Are you confused after finding the same debt listed twice on your credit report? You definitely aren’t alone, and wondering if you can have the same debt on your credit report twice is a common concern of many people, particularly those just beginning their journey of credit repair.
Countless consumers have experienced this at one time or another, and it can be incredibly frustrating since it can have a dramatic impact on the perception of your creditworthiness, and many calculations of your credit score.
We’re going to dig into whether or not the same debt is allowed to be on your credit report twice, as well as how it can happen. More importantly, we’ll give you the exact steps you need to correct the issue and get your credit report back under control. If you still have issues, there is a resource that can help you take legal action to get your credit report corrected.
In short, the ultimate answer is yes. It is possible to see the same debt on your credit report two or more times. The good news is, it’s never legitimate, and it’s always the result of some error. Usually, this is the result of an unfortunate clerical error, a lack of clear communication between creditors, or a debt being sold to a collection agency.
While it’s not exactly common, it’s also not ultra-rare, and if it happens to you, it can cause significant problems that can impact much more than just your ability to get a credit card.
The damage from a duplicate debt on your credit report only starts at a lower credit score and an additional negative mark on your credit report. It can prevent you from getting a loan for a car or getting a mortgage.
With potential employers and leasing agents running background and credit checks, it can mean you can’t rent an apartment, or get a job to pay for it in the first place. In severe cases, it may even result in legal complications.
One of the best ways to build a foundation of knowledge that will help you fight duplicate debts is to understand the causes behind them. This allows you to take more specific and targeted corrective action. Here are the 3 most common reasons that you’ll see the same debt on your credit report twice:
Human errors, such as clerical errors and data entry mistakes, and even miscommunications between people speaking in person or on the phone, can lead to the same debt being listed twice on your credit report. This can happen when a collection agency or creditor reports the same debt twice by mistake, under different accounts or names.
Often a creditor will sell your debt to a collection agency or other debt buyer. This sometimes leads to the debt being reported by the new account, as well as on the old one. If the original creditor fails to update their records, they may keep reporting it.
The credit bureaus get their information from a variety of courses, and sometimes those sources may have out-of-date information. If a creditor hasn’t informed the bureaus as they should have, regarding payment history or current balance, the report may display duplicate debts with differing information.
If you believe you have duplicate debts on your credit report, you’ll need to follow these steps to dispute them and get them removed or corrected.
First, you’ll need to verify the debt, so that you can be sure it belongs to you. If you confirm it’s valid but listed twice, you’ll need to gather some documentation to support that. This can be account statements, payment records, and even communication records with the agency or creditor. This is going to be your evidence in the dispute.
Now, you’ll need to contact the credit bureaus showing the duplicate debt and submit a formal dispute according to their process. Generally, there are provisions to open your dispute either online, by mail or over the phone. You will need to provide copies of the documentation that you gathered earlier, just make sure you keep copies for your records as well.
The next step is arguably the hardest, and it’s waiting for the information to be corrected or removed. Once you submit the dispute the credit bureau will have 30 days to respond to it, so make sure that you monitor your credit report for at least the next 60 days, if a full 30 days elapse and the information isn’t removed, be sure you follow up and make sure they are investigating it.
Eventually, you should be able to get the issue resolved, even if it does take an additional follow-up with the bureau or the creditor.
Once that happens, make sure you keep a close eye on your credit report going forward, because the sooner you catch future errors, the easier they are to address and get fixed. If you’ve followed up a few times and there’s still no progress, it may be time to look for professional help.
Despite your best efforts, there are times when even going through the proper dispute process isn’t enough to get duplicate debt entries cleared from your credit report. If you’ve gone through the right channels, followed up, and stayed persistent, but still weren’t able to get a duplicate debt removed from your credit report, it may be time to look into your legal options for correcting the errors.
Fair Credit specializes in helping consumers regain control over their credit report and can help you get duplicate debts removed from your report, as well as look into potential slander of credit charges or compensation for damages you’ve suffered. By partnering with us and leveraging our expertise and knowledge, you can ensure that your credit report is corrected, and your creditworthiness restored. Reach out today for more information.