Credit report repair is commonly referred to as the process of disputing negative items in a credit report. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, consumers have the right to request an investigation with the credit bureaus for any item on their credit report. The credit bureaus and the original furnisher of the information must investigate the claim within 30 days and report their results back to consumers.
It’s important to point out that the credit bureaus are for-profit organizations and possess no government affiliation. They profit off the sale of your private information and from selling your information to you. Only after the Federal Trade Commission came up with a set of regulations passed in 2003 were consumers able to receive one free credit report a year.
The FCRA also had to regulate how long negative information, such as late payments, bankruptcies, tax liens or judgments may stay on a consumer’s credit report. It’s typically seven years from the date of the delinquency. The exceptions: bankruptcies (10 years) and tax liens (seven years from the time they are paid). Unpaid tax liens can remain for up to 15 years. Although, 7 to 10 years is a long time to stay on a report, the credit bureaus would report it for much longer, if not forever, if it weren’t for the FTC stepping in.
When a consumer makes a dispute with the credit bureaus, the credit bureaus do not interact with information providers (typically creditors) directly. They use a system called E-Oscar. E-Oscar is an automated consumer dispute verification process. The credit bureaus demand that everyone who provides information to them be on this system. If you don’t get on the system, you CAN NOT provide information to a credit bureau.
The E-Oscar system allows credit grantors to resolve disputes in a timely manner; however the results are commonly inaccurate. In fact, a study by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group found that 79% of all credit reports contained errors. With E-Oscar the credit bureaus NEVER send the original creditor the information you provide them. Instead, an employee scans your letter along with hundreds of others.
The employee is given a very short amount of time to figure out what you are trying to dispute and then gives your dispute a code. It is then verified with E-Oscar. Any documentation that you sent which proves the information is erroneous or any information that you provided simply gets filed away, incase you should sue them. It’s rarely ever even looked at.
Under ? 602 of the Act, (15 U.S.C. ? 1681), a consumer may seek a maximum of $1000 in statutory damages, plus actual damages, punitive damages and reasonable attorney’s fees and costs for willful noncompliance with the FCRA. Any consumer may file suit in state or federal court to enforce the FCRA. Consumer lawsuits against credit bureaus are becoming more and more common and most of the time the consumer wins. Unfortunately, a lawsuit is what it takes to get issues solved with the credit bureaus.