What to Do When an Erased Mark is Reinserted on Your Credit Report
It can be a huge relief to get something removed from your credit report that shouldn’t have been there. You identified the inaccurate report, informed the credit reporting agency (CRA-which includes Equifax, Experian or Transunion), and, to your delight, your credit has now improved, the inaccurate mark having been wiped from your credit.
Except that the relief is temporary, because shortly after the negative mark was removed, the same exact negative mark appears again. This is called “reinsertion,” and it is a violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act even though it happens all the time.
Why Deleted Items are Reinserted
There are a number of reasons that deleted information can reappear on your credit.
Sometimes, the original creditor is slow to tell the CRA that the debt is accurate after you dispute an item. When an original creditor does not respond timely, the CRA will remove the negative mark.
However, if the original creditor then tells the CRA that the mark is accurate after the deadline, the mark—removed because of the creditor’s failure to initially respond on time—can reappear.
Also common are subsequent owners of a debt re-reporting the negative mark. For example, assume that you have disputed something on your credit being reported by a department store. You contest the accuracy of the mark, and the negative mark is removed. The debt is then sold from the department store to a debt buyer. The debt buyer then re-reports the exact same debt.
The fact that the debt was sold to a debt buyer or to a different owner does not give them the right to reinsert a mark that was previously contested successfully and deleted.
Requirements When an Item is Reinserted
If an item as erased and is reinserted afterwards, the FCRA requires that the CRA send you written notice of the reinsertion within 5 days. When you receive the notice, you will have to go through the same process to contest the mark as you did the first time. When you contest the reinsertion, you may want to include paperwork showing that the mark was previously contested, and removed.
You do not need any magic legal language; just plain language explaining that the mark was previously disputed and erased will suffice. If you did not receive the required 5 day notice, you should note that was well in your letter.
If the negative mark is confirmed, or you get no response, it is likely that the creditor has violated the FCRA. Neither the creditor nor the CRA can argue that they incorrectly deleted the item the first time, or that the mark was removed in error; if it was removed pursuant to your prior letter informing the CRA that the mark is inaccurate, it cannot be reinserted for any reason.
Subsequent missed payments on the account also will not allow the mark to legally reappear. For example, if a mark for a delinquent credit card that is removed, it cannot be reinserted because the consumer missed the next month’s installment payment.
Questions about inaccurate information on your credit reports? Contact Jacobs Legal to speak with one of our Miami consumer rights attorneys today.