What to do when a deleted credit item is Re-inserted: 3 Actions to get a final resolution

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Consumers who have successfully removed negative items from their credit files must continue to monitor their credit reports in case the creditor re-inserts the negative item. Credit repair is only the beginning step in obtaining good credit scores. Once you have taken steps to repair your credit you will keep a close watch on your credit report.

If you dispute an item from your credit report the credit bureaus have 30 days to complete their investigation pursuant to your dispute. If the item cannot be verified within 30 days the credit bureaus must remove it because they are not allowed to maintain information that is unverifiable.

Consumers may misinterpret a negative item being removed as a permanent resolution. However, if the item is verified on day 31 or any day afterwards, the credit bureau can reinsert the item in your credit reports.

Even though you may be successful in disputing and getting a negative credit item deleted, it could be re-inserted. But the credit bureaus must notify you within 5 days of the re-insert date.

If a previously negative item is reinserted, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires the credit reporting agency to notify you no later than five days after the date of reinsertion. This FCRA requirement is not always practiced. Additionally, the creditor who reinserts the negative item must also certify the information is correct.

Reinsertion of previously disputed information is governed by FCRA 611(a)(5)(B) only in cases where the deletion occurred as a result of the finding in a dispute.

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Three options when a negative credit item is re-inserted

Option 1. Request a new investigation and dispute re-insertion. A simple letter is sufficient:

“On (date) I discovered (negative credit item and account number) had been re-inserted into my credit file. You are required to notify me within five (5) days of re-inserting a previously deleted item. I did not receive any such notification. Please delete this item immediately.”

Simple and straight to the point works well. You do not have to quote the FCRA. Save that for later if you have to threaten to file a lawsuit.

Option 2. Make a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The complaint can be against the credit bureau and/or the creditor. Both will not ignore an inquiry from the CFPB.

Option 3. File a lawsuit against the creditor for re-inserting the item under the Fair Reporting Credit Act (FRCA). It is unlikely a creditor, collection agency or furnisher of information will have the accurate documentation to support re-inserting the negative credit item, especially since the item had been previously deleted. The creditor will not likely take time to deal with a lawsuit just to re-insert information they probably cannot back-up anyway.

In the case of a negative item resurfacing after the FCRA’s reporting periods have expired, you have the leverage for the credit reporting agencies to delete the negative information immediately because illegal re-aging has occurred.  Notify the credit reporting agencies that the reporting period has expired and they will remove the negative tradeline.

 

30 thoughts on “What to do when a deleted credit item is Re-inserted: 3 Actions to get a final resolution”

  1. Hello, I have been going back and forth with Discover for a while. I legitimately had identity theft. It was my nephew who is no longer with us (drug overdose). He opened several accounts in my name while living with me. He was intercepting mail and everything. Discover filed a judgment against me and i had no clue. He was getting the mail. I travel for work btw, I’m out of town 2 weeks out of the month ( this is why I wasnt aware. My assistant would hand me the mail when I would come in and there were no cards. He was even maintaining the accounts for a while with the money I was paying him) Now I was able to have this removed, however they are literally fighting tooth and nail to mess with me. They had the account reinserted and now they are sending me old statements and documents. I guess this I supposed to be proof. Yes the account was there but I didnt open it. Do you have any idea of what I could possibly do because this is driving me nuts.

    1. Did you go through the official steps when identity theft occurred? If not, I can only suggest you follow the federal government’s guidelines regarding identity theft. When you follow the steps at identitytheft.gov it helps you to restore your credit. You can read a little more about it here.

      Now if you’ve already gone through the process of clearing you identity and Discover refuses to comply, I suggest you seek legal counsel. It may be time to file a court action against Discover as you are not responsible for debt to due identity theft.

      However, before you seek legal counsel, file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. They can often intervene before legal counsel gets involved. Let them know the situation and request Discover permanently delete any and all negative marks placed on your credit report as the resolution. The CFPB wields a lot of power and can often get results when consumers get the run-a-round with creditors and the credit bureaus.

      The best of luck to you!

  2. The original creditor sold the account to a new creditor and they reported the date they had acquired the date. The added a whopping 2 thousand dollars to the debt. This information is incorrect. Is that legal? Also I haven’t sent a debt validation letter to them yet. It’s getting close to 30 days though. What should I do? Is there a chance for a deletion?

    1. You should definitely send a debt validation request to reserve your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. If you don’t send a dispute letter within 30 days you are waiving your right to do so and they may add the account to your credit reports. Send the DV letter certified mail return receipt.

      Plus, if you dispute the debt in writing within 30 days of the initial communication the debt collector must stop all collection activity until they provide the required verification. I would definitely request how they arrived at the amount owed.

