Charge Off Question


Good Afternoon to All,
I am about to change jobs and start working a job with the Veterans Administration as a GS. I pulled my credit report from the bureaus. It shows a charge off that was paid in full (shows it was paid through collections). I am freaking out because I have to go through an SF-86 for the position. The debt was through Zales who I fought with around 9 months or so. Someone I knew received a check from Zales for returned items. That person cashed it and spent the money. I did not know about this until months later, thinking the account was in good standing. At this point, Zales was wanting their money. I filled out paperwork asking Zales to relieve me of the debt. The paperwork was sent from and to the Zales fraud collection office. In the end, Zales sent it to collections and I paid it. I did not know until today that Zales listed it as a “charge-off” on my account even after I paid it to collectors who work for Zales. I would like to know what and how this is viewed by an investigator. Also, please keep in mind this was over 2.5 years ago.


Omg. Seriously? Nonissue, amigo.


That is a sigh of relief. Good ole Zales refused to fix the fact I did not receive the check. Instead, they came after me for the debt. I pay the thing and they STILL list it as a charge-off. I was like, you have got to be kidding me. The amount was like $600. I am a retired Army guy and I pay ALL my stuff on time. This was the one and only time something like this happened.


Ur welcomed. I am here to help, even bozo questions.


As a reminder, even though it is paid and as long as it is an isolated incident, you will still be required to list it on the SF-86 under the applicable section.

@Issuedetector, perhaps you could be a bit more professional in your replies when offering your advice.


The form I filled out and summited was an SF-85P. It did not have a section for that. The closest area would have been Section 22. There was not a legal judgement agains me and it asked if I was currently over 180 days delinquent on any debt and I am not. Also, when filling out the SF-85P I was unaware it was a charge off and not listed as “paid”.

I wanted to add that I paid the debt, but Zales went ahead and STILL listed it as charged off.



Then you are good to go for the public trust position that you filled out the application for. One time incidents like that are not considered an issue.


I appreciate the advice from you and others on this site. I have had a clearance within the military for many years and this was the first time I had a blemish on my credit record. I am taking this minor incident and ensure that no other blemishes happen.






Issue Detector,
:slight_smile: Thank you as well. I do appreciate it when someone can come and get real answers to possibly real problems. The advice can help a person not only mitigate the current problem, but future ones as well.

Thank you,



I only give 100 percent real answers. And you have zero to be concerned with. I only wish all sf86’s had your minor issue. Actually, a non-issue in your case.


I only give 100 percent real answers. And you have zero to be concerned with. I only wish all sf86’s had your minor issue. Actually, a non-issue in your case.

Oh thank u for your military service.



LMFAO. Most of these folks think THEY are being vetted like a prospective new CEO of Goldman Sachs. They have no idea a contract investigator has got 4 or 5 dozen cases going at one time and the company hounding him/her to close cases ASAP for revenue. The investigator who interviews you is frazzled with the work load and pressure and is probably thinking at least as much about his next appointment as he is with you during your interview.

Here’s the danger with retiredarmy5000’s minimal issue. It is a huge bureaucratic process with lots and lots of investigations and adjudications. What is a silly little non-issue is can be lumped in more serious rejectable stuff due to the non-commonsensical bureaucratic process. It compounds. E.g., the guy who is not clear on whether to list something or can’t find the correct place on the user-unfriendly SF86 and he needs to get the SF86 in that night after working on it for 3 hours and figures he can always deal with it later. He is then tagged with the issue itself along with an honesty issue. There is no room for common sense or discretion at the overall level. But of course, there is a chance within the huge bureaucratic process to explain yourself further if needed. At this stage, appellate stage, you’re cooked, you’re done, in any career that requires a clearance.


I will agree that in life we all have work stress to complete the tasks to which we are assigned. There is always a danger in any process when the decision is not your own. This is why I have always tried to make sure areas under my control were “squared-away.” Please keep in mind that I filled out an SF-85P. While I appreciate your varied opinion, you sound a might jaded by the process. I can only control what I handle on a daily basis.

Thank you,



Actually, toby Iillustrates a very sad reality. Sounds jaded, but that’s the life of a FI at caci and keypoint, and at fomer USIS, a very corrupt organization as everyone aware.


Definitely understand. To additionally help any decision I have paid off 4 bills this month. None are delinquent. Just want to show all things are under control and being paid.


I also keep the bills for the my wife and I separate. Anything with my name is definitely good to go.