Credit Bureaus Refuse to Investigate: Next Steps (part 2)

What If a Credit Reporting Investigation Doesn’t Resolve My Dispute?

If your disputes are not resolved, it can mean several things. Either the original information providers who reported the item were able to prove its accuracy to the credit reporting companies, the information that was investigated was incomplete, the credit reporting companies have deemed your dispute “frivolous” and won’t pursue it, or the CRCs are being lazy and refusing to look into the matter. There are a few things you can still do.

Adding a Statement to Your Credit Reports

One step you can take in any of these cases is to request that a statement of your dispute be put into your future reports. This brief statement will show you contested entries even though they were not removed. Providing such a statement shows you disagree with the validity of the information. This might not be useful in many instances and won’t repair your credit, nor will it necessarily help you when you need better credit scores. And most of the time such a statement will never be read by those who pull your credit because they are only interested in looking at the numbers representing your score. If you do choose to ask for such a statement, you can also ask the credit reporting companies to send the denial statement to everyone who recently received a copy of your report. Note: Some bureaus may request payment for this service.

Pursuing Disputes and Investigations Further

To pursue the matter further, it’s your right to request information on the method the credit bureau used to obtain their verification, as well as the details of said verification. More about this procedure can be found in section 611 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). But if the matter is unresolved, you can open a new dispute.

Part of the language in section 611 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) states:

(5) Treatment of Inaccurate or Unverifiable Information
(A) In general. If, after any reinvestigation under paragraph (1) of any information disputed by a consumer, an item of the information is found to be inaccurate or incomplete or cannot be verified, the consumer reporting agency shall–
(i) promptly delete that item of information from the file of the consumer, or modify that item of information, as appropriate, based on the results of the reinvestigation; and
(ii) promptly notify the provider of the information that the information has been modified or deleted from the file of the consumer.

Prove It or Lose It

According to the law, it is your right to receive proof of the verification, and if that proof is missing, to have the inaccurate entry deleted. If the debt validation is absent or unsatisfactory, you can dispute it again or file suit in court.

If you want to pursue the investigation further, use the phone number on your returned report or letter in which verification is claimed, or use another effective phone number that you found for reaching the Credit Reporting Companies. Call back and say you would like proof of the method of verification, and/or details about it. If they ask you to open another dispute, agree to do so. If they need more information, use whatever information, or lack of information (names, numbers), you originally found when you sent your first letter of dispute. If they still refuse to offer proof of the method of verification, or details about it, inform them you will sue them for non-compliance under section 616 of the FCRA.

Seeking Legal Redress from Credit Reporting Companies

It is your right to seek a legal remedy when credit reporting companies won’t work with you according to the rules and guidelines established by law. When faced with a potential consumer lawsuit, the Credit Reporting Companiess might find it easier to remove the information and fix your history, but you’ll need to have a good case. You can let them know you will sue for non-compliance under section 616 of the FCRA. Or you might be able to sue for defamation.  Let them know you’ve been talking to an attorney and that you know your rights. You might need to actually contact a lawyer to send an “intent to sue” letter. Finally, you can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.

Additional information can be found at these links:

http://www.ftc.gov/os/statutes/031224fcra.pdf

http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre21.shtm

http://www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/ccc/reporting.html