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Dispute Strategies

Avoiding Frivolous Disputes

The credit bureaus are required by law to investigate a dispute unless they consider your request frivolous. If a credit bureau does determine that your request is frivolous, they are required to notify you within five business days and:

  1. Tell you why your request is considered frivolous, and
  2. Explain what you can do to convert the frivolous dispute into a legitimate request that will result in an investigation.

If you send a laundry list of disputes to the credit bureau, it can appear that your strategy is simply to dispute all the negatives on your report, which isn't the intended purpose of the dispute process. The dispute process established by the FCRA is intended to update or remove inaccurate or outdated information from your credit report. If you dispute every negative entry at once, it looks like you are just trying to remove negatives from your report, regardless of whether they are valid or not. However, the FCRA states that the credit bureaus can deny your requests for this very reason!

To avoid the appearance of making frivolous requests, include one to three disputes per request letter, and space out your requests over six to eight weeks. This way you will stay under their "frivolous dispute" radar.

If you need to dispute an account that has already been investigated and verified, you must dispute the account for a different reason. For example, if your initial request disputed the high credit amount on a specific account, your next request might dispute the amount past due on that account. Remember to always supply supporting documentation if you have it.

TIP: Often waiting 3 months or so before submitting another dispute on a tradeline already verified is enough to have another investigation performed. Requests deemed frivolous will come back as "previously verified."

If they continue to deny your valid reinvestigation requests, you may threaten to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and with their state's Attorney General. If it comes to this, see the section below on What to Do if the Credit Reporting Agency is Unresponsive for further instructions.

> Avoiding the Credit Bureau's Automated System