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The 7 Year Clock is Ticking – Credit Reporting Limits

I have been writing a lot lately about disputing expired items on your credit report. I encourage you to do so especially if your states statute of limits has been reached on the debt owed. If so it is no longer collectible as a valid debt. So if the debt is no longer valid I suggest the strategy of disputing an aspect of the credit file item that is inaccurate and ask for its immediate removal. This could be inaccurate date, amounts owed, account numbers or anything that is invalid. Keep this in mind that even if your states SOL is expired the item can still remain on your file for 7 years total. It only makes sense to dispute it in advance of this as the credit reporting agencies have no desire or inclination to remove on their own. This is something you can do yourself with some skillful written notices. DON’T try to get things removed via email, forms, or phone. Only deal with this in writing.

Finally, As part of your credit repair and restoration journey you must make critical decisions on whether to pay up on past debts. In some cases is really makes sense to make good on what you owe but you must weigh the consequences first. For example if the debt is recent enough and the SOL is long ways off it might make sense to use the debt settlement strategy. However if the SOL is nearly met on this debt you probably should not make any deals to repay it. It is important to know that any items that are about to drop off your credit file due to the age could instantly have the 7 year clock restart if you make a one dollar payment on that debt. So don’t feel like you must settle a debt that has reached the SOL or 7 years on your file. If your conscience is getting the best of you think about it this way. The original creditor has already written this off as a bad account/receivable. They took a tax deduction on this transaction or transactions many years ago so you are not hurting their feelings. They have also received a sum of money form a collection agency that took a flyer on this account in hopes of reaping incremental revenues. So you are not hurting them. NO in fact you need to look at your decision as stepping stone of your learning process to never let yourself get into this position again.

Make the right choices along your journey will enable it to be more successful. Choose to make changes now and accept patience as this is not an overnight trip! Find our strategies and sample letters on our website at

From the Fair Credit Reporting Act:

§ 605. Requirements relating to information contained in consumer reports [15 U.S.C. §1681c]
(a) Information excluded from consumer reports. Except as authorized under subsection
(b) of this section, no consumer reporting agency may make any consumer report
containing any of the following items of information:
(1) Cases under title 11 [United States Code] or under the Bankruptcy Act that, from
the date of entry of the order for relief or the date of adjudication, as the case may
be, antedate the report by more than 10 years.
(2) Civil suits, civil judgments, and records of arrest that from date of entry, antedate
the report by more than seven years or until the governing statute of limitations
has expired, whichever is the longer period.
(3) Paid tax liens which, from date of payment, antedate the report by more than
seven years.
(4) Accounts placed for collection or charged to profit and loss which antedate the report by more than seven years.2

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