No. of Recommendations: 3
Allisonh2: you mentioned that you are trying to deal with a couple of collection accounts and wanted to know if you should pay them off in order to have them removed. Well, I suspect my advice will differ from others here, but here are your options:

1) Ask these creditors to provide formal validation of your alleged debts. This is entirely within your right per the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Now, keep in mind that the FDCPA does stipulate a 30-day window, but that has to do with their right to continue collecting while providing the lawful validation you have requested. In other words, if you just received your first notice from a collection agency (CA), then they must cease collection efforts if you request formal validation until the point where they provide that validation. On the other hand, if you are outside the 30-day window, they can still continue collection efforts, but they still must provide validation. If they fail to validate the debt, they must cease collecting on the debt and must remove all associated negative tradeline notations from your bureaus. For a much better discussion of validation than I can provide, visit this website:

2) If the validation does come through after you request it, then you move to a negotiation track. Many creditors will trade full payment (or less) for tradeline deletion. See what you can arrange at that point, but again I would seek advice from these boards:
a) this board

3) Finally, if validation and negotiation fail, I certainly WOULD pay off the debts you owe regardless. This is my PERSONAL opinion and is not shared by everyone at the boards I recommended above (although most people here would share my sentiment in this regard, although Fools probably wouldn't play the validation/negotiation games beforehand, lol). At that point, pay your debts, and then move to my "goodwill validation" tactic first (see my original post in this thread for a link and testimonials) and then finally to my "nutcase letter" tactic second (again, see the original post for a link to the letter, rationale, and testimonials). Try goodwill first in case honey happens to work better than vinegar. The nutcase letter has actually been elaborated into an entire sequence by "betacredit" and others, and you'll come across that sequence of letters by browsing the links I provided.

In a nutshell, this is my advice for you. First, it requires the creditor to provide validation, and you're within your rights to ask for that. Since I never went that route myself (since I always paid my debts, although I was seriously late beforehand and ruined my credit rating as a result), I can't provide a first-person testimonial for how that works. However you will find that information by visiting some of the websites I recommended. On the other hand, if you do pay your debts, which again I personally recommend, then you can move to my coercive techniques for encouraging creditors to remove past negative notations on your bureaus.

Hope this helps you, Allisonh2!

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