If you failed to pay your AT&T bill, you’ll likely hear from AT&T Collections. It’s a legitimate department of AT&T and if you’re hearing from them, chances are a negative entry (either a collection or late payment) has been reported on your credit report.
Pull your credit report and find out if AT&T Collections reported to the credit bureaus. If they did, you must act fast to remove it or it could seriously damage your credit score. In our experience, the quicker you’re able to handle the collection, the less impact it’s likely to have on your credit score.
What is AT&T Collections?
AT&T Collections gets involved in your AT&T bill when you have failed to pay your phone bill. Whether you missed several payments in a row or never squared up your final bill, you’ll hear from them. This is usually 60-90 days of being late.
They are the collection department of AT&T. They won’t stop until they get payment from you and to get your attention, they’ll likely report the collection to the credit bureaus even though they typically don’t report to the credit bureaus for regular accounts.
Why Remove AT&T Collections from your Credit Report
You may think it’s no big deal to have AT&T Collections on your credit report. It’s not a credit card or loan, so what’s the big deal?
It’s a big deal for two reasons:
- A collection damages your credit score quite a bit. It doesn’t last forever, but a collection can remain on your credit report for up to seven years. The first two years have the biggest impact on your credit score.
- Future lenders won’t want to lend to you because a collection means you let your bill go at least 90 to 180 days past due and may have never paid it. It’s also important to keep in mind that even if you pay the collection, it will remain on your credit report as a paid collection. While a “paid collection” might appear better to potential creditors, it will still negatively affect your credit score.
It’s important to use the steps below to remove AT&T Collections from your credit report. Don’t just pay them off when they call, because this won’t remove the “collection” entry on your credit report.
4 Ways to Remove an AT&T Collection from your Credit Report
It’s not as hard as it sounds to get AT&T Collections off your credit report. Here are four simple ways.
Validate the Debt
If you catch the collection right away, you can ask for validation. This only works for the first 30 days after they call you or send you a letter.
When you validate the debt, you ask for proof that it’s a legitimate collection. Sometimes companies don’t have enough information, or they have the wrong person. In this case, since it’s in-house collections, the debt is likely legitimate, but they could have the wrong account or may have accidentally sent you to collections when you don’t belong there.
To validate the debt, in writing ask for proof of the debt, that you owe it, how much it’s worth, and the dates that made it ‘past due’ and now a collection. AT&T has 30 days to respond to your request.
If they can’t validate the debt, they must remove it from your credit report. If they can, though, it stays there, and you’ll use one of the steps below.
Dispute the Debt
You can take it a step further and dispute the debt with the credit bureaus reporting it. Disputing the debt means you see a mistake or think the information doesn’t belong to you. Just as you’d write a letter to AT&T, you’d write a letter to the credit bureaus stating what you think is wrong.
The credit bureaus have 30 days to look into your dispute and make a decision. If they can’t prove you wrong, they must remove the debt from your credit report. If they have proof that you’re incorrect, they’ll leave it on your credit report.
Before you attempt to dispute the collection, you need to get a copy of your credit report and look it over very carefully.
When you dispute the negative entry with the credit bureaus, it’s most effective when there is some kind of error on the entry. Here are a few things you can check for:
- Address (look for any typo)
- First reported dates
- Amount owed
- Number of days late
Basically you need to find anything that’s inaccurate for this method to be successful. If you find an inaccuracy, you need to dispute the collection with all three credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax, and Transunion. The easiest way to do this is log onto their websites and dispute the entry online. You can also send them a letter, but this will take longer.
While you’re looking over the AT&T collection entry on your credit report, it’s a good idea to look for any additional inaccuracies while you’re reading it over. You can always use these methods with other collections, charge-offs, and late payments.
Write a Pay for Delete Letter
After exhausting your options above, it’s time to create a payment arrangement. The steps above help you remove the debt from your credit report, but you still owe the debt. Together with AT&T, you can come up with a payment arrangement or settlement amount that they’ll agree settles the debt in full.
In your agreement, request a pay for delete arrangement. This means in exchange for paying the debt, AT&T agrees to delete it from your credit report. They aren’t obligated to accept this arrangement, so it may take a little negotiating/convincing to get them to do it.
In other words, don’t just agree to pay the collection off. What you want to do is tell them that you’ll pay the debt in full if they agree to remove the collection from your credit report. Make sure when you make the agreement, you tell them that they need to remove it from all three of your credit reports, i.e., Experian, Equifax, and Transunion.
Also, it’s very important that you get any agreement in writing! This is to ensure that they follow through on their agreement. Don’t forget this step!
Of course, this pay-for-delete method will only work if you’re able to actually pay the debt. Depending on how old the debt is, you might be able to negotiate a partial payment, but it’s unlikely they’ll agree to remove the collection from your credit unless you pay the debt in full. However, it’s always worth a try!
Have a Professional Remove the Collection
Lastly, if you’re the type of person who would rather have a professional handle it and just be done with the whole thing, I suggest you check out Lexington Law Credit Repair. They’ll take care of you, and honestly they usually get collections removed quicker than if you try to do it yourself. Give them a call at 1-844-331-6062 or Check out their website.