Consumers who have succeeded in having a negative account removed from their credit files must still monitor their credit reports carefully in the event the debt is reinserted.
Negative accounts that have been removed from credit reports must be carefully monitored in case the debt is reinserted.
Misconceptions Concerning Account Disputes and Removals
Negative credit report entries can still be valid even if they are deleted from a credit report. Often, consumers and credit repair companies can successfully dispute valid negatives and have them removed.
However, having a bad debt removed from a credit report may not make the debt disappear. Provided the statute of limitations has not expired on the debt, the credit may still sue you. In addition, the creditor can request that the previously deleted account be reinserted into the individual’s credit file.
The Law Regarding Negative Reinsertion
When an account is disputed with the credit bureaus, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) gives these agencies only 30 days to investigate the debt. Investigation is usually conducted by requesting that the creditor in question complete a form verifying key pieces of consumer information.
Credit bureaus delete information from consumer credit reports if the creditor does not complete or return the form within the allotted time frame. Unfortunately, it may not remain that way. Section 611 of the FCRA states:
“A consumer reporting agency shall maintain reasonable procedures designed to prevent the reappearance in a consumer’s file, and in consumer reports on the consumer, of information that is deleted…”
The phrase “reasonable procedures” is vague and roomy enough for legal interpretation, should the cause arise. If negative information reappears without just cause, the reasonable procedures clause offers legal protection to the credit bureau since what is “reasonable” varies by opinion.
If a creditor wishes to reinsert a negative item onto a credit report, it must verify that the information to be inserted is accurate. In addition, the credit bureau allowing the reinsertion must inform the consumer within five days of any changes being made to the individual’s credit file.
What to Do When Previously Deleted Items Reappear on a Credit Report
An individual has several options available to fight the reinsertion of a negative trade line such as:
- Request a new investigation with the credit reporting agencies
- Add a consumer statement to his or her credit report
- File a lawsuit against the creditor committing the reinsertion
If the item was previously deleted due to incomplete or inaccurate information, it’s unlikely that the creditor will bother to verify it merely to reinsert it. For this reason, consumers should immediately file a new dispute on the reinsertion. If the item was removed previously, there is a solid chance it will be removed again.
If you discover deleted accounts resurfacing on your credit report, you have the option to file a lawsuit against the creditor reporting the account. You can also add a 100 word consumer statement to your credit report explaining the notation.
If the item was previously deleted due to an expired reporting period and then reappears, this is against FCRA reporting laws. An individual must merely notify the credit bureaus of the expired reporting period to have the negative trade line removed.
Reinsertion of Disputed Debts is Uncommon
Few creditors will go to any lengths to certify and reinsert a previously deleted debt into a credit file. The reasoning is simple. Taking extra time and effort for one person over one situation when the company most likely holds thousands of accounts is a waste of time and money for the company. If the debt of one person slips through the cracks, there are new debts being accrued every day that will be easier to collect on.
One creditor whom no individual should expect to budge is the IRS. Unpaid tax liens appear on a credit report as “Public Records” and are notoriously difficult to have removed. If a tax dispute is successful, not only will the IRS reinsert the debt, but sluggish collection activity will be renewed with vigor. However, if the tax lien was previously paid the IRS is unlikely to reinsert the lien.