credit file dispute

How to Handle a Credit File Dispute

Q: I disputed wrong info in my credit file but i’m not satisfied with the results. What else can I do?

A: Anytime you dispute information in your credit files, and the issue is not resolved satisfactorily, you have several options:

1)      You can add a 100-word Consumer Statement to your credit file

2)      You can contact the creditor directly regarding the dispute

3)      You can file a complain with federal authorities

Options 2 and 3 May Be Your Best Bet

You don’t want to add a Consumer Statement to your file because it is completely ineffective in today’s credit environment and may actually be viewed negatively by future creditor grantors and others who will see your credit files.

Your second option, which forces you to go to the creditor with whom you have a dispute, seriously disadvantages you.

The credit bureaus essentially require that you ask your adversary to serve as the judge and jury in your case. Of course, this doesn’t preclude you from going to your creditors and negotiating with them or trying to prove your claim. But my point is simply this: whenever you are unsatisfied with the results of a credit bureau investigation, neither of the options supplied by the credit agencies gives you much leverage.

Taking Your Dispute to the Federal Government

Mark Kraynak, an expert on the Fair Credit Reporting Act and an attorney who specializes in consumer law, recommends that you use a file folder to keep track of your credit report disputes.

That folder should contain letters you’ve sent to credit furnishers and the bureaus, dispute forms, receipts, affidavits and copies of other relevant documents – all of which you may need in the event that something erroneous pops up again on your credit file. Kraynak operates a website called www.ruinedcredit.net and heads Mark E. Kraynak, P.C., which has offices in Atlanta and Denver.

How the Federal Trade Commission Can Help (At Least Indirectly)

For those dissatisfied with the results of a credit dispute, you actually do have another option other than the two offered by the credit bureaus. You can take your complaint to the Federal Trade Commission, the federal agency charged with enforcing compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

The Commission does track consumer complaints and looks into possible violations of the FCRA. According to the FTC’s website, it enters complaints from the public into “Consumer Sentinel,” a secure online database that is accessible to some 1,500 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in America and abroad.

While the FTC does not solve individual consumer complaints, all the complaints is does receive are examined to help the agency detect patterns of wrongdoing. This could ultimate lead to investigations and prosecutions for illegal acts. To file a complaint, in English or Spanish, call the FTC at 877-382-4357, or visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant at http://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov.

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