A Woman Looking at Paperwork for an Old Debt Cardoza Law CorporationThere are a lot of times when it would be nice to be able to turn back the clock. Who wouldn’t want to relive a great day or look seven years younger with a snap of the fingers? However, when it comes to negative information on your credit report, you certainly don’t want to go back in time. You want that debt to age off as quickly as possible, so when old debt is suddenly “re-aged,” you need to know how to undo it. What does that mean? Let’s take a look.

Negative Information on Your Credit Report Has an Expiration Date

You made a mistake—defaulted on a loan, failed to pay off a credit card, declared bankruptcy. How long is this mistake going to haunt you? Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), most negative information can only stay on your credit report for seven years. Bankruptcy discharges remain for ten years. While this is still a long time to have a black mark on your report, at least you know it won’t be on there forever. Once it is removed, your credit score will go up and you can start to rebuild your credit.

How Debt Is “Re-Aged”

Re-aging debt basically means that the seven-year countdown clock has been restarted. The clock is supposed to start on the date the debt becomes delinquent and should run for exactly seven years. At that point, information about the debt should be removed from all of your credit reports. This should happen automatically. When it doesn’t happen, it’s usually because a debt collector reported the wrong date of delinquency to the credit reporting agency. Often, the debt collector will report the date they took over collection of the debt, which could be years after the date of delinquency.

What You Can Do About it

The credit reporting agency (CRA) has no way of knowing that they have been given the wrong information about a delinquent debt on your credit report. They are simply reporting what they have been told. However, if you dispute the information by informing them that they have the wrong date of delinquency, the CRA must investigate your claim. Unfortunately, in most cases, they will get verification from the debt collector that the date is correct. This is because many debt buyers don’t have the original paperwork on the debt and can’t prove anything one way or another. If the CRA accepts their response and does not remove the old debt, you will have to file a dispute with the debt collector and force them to provide proof of the date of delinquency.

When You May Be Entitled to Damages

If you are struggling to get re-aged debt off your credit report, contact the Cardoza Law Corporation for guidance. You have rights under federal law and may be entitled to damages if the credit reporting agency and the debt collection agency are not respecting these rights. We can tell you what you need to do and, if we can help you win damages, we will! Contact us online or call the office directly at 855.982.2400 and let's see how we can help!


Michael F. Cardoza, Esq.
Connect with me
U.S. Marine & Consumer Financial Protection Attorney helping victims of ID theft and Credit Reporting errors.