Filing Disputes With Credit Agencies

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Credit Cards' started by HappyJim, Aug 27, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. HappyJim

    HappyJim Member

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    Hi All,

    I want to file a dispute with the Credit Agencies, but I want to do this by regular mail, not an online dispute. I think I know the basic contents of the dispute letter and there are several websites that provide examples.

    However, I don't know of an address to send the letter to. The Credit Agencies don't seem to have instructions for this on their website. I did a web search and found a few web pages, but they all list slightly different addresses. Does anyone know what the official address is for mailing disputes to the 3 credit report agencies?

    Also, the various web pages suggest enclosing a copy of my current report with the dispute letter. I have a report that contains all three agencies in one: Equifax, Experian, and Transunion. Can I send that 3-in-1 report, or do I actually have to request a single report from each agency and send that single report?

    Here's a summary of my question:
    • What physical address should I use for each Credit Agency?
    • Can I send the 3-in-1 report with each dispute letter to each agency
    Thanks
     
  2. Sweet Willie
    Original Member

    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    why not the online route? Far easier & faster resolution time.
    doubt it as more than likely each agency will require you to provide an individual credit report. Did you get your annual free individual reports from www.annualcreditreport.com ? (this is the 'official' free site)
     
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  3. HappyJim

    HappyJim Member

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    I tried the online dispute with Experian, but I was required to state my case in 120 characters or less. This isn't enough. I actually have documents from the source of the negative information that state I had fully paid the item in question (a State tax lien) and I want the Credit Agency to have that in front of them when they review.

    I did not get my report from www.annualcreitreport.com. Will they provide individual reports from each of the credit agencies?

    Thanks
     
  4. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    yes, that is the free authorized site that was set up years ago so each consumer can get 1 annual free copy of their credit report from EACH of the 3 credit bureaus.

    If I recall correctly, the online dispute feature when done via the website allows much greater than 120 characters. Also, you don't need to provide proof at this point when disputing. You say you paid the item in the dispute, it is up to the bureau in question to go to the creditor and verify the item was paid, the bureau has 30 days if I recall correctly to obtain this info from the creditor.
     
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  5. misterbwong

    misterbwong Silver Member

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    Oh man...dealing with the credit agencies is never fun-I wish you luck. Be prepared for some long wait times and confused agents.

    Sweet Willie is right that the credit agency and the creditor are the ones that need to work things out. To resolve our dispute, we talked with the creditor (the bank) and had them send a letter to the credit agencies saying that it was their mistake. The 120 char limit actually did cause problems when we did this, though. I believe only experian has this limit but it caused some unnecessary confusion with the dispute and the agencies put a fraud alert when it wasn't a fraud (just a bank mistake).
     
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  6. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    It's better that you do it via snail mail, imho. That way, if it's encoded wrong in their database, it's their fault and actionable. :)
     
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  7. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    I'm not understanding your point.

    A consumer disputes via snail or online, same dispute w/same bureau, what difference does it make on how one disputes?

    It doesn't matter if there is incorrect coding or incorrect data as if a consumer disputes online vrs snail, the bureau still has to check with the creditor either way, so same process is done whether disputed via snail mail or online.
     
  8. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    The reality is that some credit disputes will wind up in court. If they do, it's best if you've laid the best possible groundwork for yourself. That cannot come from an online dispute because the nuance isn't there.

    I'll give you a real-life example that took over two years to resolve.

    1) Someone (other than me) opened an account in my name.
    2) That account went to collections.
    3) When the collection agency realized I'd moved, they subcontracted to another collection agency near where I moved to, with the understanding that agency wouldn't report and the subcontract would be for a year.
    4) The 2nd agency reported anyway, for reasons relating to renting from a creepy dude and moving suddenly, I didn't forward my mail, and so I never knew about it.
    5) The first collection agency, when we went over it, realized they shouldn't be reporting, were horrified that, years later, the second agency, who had no right to report or collect, was still attempting to do both. They tried to intercede unsuccessfully. Additionally, I pointed out to them that the company who had been their client no longer was, so the chain of custody of the account was broken at the other end as well.
    6) I filed a complaint with the industry association (http://www.acainternational.org), who almost always sides with a collection agency -- but not in this case. The firm is still a member of that association. Surprise.
    7) I sent an intent to sue notice to collection agency, who marked "refused" on it with a smiley. (can't make this batman up)
    8) I filed a lawsuit against the 2nd collection agency in federal court.
    9) I submitted all the documentation to Experian, including a letter from the first collection agency, but Experian refused to remove. I could have sued them, but it's such a difficult thing to do and the side effects (locking your credit report) are horrific enough that I was saving that as my last resort.
    9) After several attempts at service and filing a report with the county DA for fraud, the item was removed from my credit report.
    10) At that point, I closed the lawsuit because that's all I really wanted. Anything else would have involved more time with obnoxious people.

    Moral of the story: you may have no idea how big a can of worms you've opened until it's too late, so it's best to do it in a way that keeps your options as open as possible.
     
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  9. Mapsmith
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    Mapsmith Gold Member

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    I am sure there are others with more experience.

    However, I remember reading somewhere, not sure where, that when dealing with a dispute with a Credit Reporting Agency, that they have to give you a complete report free of charge, so that you know everything that they do. (sorry for a run-on, run-on sentence.)
     
  10. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    point 9 is really all that matters here. What was the reason Experian gave to not remove?

    The process Experian (or the other two bureaus) would have been to verify your dispute with the agencies/creditor.

    And again, it wouldn't have mattered if you have disputed online or via snail mail as the dispute process is the same with either approach. I can understand "protecting yourself" but this is only neccessary after the bureau refueses to remove a valid dispute.
     
  11. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    Because the fraudulent collection agency said it was correct even when they (Experian) had the information (at their general counsel's) that it was not. This is typical, and no doubt I could have won had I filed suit against Experian.
     
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  12. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    wait, please clarify "This is typical", are you saying it is typical that a bureau has proof to settle a dispute & for some reason does not???????
     
  13. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    Yes, unless the reporter concurs that they reported incorrectly.

    I guess you haven't read the hundreds of lawsuit rulings I have.

    Experian's willful lack of due diligence doesn't matter if you can't show proof of damages. As an example.

    Therefore, since they know that the deck is stacked against the consumer and the typical lawsuit settlement is so small (or zero), they have no fear about being sloppy.
     
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  14. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    not to play statistician but I will in this instance, hundreds/even thousands of complaints is an amazingly small % of the consumers where things are working correctly. Given that ~94% of errors on a credit report are items that play NO ROLE in a credit score (i.e. incorrect place of employment, or address/phone) makes the the number of consumers who are having problems even smaller.

    Further Gov regulation is one of the largest fears of the bureaus, so to purposefully make themselves vulnerable to lawsuits & further Gov regulation doesn't make much business sense. Experian is also publically traded, so again, I can't imagine them doing anything to jeapordize their stock price.

    In no way am I trying to defend the credit bureaus as they have made things tough on the consumer for a long time, FACTA helped immensely but clearly there are still a ways to go.
     

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