By a show of hands, how many of you reading this post have attempted to correct errors in your credit report? What’s that you say? Well of course I can’t see your hands silly (unless you take a picture and post it on my Facebook page :)), but without seeing them, I’m betting quite a few of you have raised your hands.
Here’s another question; how many of you have had the credit bureaus send back one of these responses when you did?
- A stall letter asking for more information.
- A rejection letter on the grounds that the dispute is “frivolous or irrelevant.”
- A rejection based on the grounds that the credit bureau believes you are manipulating the system (or thinks you might be using a credit repair company)
Without needing any pictures posted to the Amateur Consumer Facebook page, without a doubt, if you have attempted to correct errors in your credit report, undoubtedly you have received one of many letters like these.
And the Results Are…
If all goes well, you might receive a letter announcing that your investigation has begun or you may receive a new credit report altogether, showing the results of an investigation. But what if in reviewing that report, instead of seeing an item you disputed deleted, like shown below;
despite all of the corresponding documentation you might have sent to the bureaus, you get a letter like this:
Your Next Steps
If you do get a letter like the one above, the next step you should take is sign up for my free video series, the Better Credit Blueprint. In it, I go over topics just like this in great detail as well as perform -on video – a “Credit Audit & Verification” using 3 different versions of my own credit report. You will also learn exactly how to create dispute letters to ensure a successful outcome.
But…no matter how good the letter and how strong the corresponding evidence you send the credit bureaus might be, there will be times when you get a response just like the one I received, shown above. Whatever you do, NEVER USE A TEMPLATE LETTER TO DISPUTE CREDIT ERRORS! Yes, you read that right. In fact, this topic is so important, I’m going to share an excerpt from video #8 of the Better Credit Blueprint video series that explains factually why you shouldn’t!
Must Go Through The Credit Dispute Process First
As you can see, this is critical information you must know as an Amateur Consumer, but let’s get back to how the CFPB can help you with your credit disputes. To be clear, you must go through the credit disputing process first before you can get the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to help you.
As you can see in the letter Experian sent, they state; “We store address information as it is sent to us by your credit grantors or from information contained in public records. One or more sources of information reported the address you questioned and it is a part of your credit history.” WRONG!
Time to Get Medieval
In the Better Credit Blueprint video series, I clearly demonstrate to Experian, who is reporting the address as a previous residence, that I have never lived there – EVER! It’s why both TransUnion and Equifax deleted that address from my personal information section.
Now I have to go and get ‘medieval’ on Experian! It’s amazing how they state to “contact the source of the information who reported the address.” Hello, McFly; anyone home? When disputing errors in your credit report, the bureaus must provide the source of the information…but not here?
So Now They Think They’re Libraries
In recent testimony before The House Financial Services Committee Subcommittee on Financial Institutions & Consumer Credit, Evan Hendricks, who has been qualified by the courts as an expert witness in the Fair Credit Reporting Act, stated, “In the FCRA, Congress declared, “There is a need to insure that consumer reporting agencies exercise their grave responsibilities with fairness, impartiality, and a respect for the consumer’s right to privacy.” Yet there have been instances in which CRAs, when confronted with their specific failures to ensure accuracy or correct inaccurate
disputed data, have argued that they are like “libraries” that passively receive data from creditors similar to the way in which libraries put books on the shelf without screening them. The reality is that the Big Three see their primary duty to faithfully put on consumers’ reports what creditors and debt collectors dictate – even when there is compelling evidence to the contrary”.
Well I had compelling evidence to the contrary that both Equifax and TransUnion agreed with – but not Experian!
Hendricks also said that the big Three, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, see their primary duty to faithfully put on consumers’ reports what creditors and debt collectors dictate, despite the FCRA’s requirement that they maintain “reasonable procedures for maximum possible accuracy.”! Again; I’m about to get medieval on Experian and you’ll see that happen in the Better Credit Blueprint Video Series.
Time To Call in the “Big Guns”
If Experian does not provide me with the source of that erroneously and incorrectly reported address, and I show proof through irrefutable evidence such as Driver’s License, County Tax Records, and Deed (which I already have) that I have never lived at that address, guess what Experian must do? DELETE!
If they don’t, now I can call in the “Big Guns”, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and you can too should you find yourself in a similar situation as me. But remember; first you have to go through the credit disputing process as I demonstrate in my free video series. Then, if the problem isn’t corrected, you should contact the consumer agency. When you do, you’ll be given a tracking number to check on the status of your complaint, and as part of the CFPB’s process, you’ll also have an opportunity to dispute the credit bureaus response to your complaint. LOVE IT!
Hey Credit Bureaus…Get Some!
Here’s the best part of the whole process; the CFPB says they expect consumer-reporting agencies to respond to complaints within 15 days and the response has to include steps they have taken, or plan to take, to correct any errors. I just got goose-bumps thinking about it!
The watchdog agency has just begun accepting individual complaints about credit bureaus and if Experian doesn’t get my dispute right, that’s my next call – maybe. Since I know I’m 100% unequivocally correct in my dispute, if they don’t get it right, I may just take them to small claims court and take their money – stay tuned!
We Have the Right to an Accurate Credit Report
Fact is, as Amateur Consumers, we all deserve an accurate report and the chance to easily dispute errors and get timely corrections made; plain and simple! This is why you need to learn how to perform a “Credit Audit & Verification” of your credit report. After all, credit reporting accuracy is first and foremost a consumer protection issue! Get educated and protect yourself!
Here’s how you can file a complaint against the credit bureaus; go online to www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint or call toll-free to 855-411-2372. You can also fax your complaint to 855-237-2392 or mail it directly to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau at; P.O. Box 4503, Iowa City, Iowa, 52244. Unlike the Credit Bureaus, this complaint can be expedited online!
What experiences have you had with disputing errors on your credit report? Is there a dispute you gave up on because you were tired of the runaround you got from the credit bureaus? If so, and you have correctly gone through the credit disputing process, what are you waiting for? Contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau today!