If you have negative entries in your credit reports from original creditors that are 60-150 days old you may be able to get them removed by sending a well crafted letter to the creditor politely requesting all the information you are entitled to under federal law. The idea is not to threaten litigation, but to create the impression that litigation may be the next step. You will finish the letter with a polite statement that if these notations are removed immediately there will be no further need to comply with production of documents.
Request the following information:
- Proof that the account was created at your request
- Proof that every item that was billed was billed correctly
- Proof that every statement was created in a timely manner
- Proof that every statement was sent to the correct address
- Proof that the creditor never ignored a change of address request
- Proof that the seller never ignored disputed charges
- Proof that the interest and late fees were computed in accordance with federal and state law
Do not try to pinpoint any specific claim that you think you may have. The idea is to make it more work to comply with the request than they are willing to waste time on. It just makes good business sense for them to simply delete the negative entry instead of wasting employee time complying and risking legal problems of an unknown nature down the road.
This tactic is perfectly legal hardball. It will not likely be effective against 3rd party debt collectors. It is designed to be the next step for those who are denied after making a polite request for a "good will" deletion. Do not use it frivolously because the same rules do not apply to frivolous requests.
These letters are much more effective if you use your own words. You do not want the creditor to see this as a form letter or a tactic. If you make it business like it will make you appear knowledgeable.
Negative entries that are much older than 6 months begin to lose some of their ability to hurt your FICO score because the algorithm does not allow them the same impact as your more recent entries.
Always try to settle debts with the original creditor on the condition that they delete the negative entry. Almost all of them will do this. Use honey before vinegar. After that it is up to you to pay at least the minimum payments you owe on time. Do not take out new credit you do not really need and time is on your side as the negatives recede in importance.