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How long can a bill stay at collections before it affects your credit?

Once collections recieves a bill like a medical bill how long do they try and work with you before it affects your credit? Also, how long is it going to remain on your credit report for? I am wondering because I have two medical bills one I had a payment plan set up for and then the medical office said it was paid for and I had a zero balance so I thought great. The 2nd one they billed my insurance. Well I recieved a bill from a collections for the 1st one saying it wasn't paid and it has already shown up on my CR it showed up 4 times on it! We paid it as soon as we got it but now I am worried about the 2nd one.

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Asked by Anonymous at 2:02 PM on Feb. 3, 2009 in Just for Fun

Answers (6)
  • Usually if its sent to collections its already affecting your credit. The companies holding the bills sell the bills to collections. Collections attempts to get a payment but by then since its been sold to them its on your credit. They have 7 years to attempt to get the money and its supposed to come off. If it doesnt you can dispute it with the credit reporting agencies. They also have to have made contact with you within 2 yrs (meaning mail or phone) and if they havent you can also dispute it.*source my friends a bill collector lol*

    Answer by gemgem at 2:07 PM on Feb. 3, 2009

  • Once it hits collection it is already dinging your credit score. Each month it stays on your credit your score will take a hit.

    Answer by mamakirs at 2:08 PM on Feb. 3, 2009

  • Yep, the other 2 are right. If it's already in collections it has hit your credit.

    Answer by FLmommy at 2:09 PM on Feb. 3, 2009

  • Generally, once a bill is turned over to collections, it shows up on your credit report. Even if they are working with you to try to get it paid, it shows up. Usually negative items show up on a report for seven years. There is no way to get them cleared so don't trust any "we can fix your credit" scams. The only way to fix it is to get the original company (the hospital in this case) to contact the credit companies and issue a correction. Most companies won't unless you can clearly show them that there was an error on THEIR part.

    Answer by kaycee14 at 2:10 PM on Feb. 3, 2009

  • Thanks guys! I guess I have 7 years of bad credit luck! And pretty much is there fault since I was told it was paid off. O well nothing i can do.

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:13 PM on Feb. 3, 2009

  • It's not always true that it will immediately affect your credit. It depends on the company holding the bill. I would ask the creditor what their policies are. The companies we have sent our outstanding bills to don't immediately report your balances to the credit bureaus.

    Answer by Silvertears1275 at 2:57 PM on Feb. 3, 2009

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