Errors on credit reports can do a real number on your credit scores. And compounding the problem for many consumers is the arduous process when disputing credit errors. Many consumers emerge from the process frustrated and confused.
But recent changes by the three national credit reporting agencies should give consumers some relief when disputing incorrect information. TransUnion®, Equifax® and Experian® have made addressing credit report errors less convoluted and more consumer-friendly. These changes are aimed at helping consumers navigate the dispute process and understand the bureaus’ dispute investigation findings.
Today, when informing consumers about the results of an investigation, the credit bureaus must provide a standardized notice that details (1) the actions that were taken as a result of the dispute, (2) information regarding how to contact the data furnisher(s) involved in the dispute, (3) the dispute results, and (4) the options available to the consumer, including the right to re-dispute with supporting documents if the investigation was not completed to the consumer’s satisfaction.
The dispute process has been reformed in four significant ways. The changes include:
- Dispute Procedure Change: When a consumer submits a dispute with supporting documentation AND the creditor or collector verifies the account without making changes, the bureau must review the documentation and make changes if warranted.
- Escalated Disputes: The credit bureaus must implement processes to escalate special disputes (i.e., identity theft, mixed files, etc.). The bureaus are prohibited from instituting any policy that discourages the escalation of these special disputes.
- Refusing Disputes: The credit bureaus can no longer refuse a consumer’s dispute simply because they do not have a copy of a recent credit report – and are prohibited from leading consumers to believe that a recent credit report is required to submit a dispute.
- Rejecting Multiple Disputes: The credit bureaus will no longer systematically reject disputes filed within three years of each other. However, there are exceptions to this reporting change. If the dispute comes through a credit repair company using an illegal tactic known as “jamming,” it will be rejected. And it’s worth noting that in some cases, you may be required to provide supporting documentation to submit the second dispute.
Addressing errors on your credit reports is a key part of maintaining a healthy credit profile. Left unattended, some errors can have a negative impact on your scores.