- Contact the credit agencies and contest the ding on your record. It would help if you have proof that you paid the original ticket or have tried to work things out with the court or the collection agency.
- Negotiate with the collection agency. Despite any hardball positions they might take, everything is negotiable. They'd rather get something rather than nothing. Ask them for a breakdown of the interest and collection costs that increased the ticket from $500 to $800 and offer to settle for a reduced amount, perhaps the base ticket cost plus reasonable interest. The state charges something like nine percent interest in cases like this which is well above current rates. Offer to pay them less, perhaps four percent interest, and have them forgo the collection costs—let them tell you what they are first—because it is clear that since you've not been contacted in the four years since the traffic penalty was established, they have not expended much (if any) effort to find and notify you.
- Make sure any agreement is in writing and shows that you have cleared the matter by paying the original ticket and agreed-upon penalty.
- Even if you decide to pay the full $800, make sure you have in writing that the debt has been paid so that you can go about clearing your credit record.
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