If you see an account in collections on your credit report, you’re not alone. 89 million U.S. consumers also
experience this. If you’re in this situation, here’s what you need to know:
Collections can come from the original creditor or a third party agency that’s contracted by that
creditor. If you don’t recognize the account, contact the company listed on your credit report.
Even if you paid off a collections account, it will appear on your report for up to 7 years. Use our interactive tool to learn more about how collections appear on your
How did this happen?
It’s possible that you missed a notice or a call from a creditor. Medical bills and utilities are two common
One medical procedure can result in multiple bills from different providers. If you miss one bill it may
fall into collections—even if you paid off the other bills related to your treatment.
If you recently moved, your previous utility companies may not have your current address. You may fall into
collections if you don’t receive and pay a final bill.
How do I dispute collections on my credit report?
You have the right to dispute incomplete or inaccurate information. If you identify information in your file
that is incomplete or inaccurate, and report it to the consumer reporting agency, the agency must investigate
unless your dispute is frivolous.
First, contact the creditor or collections agency and verify that the account in collections is accurate. If it
is, you can’t submit a dispute. If the collections agency confirms it was reported in error, you can dispute it
through the TransUnion Service Center.
If you suspect a collection is fraudulent, you should report the fraud at identitytheft.gov and then
file a dispute.
If the agency verifies that disputed information is accurate, it may continue to report that information.
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