      There are times when simply requesting debt validation causes a debt collector to go away; however, I can not definitively state whether the account will be deleted.

  3. I was making small payments monthly to a collection agency online until “account does not exist” popped up when I tried login. The collection was removed from my credit report. It reappeared months later under a different collection agency. To my knowledge, the collector has not tried collecting but is on my report. What should I do?

    1. Unfortunately, the debt has been sold to a new collection agency. FCRA Re-insertion rules would not apply to your matter. Typically, the new debt collector should have notified you they are the new owners of the debt and give you an opportunity to request debt validation.

      What you can do is request debt validation from the new collection agency. Here is more information on debt validation.

  4. Hi Lisa can they remove something because of “changing their computer software” and then put it back?

    1. Yes, a creditor can remove a tradeline and re-insert it for any reason as long as they are within the credit reporting time period (7 years). Only if the tradeline had been removed based upon your disputing the item, would the credit bureaus be required to send you notice of re-insertion. The creditor is not required to send any notice of re-insertion to the consumer.

  5. Hi Lisa,
    I have a debt that was removed from my credit report for no apparent reason. There was no validation letters sent nor anything else done on my part. However, they reinserted the debt sometime a few weeks (couple months) later and it took a drastic hit to my credit.

    Can I file a complaint for them removing and then reinserting since I took no action to have it removed?

    1. If the account was removed because it was sold or transferred to a new collection agency, it is legal for the new collection agency to report the dates they acquired the debt. Unfortunately, like you stated, the newer dates will tank your scores initially because the debt looks more recent. However, after several months your scores should somewhat recover.

      But if it’s the same collection agency that simply deleted then re-inserted the account (for no apparent reason), a complaint with the CFPB might be in order. Any proof you have showing the account was removed then re-inserted (i.e. credit reports) would be helpful in stating your complaint issues.

  6. Sharonda M Fields

    I disputed a creditor and the debt was dropped from Transunion. However, it remained on Experian & Equifax as derogatory. Wanting to buy a new car, I paid the debt to at least have the derogatory status change with the other two bureaus. Then I notice the debt is back on Transunion as derogatory. Can I do anything?

    1. When a negative item is deleted due to a credit dispute, the credit bureaus can reinsert the item once the furnisher of information responds. However, the credit bureaus are required by law to notify of the disputed item being reinserted.

      The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) says they are required to notify you within five (5) days of re-inserting a previously deleted item. If you did not receive any such notification submit a complaint to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and request the item be deleted as a resolution.

      Another action would be to request a deletion of the item from your credit reports since it has been paid. Keep in mind, the collection agency is not required by any law to delete paid collections but in some instances they may agree to delete as a goodwill gesture. Send a letter to upper management, VP or CEO and request the item be deleted from your credit reports since it has been paid.

      You can also make a goodwill request by phone instead of sending a letter, but more often than not, the customer service reps who answer the phone don’t have the authority to make these types of changes to your account. If you can get a phone call to someone higher-up in the company, you’re more likely to get your request granted.

  7. I have 2 student loans that were held by federal loans. Those same loans were then sold to the US Dept. Of education. The loans are over 5 years old but showing up as 4 different accounts, 2 with Fed Loan and 2 with the US Dept. Of Ed.

    Under the Fed Loan account it shows sold or transferred, should those 2 be deleted?

    1. When a debt is sold or transferred it can technically remain on your credit reports because it’s a history of activity for that debt. However, the balance should state $0 when a debt is sold or transferred.

      Duplicate information such as the same debt posted more than once by the same lender is considered duplicate credit reporting. You can dispute duplicate reporting directly with the credit bureaus where the duplicate accounts appear. It’s always best to dispute in writing as opposed to the online dispute forms. Put your dispute in writing, including your credit report with the duplicate accounts clearly highlighted.

      If disputing with the credit bureaus does not result in a removal of the duplicate accounts, you should make a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. They are pretty good at helping consumers resolve student loan and credit reporting issues.

  8. I sent a validation letter to a collection agency (AFNI) and they removed the account from my report. Months later they sent me the validation in the mail but it is still off my reports. Should I call them to pay it so it doesn’t reappear on my credit report?

  9. Hi. Great info. My credit report says I have 3 student loan accounts in collections.

    One account (USA funds)says charged off. Opened 2/12, closed 4/12. Date of last payment unknown.

    The second (Sallie mae) says transferred to another lender. Opened date 12/06 . Closed 2/12. Date of last payment 3/11.
    3rd, just says collection as company. Date opened 6/13 status opened.

    My question is I have never made a payment on my student loan but they marked the 1st account closed as of 4/12, with no payment history.
    The second account has that I last paid in march of 2011. These are false because I haven’t had a job since 2010, so I know for a fact I wasn’t paying.
    The third account (which is under the collections section ) doesn’t even have a company name but is marked opened since 2013.

