Pay for Delete Letter: Is It a Good Idea?

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Your credit history is affected by late payments, bad credit, charge-offs, or an unpaid loan, which can also negatively reflect on your credit score and hamper your chances of getting another loan at a good rate. A ‘pay for delete letter’ serves as a negotiating tool between you (the client) and the debt collector. This article addresses the pros and cons of this negotiation strategy and its success rate.

What Is a ‘Pay for Delete Letter’?

A PFD Letter (pay for delete letter) is a strategy to remove negative credit information from your credit report. You can send a ‘PFD Letter’ to a collection agency and pay off your debt in exchange for removing any derogatory entry from your credit report.

A negative credit score can remain on your report for up to seven years. Knowing that you have accumulated debt, it could be beneficial to write such a letter to a collection agency.

Debt collection companies, however, are under no obligation to accept payment for delete settlement letters. But there are several  popular debt relief programs online to choose from if you’re looking for alternative ways to manage or get rid of debt.

How Does a ‘Pay for Delete Letter’ Work?

Before understanding the pay-for-delete method, it’s important to know how debt collection agencies and debt collections work. If you’re unable to complete payments on your loan, credit bureaus usually contact collection agencies to recover the amount of money you owe. The credit bureaus then pay the collector a percentage (usually 25 to 50%) of the amount collected.

To remove credit report delinquencies, you should ideally first send a debt validation letter to the collection agency. It will then provide you with complete information about your loan, including any unpaid balance or delinquent payments. Once you receive all the information, you can offer an amount to the collection agency that is higher than the percentage of debt owed. If the amount is higher, collection agencies may accept the request, with the hope of improving your personal credit report.

How to Use a Pay-for-Delete Method?

The first step towards using a pay-for-delete method is to send a letter to collection agencies, offering to pay to have negative information removed from your credit report. It should be noted, however, that those who use this tactic have only a few days to make their payment to the agency. It’s, therefore, advisable to draft such a letter, only if you have the funds available.

Once your letter gets approved and the full amount is paid, the agency will contact the credit bureau to remove your derogatory entries.

Additionally, it’s important to get written documentation of your correspondence from the agency before making your payment. (Again, they are under no obligation to improve your credit score; so, it’s advisable to obtain documents from the agency, detailing your case.)

Many people cannot draft such a letter because of the lack of funds. They could be caught in the cycle of a debt trap. But can you get out of debt with bad credit and no money?

Does Pay for Delete Work?

There is no guarantee that this strategy will work; it depends entirely on the collection agency and sometimes on the payment you offer, as well as the type of derogatory entry you’re trying to waive. Most agencies are lenient with medical debts, utility bills, cell phone bills, and even student loans. But the pay for delete technique may not work for an auto loan.

Note some pros and cons of the ‘PFD Letter’ strategy:

Pros

  • Writing a ‘PFD Letter’ is a simple process. There are many sample letters available online.
  • It can lead to instant credit score gratification and help you in making collections disappear.
  • Sending such a letter is risk-free. Even if your letter doesn’t get approved, you know that there are alternative methods to improve your credit score.

Cons

  • There is no guarantee that a ‘PFD Letter’ will be accepted.
  • It’s only applicable to new, small loans. And corporate banks and companies generally do not accept such methods.

Apart from the ‘PFD Letter’ strategy, there are a few other methods that might help you get out of debt. For example, credit card debt consolidation loans allow you to pay off multiple credit card debts with a single loan that has one fixed, monthly payment.

How to Negotiate a Pay for Delete Agreement

Negotiating the terms of any agreement is important for those seeking to improve their credit score. The first step towards this type of agreement is to contact the collection agency to request debt validation. Debt agencies are legally obliged to prove that you, indeed, owe them money.

Once you receive the debt validation letter, propose a payment that you think the agency would agree to. Then draft your ‘PFD Letter,’ noting the amount of debt owed, how much has been paid, and how much you’re willing to pay for them to waive the debt. And then request a reply from them in writing, as it can serve as legal proof of your correspondence.

If the agency agrees to (and fulfills) the pay for delete agreement, check your credit report to ensure that the debt has been completely waived, and that there’s no mention of it on your personal credit report.

Note that If the collection agency or creditor cannot prove your debt, then credit bureaus are obliged to remove any negative information from your credit report. A 609 letter is usually used in such cases—credit bureaus are responsible to report only information that is verified. If it is not verified, a 609 letter forces the credit reporting agency to remove certain negative information from your credit report.

Key Findings

    • A ‘pay for delete letter’ is one of a few methods that some use in an attempt to improve their credit score.
    • It involves writing a formal letter to a debt collection agency, requesting to waive your debt in exchange for a sum of money.
    • Agencies are under no obligation to accept an offer but often do for small loans.
    • The amount offered should usually be higher than the percentage of debt owed.
    • It’s important to get everything in writing, for legal purposes.

Is It Illegal to Pay for Delete?

Many believe that a ‘PFD Letter’ lies within the gray area of legality. The legal rules for credit bureaus and collection agencies come under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), which states that agencies and bureaus are obliged to report accurate and complete reports of clients’ credit reports. The maximum penalty for violations of this law amounts to $3,817 per violation.

One reason the ‘PFD Letter’ strategy might be considered to be in a legal gray area is that companies can choose to completely omit the client’s credit information. But this seldom happens because agencies and bureaus actually benefit from reporting all of a client’s credit information. It encourages customers to pay off their debts on time, as it reflects badly on their credit score if they do not.

It’s still better, however, to pay off debt with a one-time payment, as it can help improve your score and will reflect on your personal credit report.

Does the Pay for Delete Technique Improve Credit Scores?

This technique can improve your credit score, provided you have only one bad debt. And it can provide instant credit score gratification. But as previously stated, debt usually remains in your credit history for seven years. If you have such old debt, simply removing it would not improve your overall credit score. The ‘PFD Letter’ tactic can only improve your credit score if you have new debt.

The type of debt also impacts your overall credit report. The inability to pay an auto loan collection, for example, will have a more negative impact than a simple phone bill debt. And since this method is only applicable to small loans, your overall credit score should not improve.

Many have a bad credit score, due to credit card debt. Not using credit cards wisely can lead to major debt, and learning how to get out of credit card debt fast is always a matter of utmost concern.

Conclusion

To summarise, pay for delete credit is a strategy that attempts to help people remove bad debt and improve credit scores. It involves sending a formal letter to your debt collecting agency, requesting to completely remove your debt in exchange for a certain sum of money. Such a request, however, is rarely accepted by collection agencies. Even if they do accept a ‘pay for delete letter’, it’s typically for small, new loans and doesn’t improve your personal credit report. Yet, it’s worth a try because it’s risk-free and doesn’t negatively affect your credit history.

 

FAQ

When should I try the ‘PFD Letter’ method?

If you have a small, new loan and have the funds to pay in full, then you can try this strategy. It’s also tried by people who wish to take on another loan, but their bad credit score may hamper the process.

How long do I have to wait for a response to my ‘PFD Letter’?

A reply may take up to 15 days. But unfortunately, agencies seldom reply to such requests.

How do I write a ‘PFD Letter’?

To write a good ‘pay for delete letter’, you should address the agency in a formal style, detailing your amount of debt, amount already paid, and the amount you’re willing to pay in order to completely delete your debt.

Sources

ABOUT AUTHOR

I learned a lot about finance after working for a digital marketing company specializing in investing and trading stocks, forex, etc. After that, I got exposed to other verticals such as wealth management and personal finance, which further improved my understanding of the financial world.

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