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What are the chances that a collection agency has already reported my debt (under $500)?
I got a letter from a collections agency today about a doctor's bill I owe ($240). The bill is valid. I went online immediately to the collector's website and paid the bill. The letter was dated March 17. It is my understanding that some collection agencies wait to report you as delinquent until giving you an opportunity to pay after they contact you (this is the first contact from the collection agency so I believe it was just placed with them). However three years ago I had an even smaller medical bill that was reported to the agencies before I was even notified that it had been sent to collections. That mark is still on my report.....sigh.
I'm a wreck. I just downloaded my most current credit report and there is nothing there regarding this latest issue. However I don't know how long it takes new data to "refresh" or show up on the bureau's it a rolling thing, where new marks populate daily, or is it once, twice a month?

My fervent hope is that since I suspect this collection agency is small and local (I can post the name if that is permitted), that maybe they haven't reported it yet. Is there any way I can know for sure and set my mind at ease?

Worst case scenario, I'm willing to pay someone to remove the derogatory remark if absolutely necessary. Are those things for real, or scams?

Thank you in advance!

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