Why Do Deleted Accounts Reappear on Credit Reports


Sometimes people disagree with the information on their credit reports. And while this can be frustrating, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) confers to you the right to dispute items that you believe to be inaccurate. If your dispute with a credit reporting agency is successful, it will either be “deleted” from your credit report or corrected. But sometimes accounts that were deleted return. It makes us ask, why do deleted accounts reappear on credit reports?

The truth is, deleted accounts aren’t guaranteed to stay deleted. There are some circumstances whereby Experian, TransUnion, or Equifax might reinsert a previously deleted account back into your credit reports. And while the act is relatively uncommon, it is certainly legal as per the FCRA, under certain circumstances.

The Dispute Process: When is an item deleted from your credit report?


When you exercise your rights to dispute information on your credit report, the FCRA puts the parties involved in the dispute process on a clock. Per the FCRA, a credit reporting agency usually has 30 to 45 days to complete the investigation into your disputed account/s.

To begin the investigation process, the credit bureau contacts the data furnisher that reported the account in the first place. A data furnisher could be a credit card issuer, bank, lender, or collection agency. The data furnisher must review your dispute, investigate the account to see if the account is accurate, and inform the credit bureau how it should proceed in response.

A disputed account can be:

·      Verified as accurate, meaning it will remain as reported

·      Updated to reflect accurate information, meaning it will be corrected

·      Deleted from your credit report, meaning it has been removed

Sometimes data furnishers receive disputes and fail to respond to the credit reporting agency. If a data furnisher doesn’t respond to a dispute within the time frame allowed, the credit reporting agency will remove the item from your credit report as it would be deemed “unverifiable.”


Why credit report reinsertion occurs


When a credit reporting agency (CRA) deletes an item from your credit report because a data furnisher didn’t verify it in a timely manner, it can be re-reported on a later date. This process is called “reinsertion.”

Credit report reinsertion can follow this chronology of events:

·      You dispute an account with a CRA.

·      The CRA contacts the data furnisher to begin the 30-day investigation.

·      The data furnisher doesn’t respond to the CRA within the time frame allowed.

·      The CRA deletes the account from your credit report. It’s now gone.

·      On day 31 (or any day thereafter), the data furnisher responds to the CRA and verifies that the account you disputed is accurate.

·      The CRA reinserts the previously deleted account back onto your credit report.

There’s another scenario where a removed item might reappear on your credit report as well. If a credit bureau deletes an account due to a lack of response, but the data furnisher reports the account to the credit bureau again the following month as part of its normal monthly update process, the item might return to your credit reports.

What can you do when deleted items are reinserted?


When a credit bureau reinserts an account into your credit report, the FCRA sets some rules regarding the practice. A credit reporting agency has to give you a heads-up about the reinsertion. Specifically, and per the FCRA, a credit reporting agency must provide you with a notice of reinsertion within five business days from the date of reinsertion.

Reinsertion notices are actually done for the benefit of the consumer. If an item has been removed and you are under the impression that it’s permanently gone you may apply for credit under the impression that an offensive entry is no longer there. If you were never notified of the reinsertion you may apply for credit and be surprised when the item is back on your credit reports.

The good news is that reinserted items on a credit report are subject to the same rules as any other account.  So, if you still disagree with the way an account is being reported, you have the right to dispute it again, as is your right under the FCRA.

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