08-26-2010 11:01 AM
Hi! So we recently reviewed our credit report and found a $56 collection account for a medical debt. It is reported under the name of the collection agency and is the only negative on either of our files. Had absolutely no knowledge of this bill before.
So we contacted the OC and they were very supportive in our request to pay immediately, contingent on the entry being completely deleted. They even went as far as contacting the collection agency to request that this be done.
The next call we received was from the collection agency. They claim they are a 3rd party servicer of the debt for the OC and are unable to delete any entries they have made and that all they can do is update the status to "Paid".
I was a CA collector in a former life (before college) and handled hospital/physician collections exclusively. I was FDCPA certified and witnessed firsthand, and with regularity, negative entries being updated and/or deleted for all kinds of reasons.
However, that was 15+ years ago so I just don't know if anything has changed.
Is there any substance to the claim of this CA that they are not allowed to delete credit report entries unless they are found to be inaccurate? Is there anything in the current law that I can reference in dealing with them to at least establish that they can in fact do it. I understand if that's just the policy of the CA but they are telling us that they cannot do it even if they wanted to.
All over $56.
08-26-2010 12:16 PM - edited 08-26-2010 12:30 PM
Hi, welcome to the forums!
No, they're lying like a rug. And they are risking a HIPAA violation by continuing to report when the OC pulled the collection back.
edit in an attempt to clarify: creditors and collection agencies can always delete negative info. They're just not supposed to, per their agreements with the CRA's. It's a decision that they are allowed to make. Front-line phone answerers might not be aware of this.
With medical collections, one interpretation of HIPAA says that medical collections can no longer be reported once the debt is paid, because there is no longer a business relationship (probably have the terminology wrong, but that's the underlying idea) between the healthcare provider and the CA, and so there is no allowable purpose in continuing to report the collection.
DXH once had a medical collection on two of his reports. We knew nothing about it. It resulted from the insurance company denying the original bill by an ER physician. Instead of fixing the bill and resubmitting it, the ER billers just turned it over to collections. All we knew was that we got several EOB's stating that the bill had been sent to insurance, and then nothing. I defy anyone to tell me with a straight face that a consumer/ patient can easily track the progress of medical insurance payments via mailed-out EOB's. I work in patient health information/ records, and I'm as baffled as anyone.
At any rate, we contacted the insurance company, who we no longer used, and they graciously agreed to pay the claim. Once it was paid, I contacted the CA. The collection was gone the next month.
It's certainly not always that smooth or easy, but it's certainly better than regular (non-medical) collections.
08-26-2010 12:44 PM
Thank you for the thoughtful reply!
I have been reading up on the HIPPA route and best I've determined is that there are differing interpretations of how that law is applied with medical collections and that it might work, might not. Certainly seems like something to try if nothing else works.
One of the frustrations we are having is determining who actually owns the debt. It shows under the name of the CA on our credit report. However, the CA says they are only a 3rd party servicer for the OC. But then the OC tells us that it's up to the CA and that all they can do is support our request.
08-26-2010 03:39 PM
Having a similar issue with a CA. All over a matter of a $55 parking ticket that was tacked onto a car no longer under my ownership. (My mistake for not having filed the DMV paperwork.)
I paid the fine almost two years ago. Unfortunately the DOFD was in 2007. I've mailed them a handful of GW letters asking if they'd remove it, never received a response. I just called the number and spoke to a front line phone person. They sounded uneducated and also mentioned "they only report updates" and that it cannot be deleted. Any way to get around the grunts?
08-26-2010 04:52 PM
I have gotten 3 collections agencies to delete the accounts after paying them in full. 1 just yesterday, 1 last Friday and 1 in July. These collections arose because I moved and didn't receive notice which is what I told them repeatedly. Thier first response is always to say that they cannot delete. I wrote very nice letters about 3 weeks apart explaining my situation and how terribly it was harming me in qualifying for good rates on a home. I never got a response. It's just a matter of being persistent. Afterwards, I began calling and probably spoke to 15 different people. Finally I was given the name of the person in the disputes department and began writing directly to him. The process took about 3 months but it is worth it in the end. Good luck to you. Don't give up.
08-28-2010 12:49 AM - edited 08-28-2010 12:50 AM
This is a legal mailstrom!
