Question: I am disputing items on my report and the credit bureaus are not addressing the items that I am disputing. They are, instead, updating other items related to the account. For example, I disputed the terms of a 30 year mortgage that is reporting a 2 year term, and they “updated” the account by modifying the comments section.
They did not update the terms or delete the account, as requested. I also disputed the terms of a collections account that is reporting monthly, and they didn’t address what was disputed, but “updated” the status of the account. They are not addressing the items as I requested and are not deleting the accounts. They are simply updating other items. How do I deal with this?
Answer: The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires credit bureaus to report only accurate information. As we know this is not done and consumer credit reports contain tons of erroneous, inaccurate information.
Although you can and should request a deletion of inaccurate information, the credit bureaus are under no obligation to delete inaccurate account; however, they are required to report accurate information. This means they must properly update the accounts to reflect only accurate information.
Options to address the mortgage dispute:
1. Proof. Did you enclose proof to support your mortgage term dispute? Providing proof can help the credit bureaus accurately reflect what you are claiming.
2. Dispute directly with the furnisher of information. The creditor providing the information to the credit bureaus is now required to investigate disputes in the same manner as credit bureaus. You can dispute directly with the creditor and they are required to respond within 30 days or the account must be deleted. Read more about the direct dispute rule.
3. Method of Verification. You have the right to know how the dispute was investigated and verified by the creditor. Once you request the method of verification, the credit bureaus have 15 days to respond with how they verified the information. Many times they do not investigate at all and requesting the method of verification puts them in the hot seat. Learn more about the requesting the method of verification.
Options to address the collection dispute:
1. Terms of Collection Account. There should be no monthly terms of a collection account. Debt collectors should only be reporting the date the collection account was first reported along with current status updates such as account unpaid or account paid and even partial payment on account. If delinquencies such as 30, 60 or 90 days past due is being reported monthly, then inaccurate reporting is occurring because you did not open an account with the collection agency and have no legal contract with them. Request the credit bureaus re-investigate and remove the inaccurate reporting.
2. Make a complaint to the FTC. The FTC governs the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act. You can go online and make a complaint against the collection agency and the credit bureau. There are no immediate remedies but it is good to make a complaint because once the FTC gets enough complaints they will take action.
3. Check your State Laws. States usually have separate but similar laws to the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. For example, California has the Rosenthal Act and Texas has the Finance Code which governs debt collectors. Make a complaint to your State’s Attorney General if you find a state law has been violated. For instance, a debt collector did not extend credit to you therefore has no basis to report monthly credit terms to the credit bureaus. It may be illegal for them to act as a creditor when clearly they are not.
Lastly, for both issues, consumers have to be ready to sue the credit bureaus for violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. When you have exhausted all methods to correct inaccurate information you can exercise your right to sue the credit bureaus if they refuse to correct inaccurate information. The best of luck to you.