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I recently received a negative credit report entry on my Experian credit report (collections account). I have had excellent credit for several years, and then this credit entry hit and hurt my credit score pretty badly. As I was truly unaware what this was about, I sent a "pay for delete" letter to the credit agency, basically saying I didn't know what the entry was about and I just wanted it off and would pay the full amount ($50) to get it removed. They responded back with a form letter that gave more details on the original creditor and said that they demand I pay the account in full, but I have the right to dispute / ask for verification.

After receiving additional information from them, the credit entry is legit, so I don't think I'll just be able to dispute it (unfortunately it's an account from 2005, before I had been taking my credit seriously).

I'm curious what you think is the best step from here. I want to do whatever will minimize the damage to my credit report. Money and time are really a non-issue, I just want to salvage my credit. Any suggestions?
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