Credit Report Errors – What Happens When I Dispute Errors?

In this video we explain what happens “behind the scenes” when you dispute an item on your credit report.

There are all these different companies like Equifax, Experian, TransUnion, Innovis and ChoicePoint. We’re often asked, “When I make a dispute to them, what happens at that point?”

From the outside, all we see is we make a dispute to a credit bureau and usually about 30 days later we get the results of the investigation back. It will say whether the credit bureau is keeping, updating or deleting the account.

Here’s what goes on kind of behind the scenes when that dispute hits the credit bureau.
We never recommend doing it online. When you do it online it automatically gets turned into a two-digit code. That might be, “It’s not my account,” or “It was included in bankruptcy or identity theft.” If you send a letter, then somebody will read that letter and convert it into a two-digit code. Then that code is sent to the furnisher. The furnisher is asked to investigate. Normally any document you include to the credit bureau will not be sent to the furnisher.

Let me just back up a step. When you send that letter, normally all of the letter and attachments are scanned in and sent overseas to some outsource place. Then you have somebody that will read that stuff. They typically have about two or three minutes to do this.

In a lot of countries, the company that actually employs the person that’s doing the investigating will be paid about 25 cents for your dispute. Even if you have four or five items on your credit report you’re disputing, if you send it in one letter, they get paid 25 cents.

You have somebody overseas that will turn your letter and all the attachments, and you may have sent 50 pages of attachments, into a two-digit code. That’s sent electronically to the furnisher.

Somebody there at the furnisher at the creditor gets that on their computer. They have a couple of minutes to make an investigation, if we can call it an investigation. They’re normally not allowed to do research on the internet, or to call you or call anybody else. They look at that and then they send a response back to the credit bureau. That generates a form that is sent out to you.

The credit bureaus really are just trying to take all your information and narrow it down to an electronic code. They say, “That’s the extent of our investigation.” They’ll just repeat back whatever the furnisher or creditor tells them to do. Remember, that’s their customer.

You can also read our FAQ on credit report errors and the Fair Credit Reporting Act here — 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
205-879-2447

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