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Q:
What happens to credit report entries after 7 years?

I have an account which is listed twice in my credit report, once by the creditor and the other by the collection agency. Seven years is up on the original account in August. What happens to the collection agency’s entry? Does it get wiped off also? I've read about a statue of limitation of four years. Is the four years added to the seven years, totaling 11 years? Help! -Karen

Dear Karen,

There are two specific, but separate, laws that protect you from being forever obligated on an old debt. Let me give you a brief overview of these two laws.

The four year timeframe you read about is probably the statute of limitations. Each state has a statute of limitation on how long a debt is considered legally collectable. This means that a creditor may not be able to obtain a judgment against you if you challenge the debt in court because you feel the debt is past the statute of limitations.

In addition, the federal "Fair Credit Reporting Act" (FCRA) states the longest any derogatory information can remain on your credit bureau file is seven years from the beginning of the delinquency that lead to the account being placed for collection or seven years from the date of last activity on the account. Even if the account is transferred to a collection agency, the seven year time frame does not re-start. The account still must be permanently removed from your credit bureau file.

Hope this helps,

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