The Problem with Disputes
In the last 3-4 years, a common problem has occurred where sellers trying to get a new loan are shocked to learn that their short sale credit has been coded as a foreclosure. Often, those affected go to a credit repair company that will put a “dispute” on the account, which essentially “hides” the account from both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac automated systems.
But Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac findings note there is a dispute on the credit report and will require that the dispute be deleted to get a new mortgage. Even if the dispute has nothing to do with a past mortgage account.
The affected consumer must then delete the dispute on their own but the change can take over 30 days to show up. Or, the consumer can pay for a Rapid Rescore at approximately $30 per repository (there are 3: TransUnion, Equifax and Experian)…. per borrower, and per tradeline. This can add up quick!
Taking an account “out of dispute”
Contact the Credit Bureaus:
Equifax 800-846-5279 or 866-322-3162
Ask the bureaus to take the accounts out of dispute:
Find out a timeline for the accounts being taken out of dispute. If the person you are speaking to does not know what to do, ask to speak to someone in the Special Handling Department and repeat the information above. You will need to have your credit report and special accounts ready to discuss.
Obtain the credit report or dispute identification code to follow up on the process online
Experian: 475 Anton Blvd.; Costa Mesa, CA 92626; 714-830-7000 is answered by a live human being, tell them you need the Executive Customer Service Team to end the dispute(s), hours are 8AM-5PM Pacific Time
Equifax: 1550 Peachtree St, NW; Atlanta, GA 30309; 404-885-8300 is answered by a live human being, tell them you need to speak with someone in the Executive Consumer Service department.
TransUnion: 555 W Adams St; Chicago, IL 60661; 312-985-2000 it has a machine greeting but just stay on the line and you are transferred to a live person, tell them you need to speak with someone in the Special Handling Department, you’ll have to wait a little bit as they need to connect to customer service then get it elevated to the Special Handling Department (it is hit or miss, TransUnion often proves to be the most challenging)
If you cannot get the Special Handling Department, then when contacting the normal customer service reps you should say: “I need to dispute the compliance condition remarks code of “AID” (Account In Dispute) because I am no longer disputing the account.”
The customer service rep should be able to immediately end the dispute, as in during the phone call. There are some situations that disputes cannot be ended by the consumer, and must be ended by the creditor, such as if there are multiple disputes on the same trade line. Remember to always be patient with the customer service reps, as they are trying to help you but may have limited communication skills depending on where the customer service call center is based. If there are confusing terms being used, don’t be afraid to admit you do not understand what they are saying and ask for them to re-explain or to transfer you to someone in the U.S.
Find out a timeline for the accounts being taken out of dispute.
Accounts in dispute with the creditor:
Some accounts may have been disputed directly with the creditor – they are required by law to update your credit report to show account in dispute. To remove this comment you will need to contact the creditor directly.
Some creditors may press you to pay a balance on the account and it may be a step required to do if the creditor is unwilling to provide documentation.
Press the creditor to get a letter faxed while you are on the phone with them that this account is no longer in dispute.
Issue’s and FAQS:
There are some accounts (few) that have never been disputed but are showing that they are in dispute.
This will take persistence to get the company to send information that the account was not in dispute and you may need to climb the corporate ladder to do so, but it can be done.
The run around – if the credit bureaus tell you that they did not place the dispute comment on the credit report and they cannot remove it tell them you would like to initiate a dispute that the account is not in dispute. They control what is posted on your credit report and can remove the information.
If the creditors tell you they do not have a letter for this simply tell them that you still need one because they are reporting inaccurate information on your report that needs to be deleted.
You may also get them to update their online dispute system (E-OSCAR) with the bureaus to remove any comments.
Documentation beats confrontation. Document, Document, Document every person that you talk to, every conversation so that you can refer back at all times.
Be persistent. Don’t take no for an answer – if the person you don’t know can’t give you the answer you want then ask for their manager and keep climbing until you get answers.
Be nice. Though you may be frustrated, this will get you nowhere fast. Know that the call you just made is probably the majority of calls those you are calling for help get.