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I just found out that my wife had a debt from a doctor related to our recent pregnancy go to collections. I found out because credit monitoring picked it up - I haven't heard from a collections agency yet. The irritating part is that this is a first for us and the debt is tiny ($200). From the credit report I figured out what doctor's office it was, called their billing department, and confirmed that we we did in fact owe them $200 which they sent off to collections. They claimed to have sent the final bill in December (their system doesn't record whether or not they had sent other bills previously).

The extremely frustrating part of the situation is that if I had received a bill I would have paid it without question - $200 is tiny compared to most of the other bills related to this pregnancy, and the rest were all paid immediately. It seems very likely that this was a screw up on the part of the doctor's billing office (not that the debt is invalid, but that they failed to properly contact me before sending this off to collections), but unfortunately my wife is the one who had 100 points knocked off of her otherwise good credit rating for no good reason.

I haven't talked to the collections agency yet. They haven't tried to contact us yet. Paying this off is not a problem in the slightest. What I want is to get this off of the credit report and get my wife's credit score restored. I originally expected that I could offer to quickly pay this in full in return for having the collection removed from my wife's report, restoring her credit. However some of my reading leads me to believe that getting this off her report may not be an option regardless. I'm trying to figure out what is actually true so I can figure out how to proceed with the collections agency.

Is it possible to get this off my wife's report and her credit rating restored? I.e. if I promise to pay quickly and in full in exchange for this collection being removed from my wife's report, can the collection agency actually do that? Obviously I would get everything in writing. If they remove the collection from her report, will it bring her score back up?

  • Did you check with the doctor office to see if you can just pay them? I had this happen for almost this same amount (right at $200, which I never received a bill for), called the billing department of the doctor/hospital, paid them over the phone, and then waited a month to see if it was still on my report. It was, so I disputed it with the credit agency, and the next time I remembered to check it was gone. Being sent to collections often doesn't mean the debt was sold, so you can still pay the original creditor. Getting it removed from the report is mostly a crap shoot. – BrianH Jun 14 at 4:21
  • @BrianH I asked if I could still pay them or if I had to deal with the collections agency - they said that once they sent it to collections there was nothing they could do. – conman Jun 14 at 10:35
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Nobody can say except the collections agency. They buy these debts for a few percentage points of the total debt and most go unrecovered. They may be persuaded to to a "pay for delete" agreement with you.

However, be aware that there is no requirement for them to do so. If you simply pay the debt in full, it will be marked as 'paid' on your credit report but it will still be listed as a collections account for seven years.

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I had a similar situation with the remaining portion of a final cable bill, something like $3. It was so small, the collections agency didn't even bother reaching out (over multiple years). As you mentioned, extremely frustrating!

Anyways, after I had paid the fee I was able to get 2 of the big 3 credit rating agencies (don't recall which 2) to remove the item from my history after explaining the situation. I believe I disputed it right through a free credit report generated through annualcreditreport.com

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