    I did have a bank card that I didn’t pay off but that was before I lost my job in 2010. So, technically I’ve reached seven years on all my debt, as we are approaching 2018 but the accounts say I closed in 2012?. I have my own business now and want to fix my credit to buy a store. Should I dispute it now or wait for the 7.5 yr mark to dispute? I appreciate any insight.

    1. Whenever you dispute inaccurate items, you run the risk of poking the bear. This could lead to renewed collection activity. But, if the dispute is verified as accurate, it would update the date of last activity. This will make an older account appear newer with an updated status. Keep in mind recent negative information is much worse than older negative items. Your best bet would be to continue monitoring your credit reports. Make sure you’re getting credit reports directly from Experian, Transunion and Equifax to see exactly how these accounts are reporting and when they are due to come off your credit files. You are entitled to free reports from each credit bureau once every 12 months at Annualcreditreport.com. But you can also pay a small fee if you’ve already ordered your free reports.

  10. Three items were deleted from my Experian report in March of this year. 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?

    1. Assuming the deletion occurred due to a dispute of negative credit items, the FCRA says you must receive a written notice if reinsertion of those 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, reinsertion can occur but the credit bureau must give you a written notice telling you it has reinserted the item. 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 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.

        1. It depends on the nature of the public record. There are basically three types of public records that can appear in your credit report: bankruptcy, civil judgments and tax liens. Public records due to court actions can be obtained at the courthouse where the action took place. Public records due to tax liens can typically be obtained at your County Recorder’s office.

  11. I had an acct removed from my credit report last year which was about 8/9 years old.Just a few days ago I received a letter informing me that the very same acct was bought from another collection agency and will be reinserting it to my credit report within 30 days. What should or can I do?

    Thank you

    1. First, don’t panic. Keep in mind that unpaid debt can resurface as long as it remains unpaid. However, once a debt reaches the statute of limitations (depending on the state where debt was incurred), the debt becomes legally uncollectible. But that does not keep debt collectors from coming after you. Unpaid debt can be sold from debt collector to debt collector until paid.

      What a creditor or debt collector cannot do is insert the debt on your credit reports after the 7.5 credit reporting period has been reached. The 7.5 year reporting period is determined by the date you first became delinquent on a debt and no further payments were made.

      Typically a negative account, such as a charge-off or collection account can remain on your credit report for 7.5 years from the date of first delinquency. If the 7.5 year reporting period has not passed, the debt can be reinserted on your credit reports.

      Since the debt is 8 or 9 years old, it should not currently be on your credit reports and cannot be reinserted. The debt collector may be trying to get you to pay by threatening to reinsert the debt. They may also be trying to get you to state you will make payments in order to restart the state of limitations.

      I can only suggest that you monitor your credit reports and do not agree to pay the debt or even acknowledge you owe the debt. As far as you are concerned you are unaware of the debt.

      In the case of a negative item resurfacing after the FCRA’s reporting periods have expired, you have the leverage for the credit reporting agencies to delete the negative information immediately. Notify the credit reporting agencies that the reporting period has expired and they will remove the negative mark.

  12. Last week I noticed 3 Collection accounts came off my credit report for TransUnion however I looked today they were reinserted when can I expect some kind of notification from the credit bureaus that these accounts for reinserted up on my credit report? Also I believe they were originally taken off of my report before the seven-year period here in California does that make a difference if I decide to try and fight this?

    1. Reinsertion can occur but only under certain circumstances. For instance, if a disputed item is inaccurate or incomplete or cannot be verified within the 30-day time period of the dispute, it is deleted but the creditor is also notified of the deletion. At that time the creditor then has the chance to certify that the information is actually complete and accurate.

      If any information that has been deleted is reinserted in the file, the credit bureau must notify the consumer of the reinsertion within 5 business days after the reinsertion occurred. It must be written notification, unless the consumer has authorized another form of communication.

      Being in California should not make a difference when a negative item is due to be removed from your credit reports. Some consumers have found that Transunion will do an early exclusion by about 6 months of a negative item but you must request early exclusion. It’s not a dispute of an item, it’s a telephone call asking a Transunion rep to remove an item that is due to be deleted from your credit reports several months earlier.

  13. Under the article written 09/23/14 What to do when a deleted credit item is Re-inserted… My question is: Would this also pertain to public records in a credit report that were removed and then reinserted?

    Thank you.

    1. Under normal circumstances reinsertion requires a notice to the consumer if verified by the furnisher of information (creditor). But with a public record, the “furnisher of information” is the public record. The credit bureaus obtain public record information from their own review of public records, and not through reporting from a court. It’s a rather grey area where credit bureaus are verifying current public records.

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