What Is Harris & Harris and Why Is It on My Credit Report?

FT Contributor
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Harris & Harris is a debt collection agency that works with creditors and lenders to retrieve debt from borrowers. They were founded in 1968 and are a legitimate company. If Harris & Harris appears on your credit report, it means that your creditor has hired them to collect the debt.

This article will help you understand why Harris & Harris appears on your credit report and what you can do to remove the account without damaging your credit.

What to Do if You See Harris & Harris on Your Credit Report

Harris & Harris may appear on your credit report under several names:

  • Harris and Harris Debt Collectors;
  • Harris and Harris Ltd;
  • Harris Collection;
  • Harris Harris;
  • Harris & Harris Limited.

If you refuse to pay collections, Harris & Harris will continue to call you with constant (and often frustrating) communications, leave negative marks on your credit score, or take legal actions.  

To avoid unnecessary frustrations, here’s what you should do when you notice Harris & Harris on your credit report.  

Verify That It Is Legitimate

One of the most important steps is to verify that Harris & Harris’ claim is legitimate. There is a chance that Harris & Harris is contacting you by mistake or that they are attempting to collect the wrong debt amount. If you agree to pay without confirming the details, you may end up paying someone else’s debt.  

You can verify the claim anytime within 30 days of when Harris & Harris first contacts you. If you don’t verify the claim within 30 days, the debt is assumed yours.  

Disputing the debt ensures that the debt is valid (and within the statute of limitations) and that the debt amount is correct. Send a debt validation letter to Harris & Harris asking for:

  • An account statement;
  • The name and address of the original creditor;
  • A copy of the contract you signed with the original creditor;
  • A copy of the agreement that authorizes Harris & Harris to collect on the creditor’s behalf.

If they don’t have the information, the bureaus are obligated to remove Harris & Harris from your credit report.

Pay It Off

Assuming that the debt is valid and Harris & Harris responds with accurate documentation, you should pay off the debt. Refusing to pay could cause Harris & Harris or the creditor to take legal action against you.  

If you’re unable to pay the full cost of the debt, you can negotiate partial payment or pay portions of the debt monthly. No matter how you chose to pay, create a budget plan to make paying the debt easier and to avoid future collections.

Speak With a Credit Counselor

Dealing with collection agencies can drop your credit score by over 100 points. To restore your credit, consider speaking with a credit counselor. Credit counselors help guide borrowers to teach them how to create budget plans, pay off debt, and boost their credit scores.

After a credit counselor consultation, you’ll have plenty of resources that will help you restore your credit.

How to Remove Harris & Harris From Your Credit Report

Removing Harris & Harris will improve your credit score and reverse some of the effects that the collections account has on your credit. However, removing a collections agency from your credit report will not remove the late payments.  

Here are three things you can do to remove Harris & Harris from your report:

Dispute the Debt

If there are inaccuracies in the account, the credit bureaus are required by law to remove them. There’s no guarantee that there will be inaccuracies in the credit report, and reviewing your credit report is a time-consuming process.  

You can receive a free credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com. Read through the report carefully, looking for misspellings, typos, or any other error that would cause the collections account to be removed.  

If you find an error, you can dispute the debt with the credit bureaus. Send in all of the necessary documents to each of the credit bureaus:

Once they receive your dispute, the credit bureaus will investigate the error and delete the account from your report.

Goodwill Deletion

If you’ve already paid off your account, you may be able to ask for a goodwill deletion. A goodwill deletion is when you ask the creditor to remove the collection agency from your report. Those who pay off their debt promptly are more likely to qualify for a goodwill deletion.

Pay for Deletion

If you haven’t paid off your debt and the debt is nearing the end of its statute of limitations, you can pay for deletion. In this circumstance, you negotiate a deal with the creditor. In exchange for payment, the creditor will delete the collection agency from your credit report.

Hire a Credit Repair Company

Another option is to hire a credit repair company. The best way to improve your credit is to develop steady habits over time that slowly but surely repair your credit score.

However, the damage left behind by a collections agency can often limit your loan and credit card options. Hiring a credit repair company can remove collections agencies from your account and improve your credit.  

A credit repair company will sift through your credit report, looking for errors to dispute. They work directly with credit bureaus and can remove negative claims that you might miss when disputing on your own.

Will Harris & Harris Sue Me?

It’s unlikely that Harris & Harris will sue you. In most instances, Harris & Harris will call repeatedly, leave voicemails, and hound you until you answer. However, if you send a cease-and-desist letter, Harris & Harris may have no other option than to sue you.

A cease-and-desist letter declares that the collection agency can no longer contact you. Since the collection agency was hired to contact you, this means the only way to contact you would be to sue you.

As long as you are professional and agreeable with the collection agency, they’re unlikely to have any reason to turn to a civil judgment.


Image Source: https://depositphotos.com/

 

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