If you monitor your credit report regularly to keep your credit score healthy, every now and then you may see certain charges or debts you want to dispute. When that happens, you can contact the credit bureau, make your case, and get the item taken off. It’s a great feeling when you’re done—but what if the item comes back? Sometimes removed items are reinserted into your report. And that’s a helpless feeling: “Hey, I thought we fixed that!” “How can they do that to me?” “Is that even legal?” We’re here to answer those questions for you.
When Are Items Reinserted on Your Credit Report?
Sometimes credit bureaus or the organizations that furnish information to them, such as banks and collection agencies, get things wrong. If a mistaken item appears and the lender or collection agency confirms that it’s not your debt, the credit bureau will remove it.
But the process of determining whether the item will be removed isn’t exactly a swift one. From the time you make your complaint, the bureau has 30 days (and in some cases, more) to investigate. As a result, you may get additional requests for payment during that time.
If the bureau can’t verify whether the item is legitimate within that time, it has to take it off of your report. But if it’s able to eventually verify the legitimacy of the item after that, it can put the item back on your report and notify you within five business days. In other words, no news is good news. If you don’t hear that the item is being reinserted, it’s not going back on your report.
Reinserting Certain Items on Your Credit Report Is Against the Law
When an item goes to collection, it can stay on your credit report for up to seven years. (Bankruptcies, liens, and unpaid student loans can appear for longer periods.) Once an item hits that seven-year mark, it comes off. If such an older item then reappears on your credit report, that action is called “re-aging,” and it’s illegal. Lenders, collection agencies, and credit bureaus are forbidden by law to put items back on after their seven years are up.
For the Sake of Your Credit Score, Sometimes You Just Gotta Pay the Bill
Continuous disputes with credit bureaus and collection agencies can be exhausting. If you legitimately owe a debt, it’s better to pay it (or part of it—collection agencies will often settle for a portion of the full debt) than to leave it on your report to damage your credit score.
And if you feel like you need credit repair, consult a credit-repair service such as Ovation. We can give you advice and assistance that boosts your credit score and makes a real difference in your life every day. Contact us today for a free consultation.