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How to Track Disputed Items

How to Track Disputed Items

How to Track Disputed Items

Have you submitted your credit dispute and you are waiting for a response? Are your wondering how you can track the progress of your complaint? If Yes is the answer to the above questions, then you are in the right place. Your data is a valuable asset. By submitting a credit report dispute, you’ve taken steps to actively manage your credit report. A dispute investigation is typically completed within 30 days but can take up to 45 days if additional information is required or supplied.

During that time, we may reach out to your lender with the details of your dispute and any relevant supporting documents you provided. If your lender confirms the information you’re disputing is inaccurate, we’ll revise or delete the information from your credit report. No change will be made if the lender verifies that the information is accurate.

  • How do I Check The Status of my Dispute?
  • How Long Does a Disputed Collection Take?
  • How Long Does it Take to Dispute an Item on a Credit Report?
  • Do Disputed Items Show Credit Report?
  • How do I Know if my Credit Dispute Was Approved?
  • What Happens to The Merchant When You Dispute a Charge?
  • Does Disputing a Collection Hurt Your Credit?
  • Why is my Credit Dispute Taking so Long?
  • What is The Fastest Way to Dispute Credit Report?

How do I Check The Status of my Dispute?

If you submitted your dispute online with TransUnion for example, you can log in to your TransUnion Service Center account to see the status of your dispute at any time. When completed, TransUnion will send you an email to let you know your dispute results are ready. Then, you can log in to see your investigation results along with the revised copy of your TransUnion credit report.

Read Also: How to Write Dispute Letters That Work

Dispute investigations may take up to 30 days to complete. If you initiated your dispute request online and received a confirmation number, we will periodically email you the status until we’ve completed the investigation. You can also log into your myEquifax account and view your status by clicking the “check status of a dispute” button.

If you are checking your status by mail or phone, please make sure you have the confirmation number that was provided to you when you submitted your dispute.  

If you disputed information by phone, you have the option to receive the results via email or U.S. mail. If you disputed information by mail, we will send you the results of the investigation via U.S. mail.  

How Long Does a Disputed Collection Take?

When you default on a debt obligation, your original creditor will sometimes sell your debt to a debt collector or collection agency. Once your debt ends up in collections, this negative information is usually reported to the three major credit bureaus—Experian, Transunion and Equifax—and damages your credit score.

After a certain period of time, a collection account must be taken off of your report. If you want to remove it sooner or believe it’s an error, you can take several actions to try and remove it from your credit report.

Paid or unpaid collection accounts can legally stay on your credit reports for up to seven years after the original account first became delinquent. Once the collection account reaches the seven-year mark, the credit reporting companies should automatically delete it from your credit reports.

If your collection account doesn’t fall off of your credit report after seven years, you can file a dispute with each credit bureau that lists it on your report.

Since payment history accounts for 35% of your FICO score, your score might build if a collection account is removed. However, how much it increases will depend on other items listed in your credit report. For example, if this negative account is the only one listed on your credit report, removing it could boost your score more than if you had several other collection accounts on your report.

How Long Does it Take to Dispute an Item on a Credit Report?

Consumer reporting agencies have 5 business days after completing an investigation to notify you of the results. Generally, they must investigate the dispute within 30 days of receiving it.

However, it has 45 days to investigate if you dispute after receiving your free annual credit report. Also, if you submit additional information relevant to your dispute during the 30-day investigation period, it can extend the investigation period for 15 additional days.

You will also receive a copy of your updated credit report.  This free report does not count as your annual free report.  Please note that if a company provides the wrong information to a credit reporting company and then corrects your credit report as a result of your dispute, it has a duty to forward the correction to every credit reporting company to which it has provided the incorrect information.

Do Disputed Items Show Credit Report?

While disputed information is being reviewed by a credit bureau, it is not typically labeled as disputed on your credit report. And each of the three credit bureaus has their own process for dealing with disputes. They all reach out to the creditor or entity that provided the information in dispute as part of the investigation.

Experian disputes

When you file a credit dispute with Experian, the agency reaches out to the entity that provided the information. Typically, that’s the creditor.

The business that provided the information in question has 30-45 days from the date you submitted your request to respond back. In some states, the time limit may be shorter.

When Experian receives a response, it notifies you of the results of the investigation. If it doesn’t get a response in the allotted time, Experian will correct the disputed information as you requested or delete the disputed information. During the investigation process, Experian does not add a comment, note or any other indication of a dispute on your credit report.

TransUnion dispute

TransUnion also follows up with the entity that reported the information. Based on the information you provided and the information provided by the creditor, the bureau makes a decision about the dispute.

How long does a dispute take with TransUnion? TransUnion usually finishes an investigation and provides you the results about 30 days from the receipt of your dispute. But the company recommends preparing to wait for up to 45 days.

TransUnion does not note your credit file when an investigation is in process. It will change the disputed information as you requested if the creditor does not respond in a timely manner.

Equifax disputes

Equifax notifies you of the results of a dispute within 30 days. On average, disputes are resolved within 10 days.

