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Credit disputes: getting a clear statement of results from your furnisher

If you’re trying to correct inaccurate or incomplete information on your credit report, the process can feel overwhelming. The communications you receive from the companies involved can be confusing, and the CFPB has found some companies have not handled consumer disputes in compliance with the law.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act tells companies how credit reporting disputes should be handled. Some of the requirements apply to furnishers. Furnishers are the companies like banks, mortgage lenders, and credit card issuers that provide information that is included in credit reports.

According to federal law, if a consumer disputes directly with the furnisher the accuracy of information that’s been furnished to credit reporting companies, the furnisher is required to conduct a reasonable investigation about the dispute. After completing this reasonable investigation, the furnisher is required to “report the results of the investigation to the consumer” generally within 30 days.

We recently reported that CFPB examiners had found credit card furnishers were sending unclear notices to consumers at the end of dispute investigations. In some cases, these notices did not tell the consumer the result of the dispute investigation. Some of these notices didn’t even say whether the furnisher was going to correct the disputed information with the credit reporting companies. As a result, consumers were left in the dark about whether their problem was resolved.

After we conducted examinations of certain credit card furnishers and identified these problems, the credit card furnishers we examined revised their notices. The revised notices are more specific and clearly communicate whether changes were made to the consumer’s disputed account as a result of the dispute investigation.

If you have submitted a dispute directly to a furnisher, the response you receive should include the following information:

  1. Identification of the account that you disputed;
  2. A statement that the dispute has been investigated;
  3. A statement that the dispute investigation has been completed; and
  4. An explanation of the results of that dispute investigation.
    • If the furnisher’s investigation found that the information you disputed is accurate, the notice should clearly say this.
    • If the furnisher’s investigation found that the information you disputed is inaccurate or cannot be verified, the notice should say so and also state what corrections the furnisher is providing to credit reporting companies to fix the inaccuracy.

If you get a notice from a furnisher that doesn’t meet these minimum requirements, or if you remain confused about what the furnisher is going to do about your account, you can submit a complaint with the CFPB online or by calling (855) 411-CFPB (2372).

And if you haven’t already, you should submit a dispute about the account to the credit reporting companies as well. You have certain additional rights that only apply when you submit your dispute to a credit reporting company. You can get more information about how to submit a dispute generally on the CFPB website. We provide detailed instructions, addresses, and phone numbers for submitting disputes. Elsewhere on our website, we have provided some suggestions for what to do if your credit dispute is ignored or if you disagree with the results of the dispute.

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