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Dispute Strategies

What to Do if the Credit Reporting Agency is Unresponsive

If you have appropriately and diligently disputed an item and the credit bureau fails to notify you of the results of a dispute, re-investigate a dispute, or remove negative information from your file that was confirmed to be inaccurate, incomplete, or outdated, there are steps you can take and resources you can use to deal with the problem.

If the credit bureau fails to remove or correct the inaccurate, outdated, or unverifiable information within 30 days (you should receive investigation results within 37 days of their receipt of your dispute), you should send the letter Credit Bureau Failure to Respond in 37 Days found in the Resource Library.

As you can see, this letter is not a request for re-investigation, but a demand that they remove the negative from your report due to their failure to respond in a timely or appropriate manner. It gives them 30 days to comply or else you will file complaints with the Federal Trade Commission, their state's Attorney General, and you will pursue legal action.

You can file a complaint online with the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov. After filing the complaint you will get a dispute number. Next, send a formal letter of complaint to the Federal Trade Commission along with copies of evidence that the bureau failed to respond to your dispute, yet is still reporting the disputed item.

Federal Trade Commission
Consumer Response Center
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20580
Telephone: 877.382.4357

You should receive a response from the Federal Trade Commission within 15 to 30 days. If the FTC findings favor your position, send another letter to the bureau demanding that the item be removed along with a copy of the FTC letter.

If that still doesn't do the trick, you might consider getting legal representation and actually suing. The law allows you to recover attorney's costs and legal fees as well as any excess interest you paid creditors based on increased interest rates caused by the negative information remaining in your file. You may also recover punitive damages if the court finds the credit bureau acted willfully and intentionally in not correcting or removing the negative information.

To locate an attorney experienced in consumer credit issues, check out the National Association of Consumer Advocates at www.naca.net, or click here for a free consultation.

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