Free Ebook.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

« The Myth of Financial Expertise: Why Professional Wine Tasters and Stock Pickers are Clueless -- and How You Can Beat Them | Main | Free Money Finance March Madness, Elite 8, Posts 1-4 »

March 25, 2009


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

I had a similar issue with AT&T, where a disputed bill went to collections. AT&T definitely still had the information and motivation to deal with the issue, so I would suggest contacting Comcast about your problem.

First thing to do is to call Comcast. If Comcast made the error (bad data entry, typo, etc), they'll have to fix it. The bureaus rely entirely on information provided to them by others. Look at the credit report and pull account number, address, any information about the account that you can use to help Comcast find it. Look at the account info and see if there's any sort of similarity to your own info - switched digit, similar street name, etc. If at first you don't succeed, escalate.

If it's not Comcast's error, then you're in a tougher place. The bureaus use various matching algorithms to compile data together, so sometimes there are false hits that cause someone else's data to appear on your report. Read this to see just how little effort the credit bureaus expend on this sort of thing:

If that's the problem, it sounds like your best bet is a member of Congress to help you get on the VIP help tier. Sounds silly and overkill, but if the courts and the FTC won't help you, what other recourse do you have? Legally speaking, you have no right to an accurate credit report. How's that for a kick in the pants?

My advice would be to send them a Certified Letter with Return Receipt requested, stating that you were not notified by the collection company in writing of this debt. In accordance with the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, you would like to see validation of the original debt. I believe they have 30 days to respond to you with the original information. If they give you information that you know is fraud, then I would strongly suggest filing a police report because of Identity Theft. You can then send them a copy of the police and report, which officially states the these charges where fraudulent.

If they do not respond to your original letter(likely scenario based on your experience so far), then I would attempt to establish contact again and/or send another certified letter stating the date when they first received your original request, and outlining the fact that they have not responded within the allotted time frame. By law they must remove the item from your credit report. After taking these steps if you still have no results, I would hire an attorney and go after them. The amount is not important, it's the principal.

Here is a copy of the section of the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act that I believe outlines your situation. Again, since you were not notified by the collection company, you are still responding well within 30 days of being informed of the debt on your credit report...

§ 809. Validation of debts
(a) Within five days after the initial communication with a consumer in connection with the collection of any debt, a debt collector shall, unless the following information is contained in the initial communication or the consumer has paid the debt, send the consumer a written notice containing—
(1) the amount of the debt;
(2) the name of the creditor to whom the debt is owed;
(3) a statement that unless the consumer, within thirty days after receipt of the notice, disputes the validity of the debt, or any portion thereof, the debt will be assumed to be valid by the debt collector;
(4) a statement that if the consumer notifies the debt collector
in writing within the thirty-day period that the debt, or any portion thereof, is disputed, the debt collector
will obtain verification of the debt or a copy of a judgment against the consumer and a copy of such verification or judgment will be mailed to the consumer by the debt collector; and
(5) a statement that, upon the consumer’s written request within the thirty-day period, the debt collector will provide the consumer with the name and address of the original creditor, if different from the current creditor.

Best of luck... Don't back down and go get them!

I've had this exact problem in the past. After spending way too many hours trying to get it corrected I gave up. At least it falls off your credit report after a few years.

forget calls, LETTERS to both Comcast and the collection agency, and then wait about 30 days, if no response get a "statement" addded to your report. What about the other credit bureau eports, do they show the debt?? All in all, no big deal, hopefully, you are reading this column and have been astute w/ your finances and pay "cash" for everything and don't/won't need more credit. So don't let it get to you. Reality is your better w/o the credit anyway, unless (perhaps) a mortgage is involved, however, I saved for 20+ years and paid cash for my house to remain debt free.

I had a problem with Verizon reporting a debt on my credit report that was not valid. I filled out a complaint form at the Better Business Bureau web site. I heard from Verizon within two days, explained the problem and they offered to contact the credit reporting agencies to take it off my account. I sent one email, no certified letters, no long waits on phone and it was settled. has some great letters you can use to scare them into fixing the issue

Verizon is famous for doing this and I had success with these letters for myself and my husband though both of ours were a result of identity theft/mothers:(

go to and READ. you will need to dispute and ask for validation.

Call Comcast and ask for a supervisor immediately. Explain situation and get full name and address. Follow up with a certified return receipt letter, carbon copy the collection agency. Ask for confirmation that this was removed from credit report within 30 days. If nothing happens: contact your local tv station. That's not enough money to cause bad pr over.

I don't think spending money for an attorney is a worth while investment. If you are wanting to qualify for credit quickly, paying the thing will get rid of it. After you get the credit you want, paying for a freeze on your credit report which is acceptable in many states will keep someone from doing this again if someone really is using your identity. You have to do this for each reporting agency. It is removable, by you, when you are wanting to get credit again.

Nearly the exact same thing happened to my wife last year, except it was a Qwest account in New Jersey. (We lived in Seattle). She called TransUnion's fraud department and filed a dispute with them. A couple of months later we got a letter from them saying the creditor had failed to provide verification of the debt and that it was removed from her credit report. Case closed.

All communication between you and the collection agency needs to be certified mail, return receipt requested. Do not use phone/email with any collection agency or credit reporting agency.

If this is not your debit, DO NOT PAY THIS just to get them out of your hair. A paid collection is almost as bad as an unpaid and paying it does NOT necessarily remove the item. Your goal needs to be getting it removed.

Here's what i would do in about 30 days (I don't like to file disputes less than 30 days apart and you already disputed TU recently).

1. Get a paid copy of your transunion credit report. When you dispute a paid credit report, Transunion has 30 days to verify. When you dispute a free credit report, they have 45 days. This is important for later.

2. Give the collection agency the 1-2 punch. First, mail them a validation letter. Do not offer any information about yourself in this request outside of your full name, address and account number. Do not sign the letter (don't ever sign anything going to a collection agency...many of them are unscrupulous and may defraud you)...your printed name from your printer should be fine. As I understand it, they have 30 days to validate your debt or they no longer have the right to collect.

Next, wait for the return receipt from the validation letter. As soon as it comes in, MAIL a written dispute letter to Transunion. Transunion has 30 days to verify the debt again with the collection agency.

Now comes the fun part...under the laws, the collection agency must mark your account as in dispute with Transunion until they send you validation of the debt. Also, that is the ONLY communication they are allowed to make with TU until the agency provides you with validation of the debt. IF they fail to mark it as in dispute, they are in violation and you have a right to damages (you can offer a settlement with them for deletion and $500 cash settlement to you).

So as mentioned above, besides marking the collection as disputed, the Collection Agency can make no other communication with TransUnion. This presents a problem for TransUnion as they are trying to verify the debt. IF TransUnion verifies the debt prior to the date that the collection agency sent you your validation, the collection agency is in violation and you have a right to damages ( can offer settlement for deletion of the item on your TU report and $500. People really do get money from these places because the agencies refuse to follow the law.)

What SHOULD happen is that the Collection Agency marks the account as in dispute. This should show up on your TU report. THEN you should be sent validation from the Collection Agency within 30 days. AND TU should verify the item with the Collection Agency AFTER the Collection Agency has validated the debt to you but BEFORE 30 days runs out from the time TU received your letter of dispute of the collection item. If this happens, wait 90 days and do this again.

But in your case, the validation should come up incorrect if you never had a cable bill. At which point, the collection agency will be required to request deletion of the item from your TU account.

Clear as mud? Do some googling and you will find boilerplate letters for collection agency validation. This is the best way I have found to get an unpaid collection removed from your credit report.

It must be a fairly recent, because they erase it after a certain period of time, I think its 5 years. The fact that the company isn't demanding you make payments on the amount proves that its a mistake.

I had a dispute with Comcast over an issue. I dealt with them for months going through various people, each telling me it had been taken care of. It was never taken care of until I contacted the office of the president, Brian Roberts ([email protected]). I sent an email and snail mail letter. The day I sent the email, I got a response from his office. The issue was finally resolved. You may want to try customer service first, so you can honestly say you have tried to contact customer service.

Good Luck!

DO NOT PAY IT - consult with an atty because I'm not one.... however I have a $72 medical bill on my credit. The hospital has no record of the fully paid debt being sent to collections. When buying a house a couple years ago, a mortgage broker advised that I just pay the darn thing.... that actualy made my core drop because now it shows as a paid off collection account. I've sent 6 certified return receipt letters to all 3 creidt bureuas and Transunion finally removed it last month. Equifax came back saying the darn thing is valid - they provided no proof. & Experian hasn't gotten back to me.

But what ever you do, don't pay it - just keep disputing it. Don't dispute it online because they don't seem to actually do anythign that way. Keep it all in writing so you have a paper trail. Request a copy of the original invoice for the debt. If they can't produce an invoice then the debt isn't valid.
Also, a written dispute will put a note on your credit report that you dispute the item... so if someone pulls your credit they will see you have tried or are fighting the derogatory item.

Just my 2 cents.

I think "Credit repair letters" is someone from India. this wasn't an article. Don't pay the bill because that will validate your debt.
how old is the collection? check in your state what the statutes of limitations are.
continue to send dispute letters to the collection agency and ask for where they got the validation from?

if they still don't handle this contact

Federal Trade Commission
Consumer Response Center
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20580

and file a complaint against transunion

The comments to this entry are closed.

Start a Blog


  • Any information shared on Free Money Finance does not constitute financial advice. The Website is intended to provide general information only and does not attempt to give you advice that relates to your specific circumstances. You are advised to discuss your specific requirements with an independent financial adviser. Per FTC guidelines, this website may be compensated by companies mentioned through advertising, affiliate programs or otherwise. All posts are © 2005-2012, Free Money Finance.