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I have an above average credit rating and am very responsible with any payments that need to be made. After moving out of my last apartment, I paid all of the rent and never received another bill for more payment. The other day I received a letter stating that the balance owed had been transferred to a collection agency.

I will very gladly pay the balance that I owe, but since I never received a bill, can I dispute the negative credit reporting?

I would like to find out if it's even possible to have it removed before I discuss it with the apartment complex in case they tell me it's not possible.

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    Do you have a receipt or copy of the cashed check for the last month's rent? Did they send you back your security deposit, if any? – JoeTaxpayer Apr 14 '15 at 0:07
  • Did either actually report to a consumer reporting agency (e.g. put on your credit report), and if so, which? You implied it but want to be sure and learn which. – wilee Apr 14 '15 at 2:25
  • Also, did you give your landlord a forwarding address? How long ago was it? Did you have the USPS forward your mail? – wilee Apr 14 '15 at 2:30
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Yes. It is always possible for someone to remove a negative item they've reported, no matter how old, and you can dispute it from a couple different angles. (Whether they will remove the item is another story.) If it's on your credit report, you want to see who actually reported it, the collection agency or the original creditor. Please note that payment does not necessarily remove the negative item.

It's implied, but since you didn't explicitly say so, I'll suggest you make sure it's actually on your credit report. A lot of times a creditor or collection agency won't put it on your report until the CA gives up on collecting.

This may be a simple mistake which can be resolved with a phone call, especially if it hasn't shown up on your credit report.

If not, whether it's been reported yet or not, you have some recourse thanks to the Fair Credit Debt Collection Act, the Fair Credit Billing Act, and the Fair Credit Reporting Act. But that's for a separate question; this one is a yes/no "can it be removed."

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The balance is now in the hands of a collection agency. If there's anyone you have to talk to, it's the collection agency, not the apartment complex.

The collection agency has the power to remove the negative remarks from your record, but that's something you'll have to negotiate with them. You can propose to them that you'll pay down the balance if they remove the remarks from your report. They accept this kind of agreements half of the time, specially if it was a miscommunication with the apartment complex like you described. Just make sure you get the agreement in writing before you make any payments.

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