Traditional Disputes by Mail
Traditionally, consumers would make their credit reporting disputes by mail, on paper. Before the rise of the internet, this was the only real option. And the first round of online tools were not as flexible as paper disputes. Specifically, the credit bureaus initially made not provisions for submitting support documents and had only limited processes for tracking disputes. At the same time, consumers who wanted to dispute by mail, could retain photo copies of their disputes and send them by certified mail to be sure they arrived at the credit bureaus. With new online tools available, many consumers ask whether they can and should dispute online.
Other Ways to Dispute
In addition to receiving disputes by mail, the credit bureaus allow consumers to make disputes both electronically over the web and by telephone. The communication media that you use to submit your dispute is important for several reasons. First and foremost, most consumers have better things to do than draft multiple disputes to credit bureaus. So above all, consumers want their disputes to be effective in resolving any errors in their credit reports.
Second, because disputes reflect the consumer's belief that the credit bureaus have made a mistake, there is always the likelihood that the bureaus will not correct the error and a lawsuit will be necessary. As such, the dispute itself is likely to become evidence in a lawsuit. That means that the consumer will need to have that evidence available to give to their attorney and present to a court.
Third, while the thought of just picking up a phone or sending an online dispute sounds easier and faster that than drafting a letter with attached documents, this is not always the case. Many consumers have found telephone disputes to be frustrating because of long hold times, the inability to speak to the same representatives who they initiated their dispute with, and confusing interactive voice mail systems. The barriers can defeat the purpose of any savings of time and energy that would be gained by not having to write a letter. Similarly, the credit bureaus have put up substantial security barriers for online disputes. Specifically, they ask consumers to verify information from their credit report to gain online access. But, when the information used to verify the consumer's identity is the same information that is in dispute, consumers can find they are locked out of the system and cannot tender their disputes.
So, before you try making your dispute by phone or over the web, consumers should consider those issues to decide whether they can satisfy these goals with an online or telephone dispute.
Other Complications of Online Disputes
One of the primary problems with disputing online, is that the credit bureaus only provided limited access to your dispute materials. Most of the credit bureaus will only allow consumers to access and view their disputes and responses for a limited time, and after that time expires, the consumer cannot access that information on their own. This makes it very difficult to ask an attorney to review your specific situation. These same limitations also apply to your requests for credit file disclosures. So, if you are expecting that the documents in your account with a major credit bureau will be accessible long after your dispute, think again and read the terms of service. Chances are, you will not be able to access these documents indefinitely, even if those documents are still available to the credit bureaus.
In addition to the barriers put in place by the credit bureaus, many of the credit reporting agencies require consumers to navigate through a number of pop-up boxes before being able to access their credit file. These pop-up boxes often contain waivers of the consumer's rights, including your right to sue in a court with a jury.
These popup boxes may not provide an opportunity to meaningfully review the agreements or allow consumers to keep copies of any waivers. Because consumers cannot proceed with an electronic dispute without agreeing to these waivers, consumers should think twice about beginning this process.
Additionally, because consumers must dispute through a web interface, there is no guarantee that you will get a copy of the disputes or an acknowledgment of the supporting documentation that you have provided. As such, in the event of a law suit, you may not have all the information you need to bring that case to court.
Benefits of Mail
While the credit bureaus offer online and telephone access to the dispute process, most often mail is a better means of disputing. With paper disputes, consumers can retain an exact copy of what they sent and have proof that their dispute got to the place where it was sent, all without waiving rights. Even though electronic disputes promise quicker and more convenient error correction, the benefits of these disputes are not always worth the cost.
What Additional Resources Are Available?
- Want to see a list of the credit bureaus who keep data on you? Check out our Credit Bureau List.
- If you need help deciding which reports you need, you can read our article on Credit Reports to Order.
- Need help getting your credit report, see our article on How to Get Your Credit Report.
You may have a case under the Fair Credit Reporting Act if you notice the following things on your background report:
- Fraudulent identity theft accounts on your credit credit report.
- Someone else's Information on your credit report.
- Paid accounts still showing a balance due.
- Reporting your accounts in good standing as charged off or in collections.
- Discharged debts still reporting as owed.
- Paid tax lies showing as still owed.
- Derogatory accounts more than 7 years old still on your report.
- Previously deleted accounts that have been reinserted on your report.
- Duplicate reporting of the same account.
If you would like help with one of these problems, call (888) 400-CREDIT | (888) 400-2733 or contact us through this site.
How Much Are Your Fees?
We only charge a fee if we are able to recover for you, and The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires the other side to pay your attorney's fees if you win. You pay nothing up front and we take our fee from the other side.
Follow Up and Monitoring
After your case is done, we will help you to regularly check and monitor your background checks with free annual reviews of your background checks and credit reports to insure that you stay free of false conviction information.
Work with a Credit Report Attorney
If you have been the subject of an inaccurate credit report, you may have be able to seek a correction and compensation for any harm. Our firm can help. For more than 25 years, the attorneys of Lyngklip & Associates have represented victims of bogus credit reports credit reports and been a resource for Michigan consumers who need the help of an experienced lawyer.
To learn more or to schedule a free initial consultation with a credit report lawyer, contact our law firm today or call (888) 400-CREDIT | (888) 400-2733 or contact us through this site. In Michigan, you can reach our office at (248) 208-8864.