Question: Three items were deleted from my Experian report in March of this year. Can Experian reinsert public records. They showed up again about a month or so ago. I wrote Experian and requested they remove them immediately because I did not receive written notice that the accounts were being re-inserted within 5 days. They responded that the information was received from a public source and that they would not re-investigate or remove them unless I could send them additional information. What can I do?
Assuming the deletion occurred due to a dispute of negative credit items, the FCRA says you must receive a written notice if reinsertion of negative items was a result of the dispute. Unfortunately, that does not always occur.
As you know the credit bureaus must delete or correct inaccurate information along with information that cannot be verified. Deletion must occur generally within 30 days after the dispute process. But keep in mind the credit bureaus are not required to delete accurate information from your files unless that information is outdated credit information.
If the information source (furnisher) verifies the information is accurate, Experian can reinsert public records but the credit bureau must give you a written notice telling you it has reinserted the items. The notice, called the “Certification of Accuracy” must include the name, address and phone number of the information source (furnisher). Not doing so can result in a violation which that carries a $1,000 fine payable to you.
In your situation it sounds like Experian is hiding behind “public records” as the information source. Credit bureaus use 3rd party services like Lexis/Nexis to perform public records search. Technically, the credit bureaus DO NOT verify public records directly with the information source because courts and county recorders do not furnish information directly to the credit bureaus.
You may want to make a complaint that Experian reinserted public records with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or the Better Business Bureau. Make sure you request the items be deleted as a final resolution.
But there may be another option.
As a result of settlement between the three major credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian and Transunion and 31 state attorneys general, credit bureaus must improve reporting accuracy and timely updating of public records like civil judgments, bankruptcies and tax liens. New and existing public records must adhere to new rules. Public records sources must include the individual’s name, address and full Social Security number or date of birth.
Most civil judgment data and up to half of tax lien information does not currently meet the new rules.
Get a copy of the public record to review what information it contains. If the public record lacks your name, address, full SSN or date of birth, you can request it be deleted. Here is an example of a short letter disputing inadequate public record information:
I am disputing public record (______) on my credit report. The public record currently recorded in (County) (State) and filed on (Date) lacks the minimum required information pursuant to the National Consumer Assistance Plan (NCAP) enhanced reporting standards. Please review the attached copy of the public record. It lacks (______). You must immediately remove the public record.
Make sure you carefully review the public record. While most public records contain your name and address, most do not contain your full Social Security number or a date of birth. This requirement is non-negotiable, meaning the credit bureaus must immediately delete public records that do not conform with the NCAP requirements.
If the credit bureaus do not comply, submit a complaint with the CFPB stating lack of compliance with the National Consumer Assistance Plan (NCAP). Many consumers with public records got their public records automatically deleted from credit reports by the end of August 2017. But for those that did not, making a complaint with the credit bureaus or the CFPB did the job. Just make sure you have a copy of the public record as your proof.
The best of luck to you.