Unlike the other two agencies, Equifax does indicate an item is under dispute on your credit report during the investigation.

On Equifax reports, the item will be “noted as ‘Consumer Disputes—Reinvestigation in Process” says Meredith Griffanti, senior director of public relations for Equifax. “If the consumer applies for credit during this time, the potential creditor will see this comment.”

How do I know if my Credit Dispute Was Approved?

If you file a dispute to correct what you believe is an inaccuracy on your credit report, the credit bureau you notify must complete an investigation within 30 days (or 45 days in certain circumstances), according to the U.S. Fair Credit Reporting Act. But most disputes are resolved more quickly than that.

The exact amount of time needed to resolve a dispute depends on the nature of the information in question, and how quickly the information furnisher—the lender or other company that supplied the data to the credit bureau—responds to requests to verify the disputed information.

  • If the item you are disputing is not a credit item but rather a name or address misspelling, a typo in your Social Security number, or other identifying information you can document yourself, your credit report(s) may be updated within a week.
  • If the information concerns your payment history and requires verification by a third-party information furnisher, the credit bureau must notify the furnisher within five days of receiving your dispute, and the furnisher must respond quickly enough to allow the credit bureau to meet the 30-day investigation requirement.
  • If you submit additional backup documentation to the credit bureau after your dispute has been submitted, the FCRA extends the investigation-completion deadline by 15 days, making the maximum turnaround 45 days, or about six weeks.

If you discover inaccurate information on your Experian credit report, you can file a dispute quickly and easily online or by mail. (The other national credit bureaus, TransUnion and Equifax, have comparable dispute procedures of their own.)

When you dispute credit report information by mail, you’ll be asked to provide proof of identity, such as a copy of your photo ID and proof of address. Depending on the nature of the dispute, you may also wish to provide evidence of the inaccuracy, such as a copy of a statement or canceled check as evidence of on-time payment. The Experian Dispute Center allows you to upload scanned documents electronically; you also can submit copies through the mail.

It’s wise to dispute information that misstates your credit history, including but not limited to payments inaccurately reported as missed or late, or loans or other accounts reported as still open when you’ve paid them off or closed them.

It’s also important to notify the credit bureaus (and the proper authorities) if you see listings for loans or credit card accounts you didn’t request or open, which could be indications of credit fraud or identity theft. When reviewing your credit report, keep in mind that one or more of your creditors may go by a different name or acronym on your report than what you see on your account statement. Double-check to make sure the creditor listed is not one of your existing accounts.

Because credit scores are calculated using data from your credit reports, eliminating inaccuracies from your report can affect your credit scores. Eliminating inaccurate late or missing payments could mean a significant boost for your scores. It’s always to your benefit, in the long run, to have your credit report accurately reflect your credit usage and activity.

What Happens to The Merchant When You Dispute a Charge?

If you paid for an item but never received it, or it arrived damaged, you may be frustrated and want your money back, justifiably. As a result, you may try to dispute it with your credit card issuer through the process of a chargeback. Chargebacks are different from refunds, but both can result in you receiving credit for an order that went wrong or a fraudulent charge on your account.

Chargebacks are a consumer protection tool that allow consumers to get their money back for fraudulent charges or purchases that don’t live up to standards by submitting a dispute with their card issuer.

If you notice a transaction on your credit card account that doesn’t look familiar or run into issues with a recent order, you may want to (and should) dispute the transaction. Generally, you’ll have two options when disputing a transaction: refund or chargeback.

A refund comes directly from a merchant, while a chargeback comes from your card issuer.

The first step in the dispute process should be to go directly to the merchant and request a refund. This may require you to bring the item back to the store with a copy of your receipt, or you may be able to contact customer support and get a refund online.

Chargebacks should be the next step if asking the merchant for a refund doesn’t work. You initiate a chargeback directly with your card issuer in the hopes of the transaction being reversed.

If asking the merchant for a refund didn’t work, request a chargeback with your credit card issuer. Many card issuers let you dispute transactions by phone, mail, or online. You may also be able to submit a dispute directly through your card issuer’s mobile app.

When you submit a chargeback, you may need to include supporting documents, such as copies of a receipt, invoice, contract, and any communications you had with the merchant. Anticipate that the dispute can last up to 90 days or two billing cycles, whichever is shorter.

Once you submit a chargeback request, the exact process varies depending on your card issuer, network, and situation, but generally results in some back-and-forth between various parties. Here’s an example of how the process may go, according to Experian:

  1. You file a chargeback request.
  2. Your card issuer reviews the dispute and will decide if it’s valid or if you have to pay. If your issuer accepts the dispute, they’ll pass it on to the card network, such as Visa, Mastercard, American Express or Discover, and you may receive a temporary account credit.
  3. The card network reviews the transaction and either require your card issuer to pay or sends the dispute to the merchant’s acquiring bank.
  4. The merchant’s acquiring bank takes one of two actions: Sends the dispute back to the card network and says the issuer is at fault or forwards the dispute to the merchant.
  5. If the merchant gets it, they either agree to pay for the transaction or dispute the chargeback.
  6. If the merchant disputes the chargeback, there may be more back-and-forth as the merchant, acquiring bank and card issuer try to settle the matter. But if the merchant agrees to pay, the process is a bit smoother.
  7. At the end of the day, the card network decides who pays. A successful dispute will deem the temporary credit you received to become permanent.

