You must dispute directly to the credit bureaus or credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union in order to trigger liability and responsibility on the part of the furnisher or creditor.
When I say credit bureaus, I mean Equifax, Experian, TransUnion and Innovis. There are a whole host of credit bureaus, but those are the main ones.
“Why do I need to go directly to them, rather than just sending a letter to Discover Card or to the debt buyer like Asset Acceptance or Midland Funding?”
The reason is the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The Fair Credit Reporting Act imposes obligations on both credit bureaus, the Equifaxes of the world, and also on the furnishers like Chase, Citibank, Midland Funding, Unifund and those types of people.
To have liability where you can actually sue under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you have to go directly to the credit bureau. It may not make sense to us, and really it’s just a political accommodation when the laws were being passed, but you have to go through that sort of filtering mechanism.
You go to the credit bureau. Then the credit bureau sends the dispute, or at least information about the dispute, to the furnisher and says, “Hey guys, what do you want to do?”
The furnisher has an obligation to investigate, and the credit bureau has an obligation to investigate. They both have independent obligations.
When we sue them, they always like to point the finger at each other. The credit bureau says, “The furnisher gave us bad information.” The furnisher says, “The credit bureau didn’t tell us about the dispute.” They like to blame each other. That’s fine. We don’t care. We love it when defendants in a trial are pointing the finger at each other.
Just remember that you need to go directly to the credit bureaus. You can also send a letter directly to the furnishers. That’s a good practice, but make sure you dispute directly to the credit bureaus. Tell them why this is a problem, and give them any supporting information.
We’ll go over this in more detail in another video, but I wanted to answer that question of, “Why do we go to the credit bureaus directly?” It’s because that’s the only way to ensure that you have a valid Fair Credit Reporting Act lawsuit claim against the furnisher.
Here are the frequently asked questions on credit report errors – http://www.alabamaconsumer.com/CM/Custom/FAQs-about-Fair-Credit-Reporting.asp
If you have any questions about what we’ve talked about in this video, feel free to call us at 1-205-879-2447.
Thanks for watching!
John G. Watts
Watts & Herring, LLC
Serving consumers across Alabama
“No representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.”