When mistakes happen, you might assume credit bureaus will willingly verify credit report items. However, this is not true. Information submitted to credit bureaus is always assumed to be correct unless someone says otherwise. Thus, the first step towards verifying items is recognizing the mistakes, which entails getting a copy your credit report, and knowing how to read it. The next step is to make up a dispute letter, as discussed elsewhere on this website.
Given the fact that everything related to credit histories is automated and handled by computers, it’s logical to make a second assumption concerning the verification of credit report items. The assumption is that once a dispute is made, the inaccurate item will be investigated using a system other than the same system that recorded and transmitted the error. After all, since these automated systems are interconnected, surely a different method is used as a fail-safe, correct? Once the error has been identified, the credit bureaus are responsible to look into the matter, right?
Unfortunately the answer is no. Even at this stage, the truth is the credit bureaus will still continue to use the same systems to verify information, which more often than not leads nowhere. It is simply not in their interest to invest any more effort than that.
What Do Credit Bureaus Do to Verify Disputed Items?
When you send a detailed dispute letter to the credit bureaus, they don’t go to the original creditor or source for the mistake, rather, an automated system is used to investigate the item. This system, which is known as e-OSCAR, converts your letter into a code run through the same system of provider databases that reported the mistake in the first place.
Invariably, the result is a confirmation that the inaccuracy is in fact correct. What kind of investigation is that? If you think this contradicts the very idea of an investigation, you’re not the only one. Courts have ruled this method is insufficient, and yet nobody has been able to mount a case big enough to stop the credit bureaus from using e-OSCAR anyway.
Despite efforts to be detailed about your dispute and to furnish supporting documents which prove an item on your report is a mistake, e-OSCAR converts your dispute into a standardized code that strips it of any uniqueness. Most of the time, there isn’t a real investigation unless you continue to pursue the matter further and ask for proof of both the method of verification and documented validation of the item. Even after all of this, you sometimes have to threaten legal action.