my report.

2. Exchange Payment for Removal

If I had known better the first time around, I would have started off with negotiation techniques before making payment on my charge-offs. This is by far the most effective way for credit repair and resolution. Again, it is very important that when you call your creditor, you speak to a manager. Also be mindful that by the time your account has reached charge-off status, it has probably been handed off to a collection agency. Do not try to negotiate with collections personnel – always contact the creditor directly. I was extremely polite and to-the-point (remember, no one wants to be on the phone with someone who is hostile or who rambles on for ten minutes about their life story). I simply offered to pay the amount in full in exchange for a removal of the charge-off status from my report. The manager agreed to contact the credit bureaus on my behalf to  remove the charge-off status completely, and I agreed to make payment upon receipt of a written, dated, and signed agreement stating that the creditor would, in fact, carry out their end of the bargain. The negative status dropped off my report within a month.

3. Dispute the Charge-Off

One of my most frustrating moments was finding a charge-off on my credit report after never receiving bills or notifications! Mistakes happen, and evidently my creditor either didn’t receive or never logged my change-of-address submission. Because of this, I never received statements or past-due notices and had no idea that I was being sent to collections. Again, I contacted the creditor and spoke with a manager to make payment. I let her know what had happened, and informed her that I would be making the payment now, but would be disputing the charge-off status with the credit bureaus. Because creditors have 30 days to respond to disputes, I requested that she not respond so that the charge-off would be removed. I had her fax me an agreement and once again, the charge-off was gone within a month.

4. Hiring an agency

Between the phone calls, wait times, and  just my impatience to deal with people, I did find it nice to finally place the burden of calling and negotiating in the hands of a capable company.  Credible credit repair agencies are similar to accounting firms: they can do the same thing you can do for yourself, just for a monthly fee. This may be an option if you don’t have time to deal with it, or are just wanting to hand it off to a team of experts.  It can be a good decision. Just make sure it’s with a credible company! Be sure you talk to one of their reps, and get full disclosure on pricing and services provided.

 

 

Best of luck on your journey toward credit repair!

39 Comments

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  1. Anne
    March 14th, 2014 at 11:32 pm

    Sorry to say but to the person who said start aLLC. I closed an S-Corporation and they debt from the corporation was reported as a charge off on my personal credit report by Bank of America. I now have to use an attorney to help clean it up and get it removed. You may still go through the same hassle if you can’t pay.

  2. mrs. Yearwood -Singh
    March 14th, 2014 at 12:00 am

    This post is very informative, didnt know that creditors are willing to listen to you and would want to help you.

  3. Harvey
    December 5th, 2013 at 7:31 am

    I’M in the same boat, I paid off two collections under the impression, if paid it would be removed from my credit report but I was obviously wrong. I also tried to contact the creditor and was told that it was going to remain on my credit for 7 yrs, I dont know if i was speaking to a manager, I guess my next step would be to write a Goodwill letter or do you have any advice.

  4. AlviniaW
    October 27th, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    Thanks alot for this information I wish I would have know this sooner before I paid on my Debit to these the Collector. Again thanks so much.

  5. Erick
    October 26th, 2013 at 4:26 am

    I’ve been dealing with creditors for many years and have seen some of the Grimiest cut throat things these creditors do that is just unethical. To charge off an account and then sell it to multiple agencies while just changing a few numbers in the accounts to fool people into paying for old debt that they have already negotiated and payed. You definitely have to keep track of every debt you obtain and pay off and keep records of them. So sad that we here in America bailed out these shady banks that have never been willing to help us or bail us out of anything.

  6. Tia G
    July 24th, 2013 at 1:54 am

    The Statute of Limitation link was very helpful and so are the comments. Thanks Everyone!

  7. Rita
    July 17th, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    After a credit card company has charged off a debt and uses it as a tax write off how can that same debt be sold(I’m assume it’s sold) to a copany who tries to get payment for the same debt. Seems like double dipping.

