Credit bureaus act independently from each another. Problems may arise where one credit bureau removes a collections statement and the other does not apply the same update. Regular credit reviews from the 3 major credit bureaus (Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian) is the best way to ensure the information reflected on each of the reports are accurate and identical.
What do you do if this has happened to you? Keep reading to find out.
How To Make Sure Collections Get Removed From Every Credit Bureau?
In many respects, the 3 major credit bureaus are actively competing against one another. Each have their own varying business models and informational controls.
Collection agencies usually report across all three credit bureaus. Even with this in mind, there are occasional variations on the way information is displayed.
If you identify an issue on your credit report you believe is incorrect, it is wise to dispute it with all 3 of the credit bureaus to ensure the issue is resolved simultaneously. This process looks like this:
- File a dispute, with each CRA, either by mail, phone, or online.
- Allow 30-45 days maximum for each bureau to investigate the dispute and provide a resolution.
- If one CRA successfully removes the error, do not assume it will update across all three. They work separately and need to be disputed separately.
Disputing Issues With Debt Collectors
The process of settling collection accounts are usually done by dealing directly with the collection agency which owns the debt.
Once a settlement is established and paid to the collection agency, they are then responsible for:
- Updated the debt to reflect “paid in full”, or
- Updating the debt to “settled for less than original amount and considered paid in full”, or
- They must delete the collection off the borrower's credit report and update to “pay to delete” agreement.
The collection agency will then report the updated information to the three major credit bureaus. If a “pay-to-delete” agreement is made between the debt collector and the borrower, this agreement applies to all three credit bureaus reporting the information.
If you meet an agreement, pay your debt in full, or pay the settlement amount in full yet still see collections being reported on your report, you should:
- Request the verification of the report from the collection agency.
- If the collection agency rejects your dispute by verifing the reporting is indeed accurate and that the collection should not be deleted, you will need to contact the credit bureaus directly.
- File a dispute with the credit reporting bureau that is reporting the inaccurate information.
What To Do If Your Disputes Are Being Ignored?
The CRA in question has 30-45 days to review (according to the Fair Credit Reporting Act), examine and correct the item(s) on your dispute. If you have gone past this timeline, and have not received a resolution to your dispute, you should:
- Send a kind but firm follow up letter; alongside the receipts from when the dispute was filed, a copy of your credit report, and any important documentation.
- Seek legal counsel as they are in violating of the FCRA.
If your collections have been removed from one credit bureau but not another, it’s important to get that fixed. Businesses and creditors use different credit reporting bureaus based on what works best for their business. Since you never know what CRA your credit may be processed through, you need to make sure all credit reporting across the three bureaus is correct.