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Over six months ago, I started receiving calls & voice mails from a debt collector. I never answered the phone and eventually blocked them. I didn't have any debts (that I was aware of) so I assumed they had the wrong person.

Just now I noticed that there is a derogatory mark on my credit report from this collection agency. It listed the original creditor as a medical facility I have been to, but do not knowingly owe any money to.

At this point my conclusion is that the debt collector has the right person, but the original creditor either erroneously assigned a debt to me or never once informed me that I owed a debt to them.

What is the best way to go about getting this resolved? Who should I contact first?

My goal is to get the derogatory mark off my credit report. I'm willing to pay the debt if the creditor can prove to me that I owe them, but which party would I pay? Do I have any other retaliatory options against the creditor if I can determine that they either falsely assigned the debt to me or failed to contact me?

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    This is a good warning to ALWAYS respond to debt collector calls, especially if the debt isn't legit. – JohnFx Apr 29 '15 at 19:23
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    find out about the debt first. was your medical insurance supposed to cover it? From the information you provided it sounds like you contact the three credit agencies to remove the item from your report. But you need to find out about the debt first – CQM Apr 29 '15 at 19:23
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Run your credit reports for the 3 major agencies to find out which of them have the debt was reported on and initiate the dispute process with each agency that reports the invalid debt. This will cause the person who put it on the report to either prove that it is valid or remove it from your report.

Ignoring debt collector calls is not a good option, regardless of whether the debt is valid. They obviously think the debt is yours so their response is naturally to put it on your credit report. In most cases it is a good idea to respond in writing that it is not your debt.

I doubt you have much recourse against the creditor. For one thing they DID try to contact you and you dodged them. That is not their fault. Secondly, it is unlikely you would prevail unless you could prove that they maliciously put false information on your credit or through gross incompetence did so. More likely is that they are mismatching you to a debt from someone with a similar name, or there is an accounting error somewhere. Or possibly you owe the debt and no one ever sent you a bill. It happens with medical bills all the time.

  • Very helpful, thank you! Just to clarify, I DID NOT dodge the creditor. They never contacted me and I do not knowingly have any outstanding bills. – didnowrong May 1 '15 at 18:24
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    From your own post "I started receiving calls & voice mails from a debt collector. I never answered the phone and eventually blocked them." – JohnFx May 1 '15 at 19:18
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I would start with actually talking to the collection agency. Say what you are saying here, namely: "I'm willing to pay the debt if the creditor can prove to me that I owe them".

You can also talk to the health facility, ask them for information or records.

You can start there and see what happens. Once you are ready to pay the debt you can negotiate to have the negative mark removed from your report.

It really depends on the collection agency. They could be reasonable, or the could be total scum.

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