One point that confuses even the experts: No matter how many times a debt is sold (and resold), the date that counts for the seven-year credit report clock is the date of delinquency with the original creditor, says Sweet.
Think of it as your debt's birth date.
If a collection agency bought your 10-year-old retail card debt and has started putting it on your credit report with a different date, that's a no-no.
"It used to be a really big problem for us," says Sweet. "Now it's the exception rather than the rule."