Continuing on an early post regarding derogatories on your credit report, another misconception is that a debt has been “charged off” and the account balance is zero. This does not mean that you no longer owe the debt. This is an accounting term meaning that the debt is seriously delinquent (typically after 6 months) and the creditor has closed the account and written off the loss. But the debt remains a valid claim against you. Your debt to the creditor has been sold or assigned to a collection agency — and there can be several collection agencies involved with the same debt as these are often resold, reassigned, or transferred. So a ‘charge off’ is not debt forgiveness.