What to do if your dispute to the credit bureau does not solve the problem?
In a prior post I explain how to fix errors in your credit report. Say you did what I suggested in the hypothetical scenario, that is, you disputed with the credit bureau (carbon copy to ABC Bank) that is reporting the wrong information about your mortgage. Unfortunately, the bureau’s response is that it “verified” the wrong information with ABC Bank. What do you do next?
Assuming the quality of your dispute was sufficient (and we lawyers reserve the right to make that determination), you now can sue both the credit bureau (Equifax) and ABC Bank. But, do you really want to file a lawsuit at this point? It depends on how pressing your need to fix the problem is. If, for example, you don’t have the imminent need to obtain credit, insurance or employment, then give the credit bureau and the bank another chance to fix the problem. Did you hear that? A litigation lawyer telling someone not to sue!
Dispute the error again. This time consider swearing under penalty of perjury, that the information in your dispute is true, and notarize the dispute so that the bank and the bureau know that this is not a frivolous attempt to repair bad credit. Explain in your dispute that this is the second (or third, fourth, fifth, whatever) time you are disputing. If you now have some additional information, for example, the name and number of ABC Bank personnel you have dealt with for the refinancing, or a copy of the satisfaction of the mortgage, include it. Make sure you let them know that you are prepared to cooperate with the bureau to solve the problem. Consider including all of the phone numbers at which you may be reached and give the bureau your email address. The idea is to make it easy for the bureau and the bank to do their job investigating and correcting the problem.
In a rush
What if you need to fix the problem as soon as possible? Then you may want to contact a consumer lawyer that handles Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) cases. Again, assuming your dispute was adequate, the lawyer will be able to file a lawsuit against the bank and the credit bureau to correct the misreporting of the debt.
Many consumers feel that lawyers are expensive, so they refrain from contacting a lawyer with these sorts of problems. Fear not; the attorney’s fee for this type of work should be $0.00. That’s right, zero, zilch, nada. This is because the FCRA specifically says that if you win your case, the bank or the bureau will pay your lawyer’s fees and costs. This gives lawyers an incentive to take on these cases, especially from people who cannot afford to pay them a reasonable (or in the eyes of many, an outrageous) fee.