Negative information on my credit report!
I check my credit report at least once a year. I recently checked again, and there suddenly was negative information on it! A charge-off from 2004 from Victoria’s Secret! This definitely wasn’t there last time I checked!
I did have a Victorias Secret card once upon a time (naivety of youth), but I rarely used it and always paid it. They said that I had a $10 bill in 2004 that I never paid! By 2004 I (think) I already had phased it out (but probably never officially closed it). The charge-off amount was for $32. Clearly I would have paid that, had I ever been contacted with a legitimate bill. Since this only recently appeared, I was quite confused. (I also have always filled out change of address forms and would have known if I’d received a bill, not to mention I didn’t move in the months I supposedly didn’t pay.)
Naturally, I disputed the information with Experian, but they decided it was accurate. I did not get any other information from them other than their verdict. I’m still pretty certain it is some sort of error, so my natural inclination is to bug Victoria’s Secret to fix it. Or if they can indeed show that I owe them money, I’d be happy to pay my bill.
But 2004? It is 2011! If I do nothing except wait a few months, I can dispute again and say it must be removed because it has been 7 years, which is the length a charge-off stays on your report. I’m worried that contacting them and offering to pay will “reset the clock” and keep it on my report for another 7 years (though Google suggests this is a myth). I’m not planning on getting any new lines of credit this year, and the problem will “fix itself” in a few months.
Besides being insulted to have a black mark on my credit, it seems the most sensible (i.e., laziest) course of action seems to be just to wait it out. I can go through the hassle of writing letters and fixing it myself, but that likely will take almost as long.
So, readers, what would you do? Be responsible and chase down this black mark, or just wait for it to go away on its own?