I'm bumping this up with some new, but still incomplete, information. I hope to come back with further and more complete information as I research this further (if I don't get burned-out in the process).
First, the objective you are dealing with is getting rid of the impact on your credit score from an unpaid ticket. Best to ignore any responses regarding evil govt, evil non-payer (e.g “just pay your tickets, dude”) or whatever ‘helpful’ morality play that is offered - none of that is going to actually help you with your objective of stopping the hurt on your credit score by the unpaid parking ticket.
Basically, not paying your parking ticket or not showing up to contest it (a claim of ignorance of the law OR the infraction is not going to help you - particularly in DC) means you were not only guilty of the infringement but that you owe a debt. That debt is likely to also have been increased by penalties for not paying or not showing up. Now you have an unpaid debt, and all three of the credit reporting agencies see a report of you not paying it as no different than a report of any other unpaid debt. Again, you can write or read responses of moral outrage or amateur legal opinions all you want - none of that is going to help you with your objective of taking away the hurt on your credit score from a report of this unpaid debt.
In particular be dubious about any "statue of limitation" (SOL) discussion regarding the parking ticket. The "crime" committed was the parking infringement and the SOL became a mute issue as soon as the parking enforcer wrote the ticket and put it on your windshield. Note, however, this SOL gets mixed up with the legal length of time that a report of a "delinquent account" can remain on your credit report - as such, some good useful advice about the time limits on delinquent account reporting can be masked on an Internet search if you leave out SOL in your search. You might want to search using the term but just be sure to know exactly what is being discussed – the SOL of your parking ticket (usually pure nonsense) or time limits on a report of a delinquent account (possible useful). You should also know that the time limit for reporting a delinquent account is what is generally referred to as a “Credit Reporting Time Period” or CRTP.
Now here’s the killer. Once a delinquent debt is on your credit report, it doesn’t make a difference to your credit score whether you pay it off or not! Read that again; I’m not kidding about this. Moreover, by paying the debt off and having the entity that first reported you now report the debt being paid will re-start the clock on how long this delinquent account will remain on your report! Yes, the world sucks.
What you need to do is get the entity to work with you to actually remove the report. Once you have paid the debt, there is no real incentive for that entity to do that. You can try what is know as a Good Will (GW) letter to that entity begging them to help you with the credit agencies to remove the report (e.g. something about being in a coma). This might work if you are dealing with a retailer or a bank who wants your business in the future; but with a govt entity or a collection agency??? Well, they’re busy getting other people’s money, you know that right? Good luck because I think you’re ----
Now if you haven’t paid the debt off, you might have some leverage. You might be able to negotiate with the owed entity that you will pay (probable in full with all those penalties along with the moral outrage of the original undeserved ticket being issued to you) if they will work with you to get the credit reporting agency to remove the delinquent debt report. There are a couple of good websites that discuss the formal way of going about this that starts with what is called a “Pay for Delete” letter with your offer to pay. There’s also a step in there about sending a “Debt Validation” (DV) letter for them to verify the debt.
Here’s the warning about this process, however. It may get them p.o. or at least get their attention and that may result in them reporting the delinquency to all three agencies if they had only reported to one. Or, if they have other debts of yours, they may report those as well to “broaden” the discussion now that they see you are a potential money-maker for them. What did I tell you about the world sucking
One other thing about this process. It does no good to go to the entity that doesn’t own the debt. If say the local govt sold your debt to a collection agency, then that local govt can’t help you get the delinquency off of the credit report. So you got to know if local govt did the reporting directly, contracted with the collection agency to do this, or sold it off to the collection agency. If it is the middle option, you are probable going to be lost in a lot of finger pointing as to who might help you (if they are even interested in helping you
There’s some other odds and ends to all of this. The most important one is the consequences of you disputing the debt with the credit reporting agency(s). This can actually close off you getting credit, say for a home mortgages, because some banks and lenders’ computers automatically kick you out if there is any disputes on your credit report. Nice, how they punish folks for sticking up for themselves (i.e. world = sucks)
Here’s what I don’t know -
- The CRPT is for 7 years (although some argue it might be 7.5 years for some things). I don’t actually know if this applies to debt that originated with a parking ticket. I think it should because they (local govts, collection agencies, the 3 credit reporting agencies) argue that debt is debt when it comes to reporting delinquent account. But on the other hand, as you may have deduced, this is not about rational or honorable arguments, this is about them making money and that they are in control. So I still have to figure this out
- There is also something about individual state time limits on how long a collection agency can come after you; in a number of states and for some debts, it can be considerable less than the 7 year CRPT (a federal law limit). However, I don’t think this impacts how long a report stays on the credit report. What I do know (and you are going to hate this!) is there is no limit to how long a local govt can come after you for a parking ticket! It’s possible if the local govt contracted with a collector then they could contract with a new collector and start the clock over again with regard to any state time limit! Now some good news, I believe that would not result in the CRPT clock being re-started. If a collection agency, even a new one, were to reported, then you can tell the credit reporting agency(s) that they are “re-aging” a delinquent account and THAT is very illegal and the agency will remove it pronto
What I don’t know is if DC sells it parking ticket debts to a collection agency or just contracts with them. I’m actually not interested in the issue of they’re being able to re-start the clock to circumvent state time limits. I’m interest in who I need to negotiate payment with for them to remove the report from my credit scoring.
Here’s my situation and likely approach. I got a $100 ticket from DC for not having a VIRGINIA sticker showing I paid my VIRGINIA property taxes. I mean, really, what business is this of DC??? I had the darn sticker in my glove compartment; if Virginia had given me the ticket, they take that into account and forgo or minimize the penalty – DC, being DC, doesn’t give a rat’s butt; they want their money! I was too outraged (or too stupid) to pay; they slapped on fines to $250. Now I could pay that and probable would to get the delinquency off my credit report. Given the above, how likely do you think that will happen? Basically, I’m going to ride out the 7-year CRPT. I’m already into it by over 2 years and have no plans to take out a new mortgage. I have two good credit cards with very high limits. I think I can ride it out.
Just to note my credit score from TransUnion was a most excellent 810 before (850 is the Warren Buffet max) and went to 710 with this F’in parking ticket; 100 point drop! Still 710 is not bad. I also applied for that second credit card (2X miles) without any problems but that knocked my score down further to 680 (the average score) and I didn’t get the best interest rate (fine, I pay the whole thing off monthly).
So, that’s how I’m approaching it unless I find out some miracle. This may not be the best approach for you, but at least you don’t have to wade through a lot on nonsense like I did in finding out what the truth is, an ugly truth, but at least you will save some time and energy reading this. That’s a good thing in a world that already sucks. On the other hand, if the world didn’t suck wouldn’t we all go flying off of it?
- and yea, I know, I should have paid my parking ticket, dude!