Credit disputes

Correcting inaccurate or incomplete information on your credit report can be a daunting task. The communications you receive from the involved companies may be unclear, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has found that some companies have not handled consumer disputes in accordance with the law.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act outlines how credit reporting disputes should be addressed, with certain requirements applying to furnishers. Furnishers are entities like banks, mortgage lenders, and credit card issuers that provide information included in credit reports.

Under federal law, if a consumer disputes the accuracy of information directly with the furnisher that supplied it to credit reporting companies, the furnisher must conduct a reasonable investigation into the dispute. Following this investigation, the furnisher must inform the consumer of the investigation results, typically within 30 days.

Recent examinations by the CFPB revealed that credit card furnishers were issuing unclear notices to consumers following dispute investigations. In some instances, these notices failed to disclose the outcome of the investigation or whether the furnisher intended to correct the disputed information with credit reporting companies. Consequently, consumers were left unaware of the resolution status.

Upon identifying these issues during examinations of certain credit card furnishers, revisions were made to their notices. The updated notices are now more specific and explicitly communicate whether changes were made to the disputed account as a result of the investigation.

If you have lodged a dispute directly with a furnisher, the response you receive should include:

  • Identification of the disputed account
  • Confirmation that the dispute has been investigated
  • Confirmation that the dispute investigation is complete
  • Explanation of the investigation results

If the furnisher’s investigation verifies the disputed information as accurate, the notice should clearly state so. If the investigation concludes that the information is inaccurate or unverifiable, the notice should indicate this and outline any corrections the furnisher is submitting to credit reporting companies to rectify the inaccuracy.

If you receive a notice from a furnisher that does not meet these requirements or if you are still unsure about the actions taken regarding your account, you can file a complaint with the CFPB online or by calling (855) 411-CFPB (2372).

Additionally, if you haven’t already, you should also file a dispute with the credit reporting companies. Certain additional rights apply when disputing directly with credit reporting companies, and you can find more information on the CFPB website, including detailed instructions and contact information for submitting disputes. The website also offers guidance on what to do if your credit dispute is disregarded or if you disagree with the dispute’s outcome.

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