How Often Can an Old Collection Be Sold and Reappear on Your Credit Report?

Question from Coll: How many times can an old collection be sold and then re-appear on your credit? How can you stop this from happening?

I had something charged off, fall off my report, and now it’s back on my report with a company..grrr


It’s frustrating to see an old debt reappear on your credit report, especially when you thought it was resolved. This can happen because unpaid debts can be sold and resold multiple times by debt collectors. There’s no limit to how many times a debt can be sold. However, there are rules about how long these debts can appear on your credit report.

Understanding the Seven-Year Rule

According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), most negative information, including collections, can stay on your credit report for seven years from the date of the original delinquency. This is often referred to as the “seven-year rule”. After seven years, the debt should fall off your report.

What to Do If an Old Debt Reappears

If a debt reappears on your credit report after the seven-year period, it’s known as “re-aging”. This is illegal and you can dispute it. Here’s how:

  • Check the dates: Verify the date of the original delinquency. If it’s been more than seven years, the debt should not be on your report.
  • Dispute the error: If the debt is too old to be reported, file a dispute with the credit reporting agency. You can do this online or by mail. Include copies of any supporting documents.
  • Contact the debt collector: Send a letter to the debt collector asking them to verify the debt. If they can’t provide proof that you owe the debt, they must stop reporting it.

Preventing Reappearance of Old Debts

To prevent old debts from reappearing on your credit report, consider the following steps:

  • Keep good records: Maintain records of your debts, including payment receipts and correspondence with creditors.
  • Monitor your credit: Regularly review your credit report for errors or signs of fraud. You’re entitled to a free report from each of the three major credit bureaus every year.
  • Consider paying off old debts: If you can afford it, consider paying off old debts or negotiating a settlement. This can prevent the debt from being sold to new collectors.

Remember, it’s important to understand your rights when dealing with debt collectors. If you believe a debt collector is violating your rights, you can file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

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