I screwed up my credit when I was younger and have been struggling to come back from it (for lots of reasons not worth getting into.) Basically I’ve just been ignoring the debts in collections until I could get around to them, but staying on top of anything new. I now have a really good paying job and the financial stability to start paying off these old collections. I want to get rid of all of them and start fixing my credit to eventually buy a house for myself and my Fiancé.
What’s the best way to start this process? And what are some mistakes to avoid to not make my situation worse by reaching out to collections? Is it better to reach out to the original lender? Do I contact the collectors directly? Paying in full vs. settling? How do I even start tackling this?
I appreciate any insight and help. I really want to just pay back my stupid 18 year old self and put all this debt behind me.
Is it one lump sum of 8k or mutiple smaller delinquencies?
How old are the delinquencies?
Strapped for cash? If yes, then do not pay the debts in full. Call the companies and negotiate the debts down. They paid pennies per dollar, and are more than willing to make at least some profit. They will report you only partially paid the debt to the credit bureaus.
If you’re not strapped for cash then paying them all off in full is the better option. They will report the balances paid in full.
Regardless of whatever you do, make sure you ask for proof that the debts are paid once you pay!
Honestly I would invest some $$$ with a collections attorney. For $1K you can probably get all of this resolved using a good lawyer. There are statutes of limitation, which I’ve never heard of being more than 7 years, and they can’t report collections more than 7.5 years after the fact. When settling collections the most important thing is to get as big of a discount as you can and only pay it if the collection company agrees to do a “pay for delete.” But honestly in your case you might open up a can of worms. Please go pay a lawyer for a couple of hours of her time.
Sounds like the debts are 6-7 years old. I wouldn’t bother putting the time or effort into it since your credit is already damaged. Are you planning to buy a house in the next few years? Only reason I’d look into it.
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