You need to post this in the rebuilding forum where people have a lot more experience dealing with collections.
In general, there's not much you can do to prevent them from reporting. You can try to negotiate an agreement with them where you will pay if they agree not to report or to delete if they have reported, but they don't have to agree. A couple things you want to figure out first. When did the account go delinquent? That will be important both for understanding whether you are inside your state's statute of limitations, in which case they could sue you, and for understanding how long the collection would remain on your report if it were reported. A collection stays on your report for 7.5 years from date of first delinquency.
You want to know whether your are inside statute of limitations (SOL) because while you are inside SOL, negotiating with the collector is a lot more tricky. They can file suit and get a judgment, so you can't take quite as hard a stance with them. If you are outside SOL, then you have more leverage in negotiating a settlement.
If you call and speak with the CA, they will often tell you that they will not report so long as you pay. Some CAs hold to that, but others don't. There's nothing that prevents them from reporting the collection as a paid collection after it is paid, unless you have a written agreement in place that you can enforce. On the other hand, if you press the issue too hard and the CA thinks you aren't going to pay, they may decide that they want/need to report as a tool to help them collect. So you really are stuck in a bit of a difficult position. You have to decide whether you want to pay them without an agreement and trust that they won't report, or try to negotiate an agreement not to report and hope that that negotiation won't cause them to report.
As part of weighing those risks, you should understand how long it will remain on your report if they do elect to report (which is why you need to know the DOFD as discussed above). All that said, if it were me, I would try to negotiate an agreement with them that they will not report if I paid in full. I'd send them a letter stating that without acknowleding the validity of the debt, I am willing to settle for payment in full provided they agree to keep the terms of the settlement confidential including that they will not report the debt to any credit reporting agency, and that if they have reported the debt to any credit reporting agency, they will delete that information. If they accept, have an authorized agent sign and return the agreement and I will deliver certified funds in the amount of XXX within 5 business days. Something like that.
The reason I would do it this way is that while you may cause them to report when they otherwise wouldn't, you still have some leverage because they haven't been paid yet. So you can then still try to negotiate a standard pay for delete arrangement (search PFD and you will find lots of info). Whereas if you pay them without anything in writing, and they later report, you have nothing to try to negotiate with them to then delete. You'd be relying on a GW (goodwill) deletion in that event, and those are a lot harder to accomplish.
You might also try searching for information about this specific CA before deciding what to do. For example, if people report that this CA never reports if you PIF before it hits your report, or if people report that this CA never accepts PFDs, that would change the strategy.
Locked thread to direct others to your post here: