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Lesson #41 : Can they re-age my account?

There are two types of “reaging” with debts. One is legal, the other isn’t. Sometimes a debt can be legally re-aged by mutual agreement between you and the OC (original creditor) prior to charge-off (not the CA aka collection agency). This may be possible if you had a temporary financial crisis that prevented you from paying, but are now able to pay.

We’re usually more concerned with ILLEGAL reaging when dealing with credit reporting issues. Illegal “reaging” of a charged-off debt occurs when a TL (Tradeline) on your credit report (CR) is reporting a newer than your actual “FCRA Compliance Date”. This allows that negative information to remain on your credit report for longer than permitted by the FCRA. (Fair Credit Reporting Act) The FCRA Compliance Date must be reported within 90 days of the TL being placed in your credit file. Failure to report it within the mandated period is a violation of the FCRA. Illegal reaging may be perpetrated by the OC, the CA, or possibly both on the same TL. It’s an FDCPA violation for the CA, and an FCRA violation for both the CA and the OC.

Keep in mind that while consumers can’t sue over 623a like the FTC can, we certainly can file complaints with the FTC, AG, etc if we can document violations. And after properly disputing the item, if the CA verifies the reaged date, then you get to 623b and into the position to be able to sue.
The “date opened”, “date of status”, and “date reported”, fields on your credit report don’t necessarily indicate reaging (these dates can impact your FICO score). What you need in order to prove illegal reaging is the date the FCRA *requires* data furnishers to report on CO accounts in order to prevent them from being reported past the federal reporting period. As explained in the FTC’s Brinckerhoff-Johnson Opinion letter, it’s the date the account commenced the delinquency leading to its charge-off status.

How do you get the evidence you need to document illegal reaging?

First, look at the hard copies of your reports and see if they have the date scheduled for removal listed. Both TransUnion and Experian now usually display a removal date for negative trade lines, which is typically 7 years after the FCRA Compliance Date reported for that trade line.
Equifax handles this issue differently. EQ often shows a field titled DOLA (Date of Last Activity), which is their way of displaying the FCRA Compliance Date. On EQ you should be able to determine the removal date by adding 7 years after the DOLA.

If you can’t find any of this info on the hard copies of your CRs, you can simply call the CRA and ask. (BUT DO NOT CALL IF YOU HAVE DISPUTES IN PROGRESS. The CRA may consider your call as “providing additional information” and you might end up with an extra 15 days tacked on to your disputes!) Be sure to tell them that you are calling to get information only, you are NOT calling to dispute. Then simply ask for the FCRA Compliance Date reported on each account in question. If both an OC and a CA/JDB (Junk Debt Buyer) are reporting, ask for the dates reported by each. If any of them are reporting newer than actual FCRA Compliance Dates, you should really try to get this in writing for evidence.

Try to get written confirmation from the CRAs of inaccurately reported dates. Do not dispute the dates or anything else in this letter. Simply request the information. Keep it simple like, “Please provide the obsolescence date on this account. Also please provide the month and year the obsolescence date is based on for FCRA compliance.” That’s all. Note: if you write for this info, DON’T send your letter to the CRAs address for DISPUTES. Look for a consumer relations or other address to send to.

If possible, you should compare the reported Compliance Date with your records of the account. The dates should all match up. The CA account must show the same FCRA Compliance Date as the OC, and they both must be accurate as described in the Brinckerhoff-Johnson Opinion and the FCRA. If the CA is using more recent dates than the OC, you should have grounds for a successful complaint about reaging after properly disputing the account and specifically disputing the FCRA Compliance Date at least a couple of times. When you have the papertrail, you can demand deletion due to their willful noncompliance with the law, and file complaints with the FTC, the AGs, etc, about it.

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