Q&A: Debt has a habit of hanging around

Dear Liz: Last year my dad had an account he couldn’t pay and it is showing up on his credit report as a closed, charged-off account. As expected, the lender sold it to another company. The new company now also has it listed as an open account in collection on his credit report. How can the same account be listed twice? I thought the second company couldn’t report it.

Answer: That’s not correct. Once the debt was charged off and turned over to collections, it could be reported again as a collection account. If the original account still shows a balance owed or more than one collection shows up for the same debt, however, your dad should definitely dispute it and file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

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  1. Now eight years later, we’ve finally reached a settlement. I’m going to get a pretty good chunk. I would like to pay off the debts I owe people from eight years ago but I only want to deal with the original company, i.e., SC Edison, AT&T, Time Warner Cable, etc. Not bill collectors. I’m willing to pay what I owed eight years ago which seems somewhat fair since these blood suckers, i.e., bill collectors wanted 10 cents on the dollar. One bill collector called me. I told him to send me the contact at
    say, Mobil Oil, so I can verify a) who he was and b) he had the right to call me. He refused to provide that. I said I’ll send money only to Mobil then. Finally I’ve heard someone advertise that some “credit counselors” actually get paid by the credit card companies and have no interest in protecting my side. How can I weed these out?