Consumers who have successfully removed negative items from their credit files must continue to monitor their credit reports in case the creditor re-inserts the negative item. Credit repair is only the beginning step in obtaining good credit scores. Once you have taken steps to repair your credit you will keep a close watch on your credit report.
If you dispute an item from your credit report the credit bureaus have 30 days to complete their investigation pursuant to your dispute. If the item cannot be verified within 30 days the credit bureaus must remove it because they are not allowed to maintain information that is unverifiable.
Consumers may misinterpret a negative item being removed as a permanent resolution. However, if the item is verified on day 31 or any day afterwards, the credit bureau can reinsert the item in your credit reports.
Even though you may be successful in disputing and getting a negative credit item deleted, it could be re-inserted. But the credit bureaus must notify you within 5 days of the re-insert date.
If a previously negative item is reinserted, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires the credit reporting agency to notify you no later than five days after the date of reinsertion. This FCRA requirement is not always practiced. Additionally, the creditor who reinserts the negative item must also certify the information is correct.
Reinsertion of previously disputed information is governed by FCRA 611(a)(5)(B) only in cases where the deletion occurred as a result of the finding in a dispute.
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Three options when a negative credit item is re-inserted
Option 1. Request a new investigation and dispute re-insertion. A simple letter is sufficient:
“On (date) I discovered (negative credit item and account number) had been re-inserted into my credit file. You are required to notify me within five (5) days of re-inserting a previously deleted item. I did not receive any such notification. Please delete this item immediately.”
Simple and straight to the point works well. You do not have to quote the FCRA. Save that for later if you have to threaten to file a lawsuit.
Option 2. Make a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The complaint can be against the credit bureau and/or the creditor. Both will not ignore an inquiry from the CFPB.
Option 3. File a lawsuit against the creditor for re-inserting the item under the Fair Reporting Credit Act (FRCA). It is unlikely a creditor, collection agency or furnisher of information will have the accurate documentation to support re-inserting the negative credit item, especially since the item had been previously deleted. The creditor will not likely take time to deal with a lawsuit just to re-insert information they probably cannot back-up anyway.
In the case of a negative item resurfacing after the FCRA’s reporting periods have expired, you have the leverage for the credit reporting agencies to delete the negative information immediately because illegal re-aging has occurred. Notify the credit reporting agencies that the reporting period has expired and they will remove the negative tradeline.