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Negative information on my credit report!

January 10, 2011

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?

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17 Comments leave one →
  1. January 10, 2011 6:03 am

    At this point, I’m pretty sure I would just wait it out. The fact that it’s only $32 and that it’s going to resolve itself of it’s own accord in a few months makes inaction the best action, in my opinion.

    As an informal way to get some peace of mind, I might try contacting Victoria’s Secret with this and just let them know that you find it puzzling that it took six and a half years for this to show up on your report (if in fact you can ‘prove’ that the information wasn’t in your last Experian report).

    • January 17, 2011 8:15 pm

      Eh, I don’t even think I’m going to bother. I like when things fix themselves!

      I probably can’t prove it wasn’t on my credit report before, but i KNOW I checked all 3 in the last year and it just showed up randomly at some point in the last year (or… maybe 2 i guess).

  2. January 10, 2011 7:30 am

    I would fight it, call Victoria Secret and demand the bill!

  3. January 10, 2011 8:02 am

    Ugh, I have no idea what to do. But this frightens me that stuff can just “show up” on a credit report 6 years later. Seriously V.S., that’s bad business. Bad.

  4. January 10, 2011 8:55 am

    That’s weird that it just showed up unexpectedly. I’d definitely call and get it worked out. Then again, I’m more of a proactive person to poke a sleeping dragon than to wait for them to get around to it.

    Perhaps it’s just the wrong person? They made a mistake in the accounts? 7 years for it to show up? Weird.

  5. Dogatemyfinances permalink
    January 10, 2011 10:14 am

    Contacting them doesn’t start it over — paying does. You could bug them to document it. Sounds like doing nothing is a lot easier though…

  6. January 10, 2011 11:13 am

    I might call Victoria’s Secret and inquire, but honestly I’d just wait it out at this point. Annoying though!

  7. Andrea permalink
    January 10, 2011 12:05 pm

    Well, it’s going to disappear soon so it’s tempting to just do nothing about it and if a bank would pull up your report I’m sure a reasonable person would probably take that charge-off lightly. Personally though, I would get to the bottom of this. I had fraud committed once on a credit card I have, it scared the hell out of me but I got it resolved and removed and learned a lot along the way. It’s worth a try!

  8. January 10, 2011 12:38 pm

    Good luck contacting them. I have a Victoria’s Secret card that I opened around 2004, and haven’t used since then. I don’t have the card or card number anymore, and when I called them, they have no record of me at all! I never closed the card, although the rep I spoke with said they probably did (but they never informed me).

    Anyway, I would ignore it and wait for it to drop off next year. I believe contacting them about the debt DOES restart the clock.

    • January 17, 2011 8:17 pm

      Just to be safe (ie, lazy) I probably won’t contact them. It sounds like they probably would just be confused anyway!

  9. January 10, 2011 3:42 pm

    I’m lazy, so I vote for sitting back and waiting…

  10. January 11, 2011 12:18 pm

    Ooooh dear. I would totally fight it. I don’t care how little the amount owing was. If there is no bill that they can provide you with – you don’t owe them a single cent!

  11. January 11, 2011 3:57 pm

    I had negative information show up on my report once too, though it didn’t wait that long to show up! A bank had made an error calculating my interest when I was paying off and closing an account. They kept the account open and charged me interest for months on couple dollars left in the account. I didn’t know about it because I had paid exactly what they said I owed, and then gave them the card back to be destroyed. They never said anything, never sent me any notifications, nothing. I found out months later when I checked my credit as I was preparing to start house hunting. It took months to fix. If you’re close to having it just drop off your credit history and you’re not looking to apply for anything in the near future I’d just leave it alone.

  12. January 11, 2011 6:16 pm

    I would definitely contact VS and ask for a bill, no harm in doing that.

  13. January 12, 2011 9:36 pm

    I would wait sometimes trying to get it taken off could cause more harm than good.

  14. January 16, 2011 9:35 pm

    I would definately try to fight it. Every little bit helps in general, so I’m guessing a credit report is the same thing. Why suffer consequences if you didn’t even do anything?

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