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This is question is about my friend's current situation that I found out about and now my dad and I are trying to help him.

Background: My friend (22) had to go to the hospital (I believe he was 18+ at the time) and his parent's supposedly handled the charges. This was ~3 years ago. His parents, without telling him, put the charges in his name and didn't pay.

Now: My friend explained to me that a few months ago he received a letter in the mail about a debt collector had picked up his hospital bill and he needs to begin making payments. He never knew about the bill, most likely because his mother takes all the mail and opens its without telling anyone.

He has contacted the debt collector and his making minimum payments until he starts is full-time job in July. We got his credit score and its about 530.

Question: Can he dispute that charge from his credit history? What is the best approach to pay it off (in full or in payments)?

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    paying off debt as quickly as possible is the best approach when you have debt – depperm Apr 19 '18 at 12:36
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    Well, first thing first would be to make very certain that it's not a scam. – a CVn Apr 19 '18 at 12:36
  • @MichaelKjörling That's a good point, we didn't see the debt on his credit report. But his score is really low and the other items on the report would have not caused such bad score. – theblindprophet Apr 19 '18 at 12:37
  • An make sure to get the mail-situation in order. As an adult, you are responsible for your own mail. – Daniel Apr 19 '18 at 12:41
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    If its not on the report, then its not the cause of the low score. A score is only based on the information in the report, nothing else. His score may be low simply because of a lack of positive active accounts. Also from where was the score obtained? – Norm Apr 19 '18 at 12:47
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If it was me in this situation, I would stop making minimum payments to the collectors ASAP. Is this one collection or multiple? The goal is to have one lump sum, so start collecting money in a savings account.

If it is multiple, I would dispute the charges and see what proof they have. Some may go away, but if they don't that is okay.

Once some money is saved a collector calls offer to settle the debt, once and for all, for a fixed sum. I would start at the 10% of what is actually owed, but not go any higher than 30%. If they do not agree, simply hang up and try again next month.

You want it in writing that the fixed sum settles the debt. In order to pay them the agreed upon amount either used a prepaid credit card (then never use it again) or send them a money order. Keep the paperwork in a safe place.

Despite the trouble with the parents, these expenses were incurred so I do not expect the disputes to solve any of the issues.

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    Second the lump-sum and get-it-in-writing bits. I settled a debt a decade or more ago for 50%. Shysters decided they were gonna try to collect the rest a few years later, under the pretense that i agreed to payments. (I let them know i don't do partial payments, period, and literally dared them to sue. No word since. Someone who's already made payments might not have the footing for such a stance, though.) – cHao Apr 19 '18 at 16:28
  • This is horrible advice that will end up with blemishes on his credit that will be next to impossible to remove. OP has stated it is NOT on his report. Stopping payment guarantees it will show up on his report very quickly. – Norm Apr 19 '18 at 21:45
  • I can't imagine that these very late payments are not on the report. It's more likely he didn't know how to read it. – Andrew Lazarus Apr 21 '18 at 0:20

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