  8. mike king
    May 31st, 2013 at 4:35 am

    you have entered a ream of criminals, shady operators
    liars, cheats, including the credit agencies, who work hand in glove with anyone who can help them make a buck, legally or illegally. /these thieves will go to any length to keep phony information on a report as long as possible. The score you get won’t be the score reported to anyone wishing to give you credit. As they scrumble through your life you begin to wonder how can they both report credit and be collectors also. It’s conflict of interest and your congress gets well taken care of by the immense lobby that pushes through the consumer law which only continue the corrupt and evil system. The FTC is a joke. Sure they get a 50,000 fine once in awhile but the take, the ill gotten gains are enormous. I for one have paid once, twice, even 5 times to get a debt removed, so I COULD BUY A HOUSE. The lenders are in on it. The lower your score the more interest they can charge. I have been abused, harassed, telephoned day and night, sued without getting served on a time barred debt, I didn’t know was mine or the Duke of Windsor. If you are smart and you don’t know where the debt is coming from, file identity theft report. No one gives a good flying finger anyone. No one will investigate, if if you knows the name of the perp. I had one who not only did it and got away with it, using my name and ssn, but turned around and did it again, after he admitted it! Wait for my book. I am going to expose the whole stinking cesspool and name the gang members who are involved as well as the organized crime that may muscle someone who refuses to pay. Oh, did I mention that I’m pretty damn mad?
    Thanks to the good folks who provide this website. It’s a lot of work and appreciated much.

  9. Francine
    February 28th, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    Wonderful suggestions, I’m working on my credit repair right now! I’ve signed up with Credit Sesame and purchased my full credit report. Thanks again!

  10. Antonio
    February 6th, 2013 at 8:33 am

    This information was very very very helpful thanks for the information guys

  11. Heather
    January 18th, 2013 at 8:22 pm

    Do what most other people do. Start a small business as an LLC, a homebased business, get incorporated and start using your business and obtain credit instead of using your personal credit, but still pay your bills. I in the same situation and looking for help is still costly. The way I see it, is to pay off my debts and be let it hurt for another 3-6 months. What else can you do, but still negotiate.

  12. gpop
    January 16th, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    I have a charge off of 1000 with a major bank so that showed on my credit report once.
    Then the bank hired a collector that also put it on my report for 1000.
    Now the collector sent it back to the bank and I am trying to negotiate with them.

    Could I get one removed as a dup?
    Which one is worse?

  13. isaac
    January 14th, 2013 at 8:16 am

    I still didn ‘t get how you can get rid of Judgements,please advise.thnx

  14. Neil
    January 4th, 2013 at 3:16 am

    When in doubt contact an attorney. The credit reporting agencies and the original creditor does not want to get sued and will take an attorney’s dispute letter more serious than a letter from an individual. Just Google credit repair and your city to find an attorney.

  15. BETTEE
    January 2nd, 2013 at 9:57 pm

    IS IT POSSIBLE TO GET A BANKRUPTCY REMOVED BEFORE 10 YRS. THE STATEMENT SAY,”MAY” REMAIN ON THER C.R. FOR “UP” TO 10 YEARS. IN MY RESEARCH, I FOUND NO LEGAL REASONS THAT A BANKRUPTCY SHOULD REMAIN ON THE REPORT FOR 10 YRS. THEREFORE I FEEL IT SHOULD BE REMOVED FROM THE C.R. EARLIER, CERTAINLY WHEN ASKED. PLEASE HELP!!!

  16. LHWinPA
    December 28th, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    Great info! Thanks for sharing! Insightful! I’m in the process of repair my credit. I hit abump in the road when 2 collection agencies bought the same account from Providian Bank. Is it legal for Providian to sell the same account to two different agencies? I paid one agency b/c it contacted me first and worked with me. The other agency,Asset Acceptance, contacted me after and choose to file suite against me. I provided proof to them that I paid another agency for the same bill. They are refusing to drop the lawsuit. What do I do? This information is on my credit report and obviously affecting my status.

