When you dispute an inaccurate debt on your credit reports to one or more credit bureaus (like Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion), the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires credit bureaus and the creditor that supplied the inaccurate information to the credit bureaus (called a furnisher under the FCRA) to take action.
Specifically, the Fair Credit Reporting Act mandates that the credit bureaus (known as consumer reporting agencies or CRAs under the FCRA) and the creditor/furnisher conduct separate and independent “reasonable investigations” of your dispute.
After completing their respective reasonable investigations, your creditors and the credit bureaus also have separate and independent obligations to correct information that they (a) conclude is inaccurate, AND/OR (b) cannot verify is accurate.
Within thirty to forty-five days after the CRAs receive your dispute, they will send you investigation results to specifically inform you about the outcome of your dispute.
So what happens if you receive investigation results informing you that inaccurate information you disputed has been verified (not corrected)? Simply stated: If inaccurate information remains on your credit report after you receive investigation results, you have can assert claims for harm you suffered (which generally includes at least credit harm, emotional distress, costs, and reasonable attorney’s fees; you may also be entitled to statutory damages or punitive damages).
If you have not consulted with a reputable consumer attorney— whether Sherman & Ticchio or another qualified law firm — by the time you receive investigation results, you should be sure to do so if the credit bureaus inform you that they will continue to report any inaccurate information. Moreover, investigation results are not always easy to read. If you have any doubt, a consumer law firm should be able to help you interpret your results at no cost.
*Note that there are other times — not covered by this blog post — when a dispute is not required to provide you with standing to sue under the FCRA (such as when inaccurate information is the result of failure by a credit bureau to follow reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy of information it reports about you, often in the case of a mixed file or merged file).