e-Oscar — Credit Bureaus Use to Handle Credit Disputes
Written by: Kristy Welsh
Last Updated: March 19, 2017
The e-Oscar method of investigating credit disputes may be the reason your credit dispute was verified as being accurate when you are positive a mistake has occurred. Credit reporting agencies (CRAs) have created an automated computerized system of dealing with credit disputes.
The e-Oscar (Online Solution for Complete and Accurate Reporting) system is utilized even when consumers send in detailed disputes, with supporting documents. The dispute is broken down into a two or three digit code and sent to the original creditor to verify a simple code, failing the duty to investigate.
What is e-Oscar?
In our Method of Verification article, we talked about the way that the credit bureaus investigate consumer disputes. This method involves the use of e-Oscar. We also learned a lot from the testimony of Leonard Bennett, Testimony Before Subcommittee on Financial Institutions And Consumer Credit of the COMMITTEE ON FINANCIAL SERVICES Regarding "Fair Credit Reporting Act: How it Functions for Consumers and the Economy."
From the e-Oscar website:
e-OSCAR is a web-based, Metro 2 compliant, automated system that enables Data Furnishers (DFs), and Credit Reporting Agencies (CRAs) to create and respond to consumer credit history disputes. CRAs include Equifax, Experian, Innovis and TransUnion, their affiliates or Independent Credit Bureaus and Mortgage Reporting Companies. e-Oscar also provides for DFs to send "out-of-cycle" credit history updates to CRAs.
The system primarily supports Automated Credit Dispute Verification (ACDV) and Automated Universal Dataform (AUD) processing as well as a number of related processes that handle registration, subscriber code management and reporting.
ACDVs initiated by a CRA on behalf of a consumer are routed to the appropriate Data Furnisher based on the CRA and subscriber code affiliations indicated by the DF. The ACDV is returned to the initiating CRA with updated information (if any) relating to the consumer's credit history. If an account is modified or deleted, carbon copies are sent to each CRA with whom the DF has a reporting relationship.
AUDs are initiated by the DF to process out-of-cycle credit history updates. The system is used to create the AUD and route it to the appropriate CRA(s) based on subscriber codes specified by the DF in the AUD record. The e-OSCAR AUD process is intended to provide the CRA with a correction to a consumer's file that must be handled outside of the regular activity reporting cycle process. e-Oscar may not be used to add or create a record on a consumer's file or as substitute for "in-cycle" reporting to the CRAs.
E-OSCAR help desk: (866) MY OSCAR or (866) 696-7227.
What is all that supposed to mean? We think they are a little acronym-happy in the explanation, what do you think? Think they are trying to hide what's really going on? Before we move on, here are a few terms you should know.
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- Information Furnisher. The people who put information about your credit accounts on your credit report. They send information about your credit card accounts, the number, when they were opened, and your payment history to the bureaus. Entities who are also considered information furnishers are collection agencies, the courts (judgments and bankruptcies), mortgage companies and any other type of credit companies.
- Automated Credit Dispute Verification. This is the what e-Oscar was invented for, a way to cut down on the work the credit bureaus consumer dispute process. Instead of calling the creditors themselves to check on information a consumer is disputed, it's done via a computer.
Problems with e-Oscar
Does it bother you that the description on the website makes it sound as if the companies supplying the information to the credit bureaus are the credit card companies, mortgage companies and collection agencies, original creditors or data furnisher? From the testimony of Leonard Bennett with the employees of TransUnion, this is not what really happens. Every dispute is reduced to a 2 character code and supporting documentation is NEVER sent to the information furnisher.
The investigators at the credit bureaus have a maximum of 4 minutes to determine what 2-digit code to reduce the dispute to send to e-oscar and through e-oscar, the information furnishers.
The Automated Universal Dataform (AUD) form is the form Equifax sends out for EVERY investigation, not just some of them. TransUnion and Experian send out forms that look basically the same (names are changed, layout is a bit different, etc.) I'm personally surprised that not many more people have initiated a class-action lawsuit over the way that the bureaus investigate. In Cushman v TransUnion, Stevenson v. TRW (Experian), and Richardson v. Fleet, Equifax, et al, the courts ruled each and every time that the CRA couldn't merely "parrot" information from the creditors and collection agencies...that they have to conduct an independent REASONABLE investigation to ensure the validity of the debt and the honesty/integrity of the creditor/CA in question.