The coronavirus pandemic has been a huge strain on the mental and physical health of Americans. When the global crisis hit, most people were already dealing with financial services companies that didn’t always follow the rules or who provided slow service when loan payments during this time were suspended by federal government orders. The CFPB’s annual report on consumer response signals how the pandemic caused a dip in credit score, as more people complained about inaccuracies. The dissonance between what was legislated to help consumers during this time and servicers reporting suspended payments is alarming.
Errors in forbearance programs for pandemic victims have been found on credit reports, with incorrect information about missed payments or deferments. Some of these errors started as early as March 2020 and are still applicable today, similar to the federal student loan program. When you find errors on your credit report, the FCRA is there to help! The Act gives consumers the right to dispute any incorrect information found by an organization and requires them to fix it. The FCRA is a law that protects your credit report. If you find any inaccurate information or have corrections, the Federal Trade Commission has laid out the following steps to take in order to get things fixed quickly and efficiently! If you want to know when the credit reporting company received your letter, or if there is an error in their report that needs fixing right away, consider sending it by certified mail with a return receipt requested. All three of the major companies also have online options for filing disputes and Credit Karma offers another convenient option: just file disputes directly through its platform!
Write a dispute letter to the credit reporting company
The information that you think is inaccurate on your credit report should be included in the dispute. Include copies of any documents that support your case as well, and explain why you disagree with it while also explicitly requesting to have it corrected.
A credit bureau is required to investigate any inaccuracies in your report within 30 days unless they consider them frivolous. If so, they are obligated to forward the information about the inaccuracy to whoever provided it such as a creditor or loan servicer. This organization must notify all three bureaus if there is disputed information found in their investigation.
Obtaining results from the credit bureaus investigation
Obtaining results from the credit bureaus investigation can be a difficult and lengthy process. If this is your first time filing an appeal, it will take up to 30 days for them to investigate your dispute with their findings in writing and another free copy of these reports if they are changed because of you.
Request notices of correction
If your dispute is successful and a change to your credit report takes place, you can request the credit reporting company that has made changes in order for them to send letters with corrections about anything that was ever wrong on it six months back or two years ago.
Request a statement of disagreement
If you are unsatisfied with how a credit reporting company resolves your dispute, be sure to request that the statement of disagreement is included on their file and future reports. This will show them that they have not resolved your issue in full and give you an opportunity for it to come up again later if necessary!
Inform the information provider with a dispute letter
In addition to following steps for informing credit reporting companies about incorrect information, be sure you inform them of your complaint that is found valid and required by law; all this will require an investigation process followed by updates from both parties on their findings. Image source: http://www.shutterstock.com
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