You found an inaccuracy on your Equifax, Experian, or Trans Union credit report. Maybe it's an account that does not belong to you (a mixed file or identity theft), payment history that is incorrect, or account history that is not accurate. Whatever the error is, the next step is to send a dispute to the credit reporting agency. When a credit reporting agency receives your dispute, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires it to conduct a “reasonable reinvestigation to determine whether the disputed information is accurate.”
But what happens when the credit reporting agency does not fix the inaccuracy following your dispute? There are several options:
- Send a second dispute to the credit reporting agency. A vague dispute is not helpful. A credit report dispute letter should include as much detail as possible. This can include sending documents along with your dispute. For example, proof of payment history, police reports for identity theft cases, and other documents or information that support your dispute. Sometimes you may not have documentation to add to your dispute. For example, if you are a victim of a file that is mixed with someone's else's file (i.e., a mixed file), there is not much documentation you can provide to prove that an account is not yours. In that case, your dispute needs to clearly explain why the information is inaccurate. For example, “I am the victim of a mixed file. The following accounts do not belong to me…”
- Contact the creditor directly. Send a dispute letter directly to the creditor. This letter should explain what is inaccurate and how it should be changed. It is important that your letter provide as much detail as possible, including documentation if possible.
- File a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The CFPB is the federal agency that oversees consumer complaints about credit reporting. You can submit a dispute online: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/
- Contact an experienced FCRA attorney. If you have having trouble getting a credit reporting agency to correct inaccurate or incomplete information on your credit report, the best option may be to contact an attorney. A lawyer can help assist you through the follow-up dispute steps described above, and, when necessary, file a lawsuit on your behalf. As part of that lawsuit you may be able to recover your damages for credit denials, out of pocket losses, the emotional aggravation of dealing with the credit dispute process, and any other damages you have suffered as a result of the inaccurate information appearing on your credit report.
The attorneys at Weiner & Sand provide free consultations for people who have questions about disputing information on their credit reports. We have nearly 30 years of combined experience litigating FCRA cases, and have recovered millions of dollars for our clients in FCRA lawsuits. Please reach out to us if you have questions or concerns about disputing items on your credit report, or filing a lawsuit due to a credit report error.