Once Something Is Removed From My Credit Report Can It Be Put Back On?
You disagree with an item shown on your credit report. For example, you find a collection. Even though it’s frustrating to know that your credit score is being negatively affected, the good news is you have the right to dispute items you believe aren’t accurate.
Now, let’s assume you dispute the item and it is removed from your report.
Is there a chance it might reappear?
The answer is: Yes, it may happen. Even after an item is removed, there’s no guarantee it will permanently vanish from your credit report. The likelihood of the reappearance will depend on why it was deleted in the first place.
To understand the reasons for this seemingly inconsistent outcome, it’s useful to take a closer look at the disputing process itself.
What Does the Credit Report Dispute Process Look Like?
After you dispute incorrect information on your credit file, one of the three nationwide credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) initiate an investigation. They should contact the creditor that initially reported the item. The creditor is usually a bank, lender, credit card issuer, or collection agency.
Credit bureaus will ask the creditor to verify the information that was shown on your report. The creditor is then obligated to review your dispute and to investigate is that information accurate or not. By law, a time limit of 30 days exists to ensure the process is efficient. In other words, the creditor has 30 days to respond.
One of three things will typically happen at this point.
(a) The disputed information verifies as accurate meaning it will remain as reported in the first place.
(b) The disputed information updates via the creditor. In this case, the data on your credit report is corrected to reflect the most recent information from the creditor.
(c) The creditor will confirm that the entry is, in fact, inaccurate and will let the credit bureau know that it necessitates removal.
These are the three most common scenarios, however, there’s a fourth scenario. And this is where things get interesting.
If credit bureau does not get a response from the creditor during the 30-day time frame, the credit bureaus will have to temporarily remove the disputed information from your credit report. The reason the do this is because they cannot keep information on your credit report that is not verified.
It’s important to mention that the creditor can report to credit bureaus on any day after the 30 day time frame. If the item is verified after the 30 days, the credit bureaus will put the item back on your credit file. After reinserting the item onto your report, the credit bureaus oblige to notify the consumer.
What if the Re-Reported Information Is Incorrect?
As you might expect, creditors make mistakes while investigating the disputed data. The good news is that you still have a right to re-dispute any item on your credit report even after it’s been verified by the creditor.
That being said, if the basis for your re-dispute is the same as the first one, they will probably make the same decision.
To make your re-dispute stronger than the first one, you should consider providing additional documents and information. That way, your claim (about the information being incorrect) will have more legitimacy. Doing this will improve your chances to not only remove the item but to remove it permanently.
What if My Old Debt Is Being Re-Aged by My Lender?
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires that the credit bureaus remove derogatory items after seven years have passed. Exceptions are, for example, bankruptcies or liens, that can remain on a report for about ten years. After this time, a derogatory item such as debt will exceed its statute of limitation so it becomes “time-barred debt”.
Time-barred debt prevents your creditors from suing to recover a debt. To avoid this, lenders will change the date of last activity effectively “renewing” the debt within the statute of limitations. This can happen when they validate the debt through a variety of means. For example, making a payment on an old debt will renew the date of last activity.
In situations where lenders try to renew the date, you should also file a dispute. Make sure your dispute is in writing and that you get a return receipt. That way, you can ensure the dispute was received by the bureau.
One way to make the process quicker is to write a detailed letter directly to the lender. Gather as much information and documentation as you can get to support your dispute. You need to know what you’re doing so it’s a good idea to work with a reputable company with experience in credit restoration.
A Quick Summary of Re-Appearing Items on your Credit Report
Once an item deletes from your credit report, it may reappear on your credit report. We’ve already reviewed why this can happen. Credit bureaus inform you when an item reappears, so you can react immediately by submitting a dispute. Better yet, consider getting help from an organization that approaches the credit bureaus AND the creditors. Removing an item from your credit report at the CREDITOR level is most effective way to stop the item from reappearing in the future.