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Warning: this is a long one

I am a new Fool, and not sure if this is the right place to discuss my problem, but here goes. About 3 1/2 years ago, when I was in college, I had a gasoline credit card. I paid my bills on it, and when I finished college and moved to my first job, I no longer needed the card in my new town so I quit using it. About a year later I pulled a copy of my credit report as I was preparing to make a major purchase. Much to my surprise, I had less than a perfect report: this gas company had put me down as a $100 chargeoff! I pulled all my records, canceled checks, etc. and in my research found nothing to substantiate their claim. So I called the gas company, and after a long frustrating conversation with their Customer Service, I finally got them to agree to remove this from my credit report.

Being quite foolish then (not Foolish), I took the gas company at their word. After all, I had no problem proceeding with buying my car, not to mention all the other things in life that require credit checks. So I figured everything was OK. I even threw away my records with this gas company sometime later during a move because why did I need them anymore, right? (yes, foolish) -- although I did keep my canceled checks.

Well, I'll bet you've guessed what happened -- the gas company never did remove the chargeoff. And the way I found out about this was through pulling my report recently because I'm looking to buy a house. So I tracked down the gas company, which is a hard thing to do now because they've been acquired by another company. And when I finally did speak with someone at the new company, they told me that any records on my account would have been archived. And since it would be a pain for them to dig around and find my records, they weren't going to do it unless I filed a complaint with a credit bureau, requiring them to do an investigation and produce my records.

So, I called Equifax (whom I'd gotten my credit report from), explained my situation, and asked them to do an investigation on this. I never heard anything from Equifax until a month later when I called them and they told me that the gas company's claims had been substantiated. That's it (?!), no explaination as to HOW the claims had been substantiated. I feel like the gas company didn't do anything to really prove their claim. At least they haven't proved anything to me, because I know their claim was false TO BEGIN WITH!!

OK, I'm sorry to make this all such a long story. But please give me any advice as to what I can do now to get this thing off my credit report. I'm not satisfied with the level of help from Equifax, but don't know where else to go.

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