Q. I have an account on my credit report that shows as an unpaid collection, but I have proof that the account is in fact paid, and never went to collection. However, I’ve heard that if you send in documentation to a credit bureau, they don’t pass it along to the creditor or otherwise ignore it. Should I send it in any ways?
A. Yes, definitely send it in. According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the credit bureaus are obligated to pass along the information to the information furnishers. Information Furnisher is an industry term that refers to anyone who is reporting on your credit report.
In 2011, the all 3 credit bureaus combined received approximately 8 million consumer contacts disputing the completeness or accuracy of one or more trade lines, public records, or credit header information (identification information) in their files. These disputes were received via phone, fax, mail or in person.
What you may have heard is that most disputes are handled through an electronic system called eOscar and eOscar does not have a way to include documents sent along by the consumer. This is true, as reported by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CPFB) in December of 2012. In this report, the CFPB found that 85% of disputes were handled by eOscar in 2011, and that indeed, no documents were sent along with these disputes.
Of the 15% that were not sent through eOscar, some of these disputes were handled internally. In some cases, items were removed or updated due to the fact that the documentation could reasonably be determined authentic. If your documentation is good enough, it may actually be read and evaluated by human eyes and the account updated the way you desire.
If your dispute is still not resolved to your satisfaction, you can send a copy of the documentation directly to the information furnisher, who must respond to your dispute within the same time frame as if it were going through a credit bureau (30 days). In this way, if the information furnisher didn’t see your documentation the first time, you can make sure they see it the second time.
Make sure you send your disputes in the mail, certified, return receipt requested. If they cannot resolve the matter wihthin 30 days, they must delete the information from your credit report. Sending your dispute certified keeps a credit bureau or information furnisher honest and timely.
To read the complete CFPB report (it is very interesting!), you can access it online here: http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201212_cfpb_credit-reporting-white-paper.pdf.