Failing to provide evidence to prove that an error is real and that actual harm has been caused can result in losing disputes with credit bureaus about inaccuracies on credit reports. It is common for credit bureaus to “lose” or overlook information submitted in disputes, so saving items like financial documentation, certified mail receipts and copies of correspondence can help prove that errors exist and that the proper steps have been taken to attempt to correct the mistakes.
The Importance of Supporting Evidence
Supporting evidence including letters from creditors, copies of certified mail receipts, bank transfers, canceled checks, etc. establishes that creditors were paid, that the information contained in a credit report is erroneous, or that attempts to correct a mistake with the credit bureau have gone unattended.
However, merely submitting this evidence to Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion is often not enough because credit bureaus utilize data furnishers to review disputes and make a determination. According to reports from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the credit bureaus fail to forward supporting evidence to data furnishers who are responsible for reviewing approximately 85% of disputes.
The evidence that establishes a creditor’s payment history and proves the existence of errors is often overlooked. Creditors who do not maintain copies of their records risk having the proof lost in the shuffle. Since approximately 79% of credit reports contain errors, this can have a significantly negative impact on credit scores for a large number of consumers.
Documentation is Crucial
Disputing errors on a credit report can be a time-consuming affair. Thus, it is necessary to maintain records of all contact with creditors and the credit bureaus. The more thorough and accurate the records, the greater the likelihood of prevailing in the dispute. Consumers should dispute the error with both the creditor and the credit bureaus and keep detailed records of phone calls including dates, times, and people that were spoken with. Whenever possible, it is best to have the communication in writing.
Finally, it is critical that individuals adhere to the terms of service and carefully read any documents they may be asked to sign. Many credit bureaus require consumers to submit to arbitration when disputes arise and this can limit their ability to pursue claims against the credit bureaus for failing to thoroughly investigate a dispute.