Holiday Season is the Best Time for Credit Repair
Last Updated: July 9, 2010
The three credit reporting agencies - Experian, Equifax and TransUnion - get overwhelmed during the holidays, specifically between Thanksgiving and New Year's. The reason is credit card companies flood the agencies with holiday "Instant Approval" applications to be processed with credit checks. Then throw in the fact a large number of staff at the bureaus, credit card companies, and collection agencies are using their vacation days during this time. This under staffing and overwhelming workload make it difficult to get all of the credit reports resolved during this time. The good new for consumers is that more negative accounts are deleted during this time than at any other time of the year.
Staffing at the Credit Bureaus in the Customer Service Areas Handles:
- Taking In and Logging Disputes
- Verifying Information
Taking in Disputes - The Call Center
Apparently, the attrition rate is VERY high in call centers, as is the "call off rate" (people calling in for personal time and sick time.) On an average day the call off rate is about 10-15%. If a customer service pool consists of 200 employees, this means that 20 people are absent. Often, the missing employee workload plus any additional high volume can be transferred to a third party vendor.
During the holidays, many employees want to spend their vacation with their families, and the call off rate is about 25%, or 40-50 missing employees. To give you an average rate of pay: Customer Service Reps $12.75 an hour plus bonuses every quarter, and company paid benefits (100%)
All credit bureau call centers are not just under the thumb of the FTC and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Their customer service must also follow federally mandated guidelines, the Average Speed of Answer or ASA. They can't just let the phones ring off the hook.
Credit Dispute Investigation
Like the call centers, the credit dispute investigation department has extremely high turnover and attrition, and they don't get the best candidates for the positions because they pay so poorly. The people doing the investigative work pay their staff even less than the call center people ($7-8 bucks an hour) and can't hold the ones they have. It's no wonder credit reports are all screwed up. Part of the problem seems to be training. The credit bureaus must abide by many different kinds of law and most people of the calibre they recruit aren't up to learning the details and technical information.
If a dispute is sent, and it seems knowledgeable as far as the FCRA, the dispute is sent to Special Handling. The employees in "special handling" are merely people that have been employed for a few years, not necessarily those with better (or any training).
Take Advantage of These High Absenteeism Rates!
Take the hypothetical situation that a Call Center Manager faces: a ton of investigations sitting in a system waiting for verification, as well as high call volumes and not enough people to handle them. Many times people are pulled from the investigation area to answer the phones, lest they get in trouble with the government for not keeping to the federally mandated ASA.
In the meantime, credit disputes are piling up, and the staff to handle them is diminished. Disputes are sitting there waiting, with very few people to work them. The FCRA states that if a credit bureau cannot verify information in a dispute, the information must be deleted. Many times the information is deleted just so the credit bureaus can stay within federal guidelines.
The bottom line is that from around the end of November until after the 1st of the year, productivity is at an all time low because they have staffing issues. This is the best time to send in your disputes. And to make it harder on them, we recommend you send in only one item at a time per letter.