Technically and procedurally, the CAs are totally correct in stating grounds for why they WONT delete. So any CA that tells you this is NOT being dishonest.
But what they dont tell you is that it is NOT a specific provision of law. So, no, it is NOT illegal for them to delete.
When a CA signs up with a CRA to do credit reporting with the CRA, they enter into a reporting contract. One of the major provisions in the reproting agreement between the credtitor/CA is that they agree to comply with the reporting guidlelines published jointly by the CRAs in a document know as the "Credit Reporting Resources Guide (c) 2006, CDIA."
They have legal contract with the CRAs to comply with these credit reporting standards. One standard that is repeatedly, and clearly stated under numerous sections of this agreement, is that anyone reporting information to them should not delete prior, accurate informtion based on the fact that payment of debt has occured.
But this apparently clear and express provision of the reporting agreement has absolutely no followup provisions, and thus NO teeth.. If a credtitor/CA does delete prior reporting based on payment offered to them, all the credtior/CA has to do is to report the deletion. They dont have to offfer an reasons. THe CRA must accept it, and never questions the underlying reasons. No CRA has EVER challenged, to my knowledge, the violation of the reporting agreement by even asking, yet alone requiring, the reporting party to supplement any reason for their deletion.
Bottom line, the credtitor/CA can properly invoke this is a legal reason for denial of a PFD/GW, but they can just as easily ignore it with NO peril.
Their incentive is fueled by greed, not compliance with the reporting guidelines.
08-28-2010 11:54 AM
If the OC still controls the debt and it sounds like it does. See if you can ask the OC to recall your account from the CA.
08-28-2010 09:51 PM
I have no idea what asking an OC to "recall" the account means.
If the OC still owns the debt, and they accept payment from you, they will notify the CA that the debt is now satisfied, which will require the CA to cease further collection activity, and to update the debt balance to $0. But this does not require the CA to delete ("recall?") their prior, and separate, reporting of the collection from your CR.
08-28-2010 11:48 PM - edited 08-29-2010 04:27 PM
Some OCs and / or CAs see themselves as keepers of the holy grail and refuse to accept a PFD because they can, though they have no responsibility to refuse.
Each reporting entity is, basically, a subscriber to one or more of the CRAs. In their subscriber agreement they agree to accept industry guidelines as outlined in the Consumer Data Industry Association's 2009 version of the Credit Reporting Resource Guide. It is important to note that CRAs can rarely obligate subscribers -- only recommend.
CRRG Section 2-3:
Once information is reported accurately, it is important that data furnishers not ask for a subsequent change in the history payment record unless the payment history is inaccurate.
• Consumer credit history information will be reported in a factual, precise and objective manner.
• Only inaccurately reported accounts should be deleted. Paid derogatory accounts, such as collections or charge offs, should be reported as paid; they should not be deleted.
• Requests by consumers for reverification of challenged information must be processed promptly.
• Unless an error is discovered, the consumer will be advised that the factual credit history will continue to be reported.
Now, should you have encountered a recalcitrant CRA subscriber who refuses to accept a PFD, depending on how crucial it is to have this tradeline deleted and any time constraints you may be under, you do have various options some of which may serve to help the CA / OC find religion. Sometimes it takes something as simple as moving up higher in the food chain or persistence to the point of annoyance. My personal favorite, though, is to wait until the creditor can be found in flagrante delicto of some obscure yet actionable consumer statute such as the FCRA / FDCPA. You'd be surprised how many people see the light when served and facing a $1k or more slap upside the noggin.
08-29-2010 06:07 AM
Each reporting entity is, I agree, basically, a legal subscriber to one or more of the CRAs.
Each CRA has one uniform reporting in their contracts.
In their subscriber agreement they contractually agree to accept guidelines as outlined in the Consumer Data Industry Association's © 2009 version of the Credit Reporting Resource Guide. It is not a recommendation, it is a contract agreement.
I can only make brief quotes from the contract provisions in the credit reporting manual, due to copyright limitations:
“paid, derogatory accounts, such as collections, should be reported paid; they should not be deleted”
“data furnishers should not report subsequent deletion of an account history unless an actual error is reported. Paid derogatory accounts, such as collections, should be reported as paid; they should not be deleted.