  17. susie
    December 20th, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    Thanks for the info. I am going to try it today.

  18. calvin
    December 16th, 2012 at 5:14 am

    I have some charge off accounts that state date closed 7/7/2009 but that will not be removed from my account until 4/2016. In Va the statue off limitation is 5 yrs. What should I do?

  19. Saji
    December 10th, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    I had an unpaid medical bill as I left USA and got stuck in my native place due to visa problems. I got a call from a collection agency after 18 months.
    I agreed to pay them and asked if I can get a discount. She td me Yes and gave me a 10% discount and I paid the remaining amt in full
    Then next month credit report had a shock as it said collection amount not paid and in collections for the 10% amt she had given discount.
    I list 25 Pts on my report I could have as we’ll paid the 8 dollars discount I got. When I called the collection agency they told me that they are not financial advisors to inform me on that this would happen if I Take a discount. Idiots.
    Is there anyway to remove this collectionitem from my report

  20. Michael D. Lucas
    December 8th, 2012 at 9:43 am

    Back in 2005, I found a Federal Tax Lien of 233,340 dollars from ‘another’ person with my identical name. (NO JOKE) I couldn’t get a loan, because Experian had ‘confused me by name only’ without proper verification of social security number, and confirmation. Brazoria County refused to hear me, told me to call the I.R.S. This error was on my cred report, without my knowledge. I had to call the I.R.S. to clarify my S.S.N. and it was ‘perfect’ in their eyes, but my ‘name’ got confused with another S.S.N. that actually had the Federat Tax Lien! The I.R.S. dealt with Experian about it, and I now have to pay $12.00 a month for their “Protect My ID”. Despite all my disputes, and the fact they screwed up, I got no apology from Experian. If you feel Experian is hurting your lending options, call the Federal Trade Commission, and the I.R.S. Go Federal on Experian! I have yet to go to a bank to go over my debts ‘not’ reported on my Credit report, but shows up on my S.S.N. If You Can’t Afford Marriage, just Stay Single! :D

  21. yola
    December 7th, 2012 at 7:24 am

    Very useful information.

  22. Jeanne McLaughlin
    December 4th, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    After being denied credit and a lowered credit score of 100 points in a year I requested a credit report. I found there was a charge off on a Macy’s card for $30 a year ago. The statue of limitations in Pa is 7 years. I won’t contact an attorney for this amount. I think this can be explained when I do go for financing. I did this before on an account that was paid off but didn’t show on the credit report. It takes several months to show a pay off on the credit report. I did the above thanks for the information

  23. Nora
    December 4th, 2012 at 2:01 am

    My account with HBC has been charged off since 2007 when I filed banckruptcy so why is the collection agency collecting now?

  24. ray
    December 1st, 2012 at 3:08 am

    hi i have two charge offs with zero balances. saying sold or transferred. since 06. need advice

  25. well this is such great information it was very informative
    November 30th, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    hello I would like to know how do I contact a creditor who has already sent me to collections where do I begin to look please help I am trying to clean up my credit but don’t know where to begin and after reading your info about charge offs it really put me back on thinking should Ipay the collector or the creditor please give me some answers. This was the best information I learned today thanks a heap.

  26. Joan
    November 24th, 2012 at 5:23 am

    Thanks for the info. Very informative. Been wondering who to pay my $60 dental bill that went to collecton. Looks like I better call the dental.office and ask them to remove the collection. Thanks again.

