If you have one or more collections listed on your credit report, this can seriously ding your FICO score. Your payment history accounts for 35% of your credit score because lenders want to see that you have a history of paying bills on time.
Most lenders will eventually send you to collections if you don’t pay your bill. But in our experience, cell phone bills are one of the most common unpaid bills to be sent to collections. So if you recently had a Sprint bill sent to a collection agency, this article will show you what your next steps are.
How long does it take for a collection to be reported to the credit bureaus?
It doesn’t take long for unpaid bills to show up on your credit report. Typically, the bill will appear as soon as Sprint writes off the debt as a loss and sends it to a collection agency.
This usually happens after 90 to 180 days of non-payment. And most lenders will not notify you when they send a bill to collections so it’s on you to monitor your credit report.
Once this happens, the worst thing you can do is ignore it and hope it’ll go away. Even having one account in collections can cause a serious hit to your credit score. And the higher your credit score is, the more points you stand to lose.
It’s impossible to calculate exactly how much your credit score will drop. But here are a few factors that can affect this:
- How many days the bill has been overdue
- The amount of the unpaid bill
- The type of debt it is
- Whether the amount in collections has been paid or not
How do I remove an unpaid Sprint bill from my credit report?
Once Sprint reports you to a collection agency, this can remain on your credit report for up to seven years. And it will likely stay there even if you eventually pay the bill in full. Listed below are six steps you can take to have the collection removed from your credit report.
Try to settle it with Sprint first
If the bill hasn’t been sent to a collection agency, you should contact Sprint to try to work things out first. If you can, paying the bill in full is the best way to resolve the matter.
But most companies are willing to work with you so if you can’t pay the full amount, ask a representative if you can set up a payment plan. This will get your account back in good standing and you can avoid being sent to collections.
Check all three credit reports
If Sprint already sent the unpaid bill to a collection agency, you’ll want to take a look at your credit report next. You should request a copy for your credit report from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.
You can receive a free copy of your credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com and it won’t affect your credit score. Once you receive all three copies, you can find out who currently owns the debt and their contact information.
Ask your lender to validate the debt
Thanks to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, you have the right to ask a debt collector to validate your debt. Even if you’re planning to eventually pay the debt, it’s a good idea to do this first.
Asking the collection agency to verify the debt forces them to:
- Verify that the debt is real
- Verify that the debt is yours
- Prove that the debt hasn’t been paid
- Prove that they are authorized to collect the debt
You can find a sample debt validation letter and send it to your creditor by certified mail. If the creditor fails to respond within 30 days, then you can file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
Ask for a goodwill adjustment
If you have a history of paying your bills on time and this was just a one-time slip, you can ask your creditor for a goodwill adjustment. This is a letter you send to your creditor asking them to remove the missed payment from your credit report.
As the name suggests, your creditor is under no obligation to honor your request. And they probably won’t if you have a history of missed payments. But if you can build a strong case that this was a mistake and if you’ve paid back the bill in full, your creditor might consider removing the charge.
Request a “pay for delete”
If asking for a goodwill adjustment doesn’t work, you can try to negotiate a “pay for delete” with your lender. This is an agreement that your lender will remove the bill from your credit report on the condition that you pay the bill in full.
To start this process, you’ll need to find out who owns the debt first. Once you know who the creditor is, you can send them a letter asking that they remove the charge from your account and in exchange, you’ll pay the bill in full.
This can be one of the easiest ways to get the collection removed from your account. If your creditor agrees, make sure they agree to this in writing.
The Credit Bureaus look down on the practice so some creditors won’t do it. But many will so it’s always worth asking. Don’t be discouraged if you have to correspond with them several times until you can come to an agreement.
Seek help from a professional credit repair company
Finally, if you don’t have any luck having the unpaid bill removed on your own, you can seek out the help of a professional. A professional credit repair company will have proven strategies to get the Sprint bill removed from your credit report. And they can also address any other bills that are dragging down your credit score.
Trying to have an unpaid Sprint bill taken off your credit report can be frustrating but it’s time well spent. Your credit score has a significant effect on your financial future so you want to make sure it is in good standing.
It’s worth it to be proactive and take all the necessary steps to remove damaging collections from your credit report. Going forward, make sure you create good financial habits to avoid finding yourself in this situation again.