When credit bureaus and creditors fail to comply with disputes

September 18, 2012 | By

This information applies to inaccurate bad credit reporting only; it doesn’t apply to disputing accurate bad credit.

Dealing with non-compliant credit bureaus and furnishers who report inaccurate bad credit.

So, you’ve already sent multiple letters using BestCredit credit repair methods, and can’t get anywhere with the faulty reporting. What now? It all starts with the furnisher, but it must be backed up with a paper trail of disputes with both the credit bureau and the furnisher of the information.

If you’ve exhausted your efforts with credit reporting agencies and furnishers.

If you can’t get the furnisher to agree by phone to remove the data, wait 14 days. If the furnisher either responds in the negative or doesn’t respond at all to your written letter within 14 days, send another letter, this one mentioning that the furnisher is in violation of the FCRA. If you’re so inclined, this second letter can state that you will take legal action for a FCRA breach if that’s your plan. (Personally, I wouldn’t make this threat if I didn’t intend to follow through with legal action, but what you do is your business, of course.) Wait another 14 days, and then check any report(s) affected.

If the furnisher has not removed the offending data after two passes and the bureau fails to remove it in accordance with the FCRA reinvestigation requirements (usually within 30 days of receiving your dispute), send a second dispute letter to the bureaus reiterating how the inaccurate bad credit information is hurting you. Demand that the results of the reinvestigation are provided to you within 15 days, as required by FCRA. (Again, I always state that I’ll take legal action and then follow through if the bureau doesn’t remove it.) If the inaccurate information remains on your report after you have contacted the furnisher and the bureaus twice, you can do one of the following: (1) continue to battle with the furnisher and the bureaus using letters, (2) file a lawsuit for money damages, or (3) file a declaratory judgment lawsuit to get the entry deleted. You are not required to suffer actual damages in order to obtain punitive money damages for willful failure to comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Yet if you can show that you were adversely affected in terms of any credit extension or that the inaccurate reporting affected your emotional well-being, it will strengthen your claim.If the information caused you to be denied credit or affected your interest rates on a home or auto loan, get letters to that effect from the lender(s). If the interest rates were affected, make sure any letter specifies to what extent.

If you’re masochistic and opt to continue to punish yourself by battling using letters, ask for a “re­investigation.” Again, indicate how the bad credit information is hurting you.

While each of these three courses of action may seem unattractive, the good thing is that there are legal remedies available. If it were me, I’d sue the bastards. Only when consumers begin to hold them accountable will they change their ways.

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5. A seasoned FCRA attorney once explained that creditors and bureaus alike will fight any lawsuit, taking it to trial, if the consumer didn’t experience a denial of credit resulting from the entry. It’s better to have a loan denial letter, thereby avoiding trial and obtaining a good settlement offer.

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