  27. Tracy
    November 16th, 2012 at 8:59 am

    I recently had a vehicle repossessed … after it was auctioned off I owe almost 3thousand dollars, the exact amount that matched the fee, that the occurred to begin with, after the vehicle was repossessed… How do I find out exactly what the vehicle went for at the auction? B/c according to their contract if it sold for more than what I owed …I would get back the difference. So how do I track that vehicle price after auction? How do I have items – such as the repo, late payment on bills, or anything else derogatory on my credit report removed, and I have A LOT of credit inquiries b/c I was looking for a new vehicle and a broker to finance me ..b/c at the time I had great credit.. but was on SSi, and that couldn’t be used by itself ( by all the brokers I spoke to) in order to purchase the house. How is it possible to go from a 710 credit rating down to a 543; in one year? Last question… How do I begin to fix this issue w/o using an atty, and/or credit counselor? >>> Thanks, Tracy

  28. Ora W
    November 12th, 2012 at 10:24 am

    What the creditor tells you the debt has been turned over to a collection agency and you have to contact them now? What do you do then?

  29. Vee
    November 8th, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    We started credit cleanup on my husbands credit and ONE company has scarred it for another 5 years! We found a charge-off (one of a few) for less than $200. PAID it in full plus all these fees, etc. and it took 3 months to show paid on the payment amount on the CR, after many disputes, each month added more debt on the credit report! The company’s manager told me to be “nice” to the lady in charge of updating their system, or it won’t get marked paid! Well that was May 2, 2012. The Equifax CR still shows Current Status “Charge Off” after 6-7 disputes over this year, copies of the paid receipt mailed to Equifax, etc. No Go! They claimed it 3 separate months as a charge off over 2 years! Horray for their claim to the IRS as a loss after they got paid. I just got our last report today. Equifax says its correct to stay as a charge off, not a “Paid Charge Off” We have been trying to get a house, a whole year wasted for this company’s stubbornness, The other 2 CRB’s: removed (experian) and say PAID on the Current Status (Trans Union). Careful dealing with a simple payment. Some companies delete immediately and others seem like they get paid to ruin your credit. Put on your eggshell shoes.

  30. Laurie
    November 2nd, 2012 at 1:02 am

    Statute of Limitations By State… But I Still Recommend The Attorney.. :-)

    http://credit.about.com/od/statuteoflimitations/a/entirestatesol.htm

  31. Laurie
    November 2nd, 2012 at 12:44 am

    Depending on which state you live in, (For example Florida is 5 years from the date of the first delinquency & I believe Michigan is 6 years from the date of the first delinquency.) So you do not have to wait 7 years. Get yourself a good credit attorney. You might pay more to fix your first credit mistakes, but you will learn the right way.

  32. mardi
    October 31st, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    this was a good one! thanks.. we were planning to pay to the collection agency 500usd for $1400 owned to HSBC best buy credit card. so right now, we are in the question. what is the best action to take. Do I pay the collection agency or the Creditor (how can I find out who is the creditor for my outstanding balance) ..and from there once paid off. what is the next step to clean my credit report?

  33. Janai
    October 22nd, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    This was great information. Thanks for sharing!!!!

  34. makeisha Gibson
    October 21st, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    I would like to start off by saying thank you. I have been working on my credit file proximately 3 months now and I have search the web and this is the best information that I have received thanks so much

  35. JUDY
    October 21st, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    Be careful about allowing charge offs to “roll-off” your credit. New laws went into effect in 2008 that allow the amount charged off, when attempts to collect fail, to be considered income for you thereby issuing you a 1099-C and causing you to pay the taxes on the charged off amount. This typically will occur well within the statute of limitations.

  36. briana
    October 21st, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    I need to know what I owe in collections so I can pay it and how to start building credit

  37. CharlieK
    October 21st, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    I found the imformation to be very useful in getting items removed from my credit report, especially charge offs, I do have one on my report which I settled yrs ago .not sure of the statute of limitations so do I have to wait the 7yrs or can I have it removed by the lender

  38. Tony J
    October 17th, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    Good information. However, all of mine are over the statute of limitations so I am going to let them roll off my credit (usually 7 years). Google DEBT STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

  39. Jennifer H
    October 11th, 2012 at 5:52 am

    Finally a website posting a great tips article without bombarding me with ads, and keeping it simple!! You guys deserve a hug. :)

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