Does Disputing a Collection Hurt Your Credit?

No. The act of disputing items on your credit report does not hurt your score. However, the outcome of the dispute could cause your score to adjust. If the “negative” item is verified to be correct, for example, your score might take a dip. Note: this dip is not because the dispute was proven inaccurate, but because the XB code is taken off. Alternatively, if the disputed item is proven to be inaccurate, this could raise your credit score.

The fact that the FICO score is temporarily ignoring these items can cause your scores to be higher. Having said that, the score improvement is temporary and can’t be used to “game” the system.

What happens if the disputed item is found to be accurate?

If the item has been verified as accurate, then the credit bureaus are no longer investigating it. That means the credit bureaus will remove the “in dispute” label by removing the XB code.

Once the XB code is gone, then the item is fair game in the eyes of FICO because it has been verified and is, arguably, accurate.

This process isn’t news, and lenders also know about it, which is why you can’t just go and dispute everything that’s bad on your credit reports, have your FICO scores shoot through the roof, and then go apply for a loan.

Most lenders, especially mortgage lenders, require that all items DO NOT have the “in dispute” label before they process an application to closing. They realize the score that has been calculated is likely not the consumer’s most accurate score because the model is ignoring certain aspects of the credit report.

And FICO isn’t the only scoring system that has this specialized treatment of items that are currently being investigated. If you check your credit score using the VantageScore model, you may run into a similar situation.

According to Sarah Davies, Vice President of Analytics and Product Management at VantageScore Solutions, “While an account is documented as ‘Account information disputed by a consumer under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (XB)’, it is temporarily excluded from consideration by the VantageScore model.”

Why is my Credit Dispute Taking so Long?

After you dispute credit reporting errors with a credit bureau, it typically has 30 days to investigate your claim. It must notify you of the results five days after completing the investigation. However, it can take up to 45 days under the following circumstances:

  • You’ve submitted a dispute after receiving a free credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com
  • During the 30-day investigation window, you submit new materials and documents

If you file a dispute regarding information on your Equifax credit report, you can generally expect to receive the results of the investigation within 30 days. If the information on your credit report is found to be inaccurate or incomplete, your credit report will be updated, generally within about 30 days.

What is The Fastest Way to Dispute Credit Report?

TransUnion and Equifax have their own processes for disputing credit reports, but Experian provides three methods for submitting disputes:

  • Online: Get access to your Experian credit report and initiate a dispute at the Experian Dispute Center (more on that below). There is no cost to you for using this service.
  • By phone: To initiate a dispute by phone, you’ll call the number displayed on your Experian credit report. If you’d like to have a copy of your credit report delivered to you by mail, call 866-200-6020.
  • By mail: You can dispute without a credit report by writing to Experian, P.O. Box 4500, Allen, TX 75013. (Printing out Dispute by Mail instructions can streamline the process; you can also scan the completed form and submit it electronically to Experian.com/upload).

The quickest and easiest way to dispute your Experian credit report is to check your credit report online and submit corrections through the online Dispute Center.

Read Also: How to Use Factual Dispute Methodology

Your Experian credit report is divided into sections with the following headings: Personal Information, Accounts, Inquiries, and, possibly, Public Records (not all credit reports contain public records entries). Information that could be hurting your credit may appear under an additional section with the heading Potentially Negative.

If you’ve found inaccurate information on your Experian credit report, these steps will help you complete your dispute online:

  1. Go to the Dispute Center for details on the dispute process. The Experian Dispute Center is your source for correcting credit report information that you consider incomplete or inaccurate. Once you’ve had a chance to read through the information there, click “Start a new dispute” to view your credit report and select an entry to dispute.
  2. Indicate the reason for each dispute. Select the reason for each dispute from the dropdown box. Some entries may ask you to type in explanatory information, and in certain cases, you will be directed to provide documentation to verify the correction.
  3. Review and submit the dispute. Double-check your dispute request, revise the details if you wish, and then click Submit. You’ll see a confirmation page when the dispute is filed successfully, and an “Upload a document” link you can use to submit scanned pages to support your dispute.
  4. Let the dispute process play out. Experian will send you emails when your dispute has been opened, provide updates as appropriate during the process, and let you know when your dispute results are available. You can also view these notes in the Alerts section of the Dispute Center. Once completed, your dispute results will be available in the Completed section of the Dispute Center. Generally, all disputes are resolved within 30 days.

When necessary, Experian will contact data furnishers (the original source of disputed information, such as a lender or other business) to verify the information you are disputing. Note that information verified as accurate cannot be removed from your credit report.

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