Did you check your credit only to find LCA Collections on there, and wonder where it came from? You know you didn’t open any credit with them, so how did it get there?
LCA Collections is a medical collection company. They buy debts from medical providers who have given up on collecting on the bill. They help medical companies get their money, usually by buying the debt from them for pennies on the dollar. The medical provider cuts its losses and LCA Collections tries to profit from the deal.
So how do you remove LCA Collections from your credit report? Here’s how.
Is it Valid?
First, you have the right to know if the collection is valid. Here’s why.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act states that any information that is inaccurate or unfair on your credit report cannot be reported. You have the right to have it removed, but it starts with validating the debt.
You have a 30-day window from the first time LCA Collections contacts you to validate it. If they can’t prove you owe the debt or that it belongs to you, they must remove it from your credit report.
Write them a letter asking for specifics and for a response within 30 days. If they don’t respond, you can ask the credit bureaus to delete the collection. If they do respond and can prove the debt is yours, you’ll need to move onto the steps below.
Can you Dispute It?
Again, your credit report must report fair and accurate information. If LCA Collections reports the wrong amount, wrong dates, or spells your name wrong, you can dispute it and the credit bureaus will delete it from your credit report.
This doesn’t mean you don’t owe them money – you may still owe it. But, it won’t show up on your credit report, which is important. A collection can stay on your credit report for 7 years. It won’t hurt your credit score that entire time, but long enough. It will also show future lenders you don’t pay your debts.
Pull your free credit reports here to see if LCA Collections is on there and if is, see if any information is inaccurate so you can dispute it.
How to Pay the Debt
If the debt does belong to you and you’ve checked with your insurance company that you do owe it, you must know how to pay it.
If your efforts above weren’t effective, you’ll want to include a pay-for-delete agreement in the arrangement. This means that you pay the debt (a negotiated amount) but not until LCA agrees to delete it from your credit report.
It’s called a pay-for-delete because you’re agreeing to pay the debt IF LCA will delete it from your credit report. If they agree, get it in writing.
Before you ask for that though, figure out how much you can afford to pay. Remember, LCA likely bought the debt for less than it’s worth. You can bid a lower amount and they may agree. They may also counteroffer, so know the maximum amount you can afford.
Once they agree, and you have it in writing, pay them with a cashier’s check or money order. Don’t give them your checking account information – it’s not worth the risk.
After you pay the debt, check your credit again 30 – 60 days later. If the collector still exists, contact LCA to find out why they didn’t remove it. If that doesn’t get you anywhere, file a dispute with the credit bureau reporting the collection and provide the letter that states they will remove the debt from your credit report.
Why Remove LCA Collections from your Credit Report?
You may not think it’s a big deal to remove LCA Collections from your credit report, but it will help you in many ways. Lenders won’t give you new loans if you have one or more collections. If they do, they will charge higher rates and more fees – neither of which you should have to pay especially because of a medical collection.
Take the steps above to remove LCA Collections from your credit report as quickly as possible. The easiest way is to validate the debt and them being unable to, but if that doesn’t work, you have other options. Be diligent in your efforts and if it gets to be too much, hire a credit repair agency to help you.