Has a company you do not recognize suddenly appeared on your credit report claiming you owe them money? Who is it, why do they think you owe them money, and how do you remove the negative information from your report?
Who is Reporting Information on My Credit Report – Creditor or Debt Collector?
In order to have information from an unknown company removed from your credit report, you must first determine who is reporting the information, a creditor or a debt collector.
A creditor is a person that a debtor owes an original debt to for the purchase of goods or services. Creditors can include:
- Banks, mortgage companies, and financial institutions that provide consumer loans
- Plumbers, accountants, and other professionals or tradesmen
- Landlords or rental companies
- Credit card companies
- Healthcare providers
A debt collector is a person or agency that a creditor hires to collect a debt on their behalf. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) defines a debt collector as:
“Any person who regularly collects, or attempts to collect, consumer debts for another person or institution or uses some name other than its own when collecting its own consumer debts.”
Debt collectors are allowed to report negative information on your credit report even though you have no contract with them, may not recognize the company name, and have never agreed to pay them. This is because they are hired by a creditor, with whom you have done business; to collect on a debt you owe the creditor.
What if I Think I Do Owe the Debt Listed on My Credit Report?
A debt collector may receive inaccurate information from an original creditor, and may report negative information on the wrong person's credit report or wrong information on the correct person's report. If an unknown company appears on your credit report, write to them and ask for verification of the debt and mail a copy of your letter to the Federal Trade Commission at 6th and Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20850. Once you receive verification you can then either settle the debt or, if you really do not owe it, dispute it with the credit reporting agency using their online process. Contact information for the three national reporting agencies is:
Equifax Information Services LLC
P.O. Box 740256
Atlanta, GA 30374-0256
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016
P.O. Box 4500
Allen, TX 75013
An Unknown Company on My Credit Report Refuses to Remove the Information
If you have received verification of a debt, do not owe it, and have disputed it with the credit reporting agency, but is it still on your credit report, you may want to consider hiring a consumer lawyer.
If you are in California, please feel free to contact our office at 1-800-219-3577, for a free, no obligation consultation.