How to Follow-up After Disputing Information in Your Credit Reports
Unless there is clear and convincing evidence to the contrary, Credit Reporting Agencies are required to assume that all disputes are bona fide and must investigate the dispute according to the The Fair Credit Reporting Act USC, Title 15, Chapter 41, Subchapter III, Section 1681i, "Procedure in case of disputed accuracy”.
In some cases, Credit Reporting Agencies are slow to respond to your dispute. If this happens, send another letter strongly reminding the credit bureau of its obligation under the law.
Credit Reporting Agency’s Legal Obligations
It may be helpful to understand their obligations when you dispute your credit reports. They must:
- Investigate your dispute;
- Inform you of the investigation’s results; and
- Provide a Free updated copy of your credit report.
After receiving your dispute letter, credit reporting agencies are obligated to investigate your complaint AND this obligation is NOT contingent upon you having been denied credit. About 10 days after submitting your dispute you'll receive a letter informing you that they are investigating your dispute.
Note: The above letter may contain a warning of dire consequences “if your request is determined to be frivolous” and that “you've violated federal laws" and "can be held liable”. If you've followed my instructions, you can ignore this warning!
Expect to receive another letter around the 30 day point informing you of the results of their investigation. If they changed any information that you disputed, they must also provide you with an updated credit report – Free of charge!
Filing a Formal Complaint with FTC
Should the credit reporting agencies continue to ignore you, follow up with a written notice that you intend to file a formal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Notice of Intent to File FTC Complaint Letter
Be prepared to contact the FTC to file your formal complaint. If you still do not receive a response within 15 days, file a formal complaint and consider retaining an attorney, as willful failure to comply with the law may subject the Credit Reporting Agency to civil liability.
There are three ways you can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission's Consumer Response Center:
Phone: toll-free 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357)
Federal Trade Commission
CRC-240 Washington, D.C. 20580
Electronically: using their Online Complaint Form
NOTE: The FTC does not resolve individual consumer disputes but rather it gathers complaints, comments, and inquiries to spot patterns of law violations so they can involve law enforcement action. Your complaint also helps them recognize and tell people about larger trends affecting consumers.
Completing the Credit Report Dispute Process
Continue disputing items until each and every questionable item has been corrected or deleted from your credit report! This process may take a few weeks to over a year depending on the number of errors in your report but the effort is definitely worth it!
When you've completed the process you should have two very important things:
- Corrected copies of your credit reports - supplied FREE!
- An accurate high-scoring credit report!