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It was suggested I post this here.

I went through a bad divorce about 5 years ago. I have since been able to pay off my outstanding debt and have refinanced my house a number of times. Each time I have worked to clear up errors on my credit report and each time there has been a number of things (that even though cleared up at the time) were not "fixed" on the report and have shown up again. I recently applied for credit and was turned down. The reasons appear to be due to incorrect information (again). I have just requested my free report and plan to try to get these items cleared up (again).

I can't seem to convince the credit bureaus of errors even though I've supplied all the proper documentation. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to deal with these bureaus to get the information corrected? Also, does anyone know of any organizations that regulate, oversee, etc. these agencies? I really don't want to get to the point where I have to sue them just to get the information correct.

AC *frustrated with the process (and lack there of)*
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The incorrect information continues to be reported to the CRAs. Have you tried contacting the company that is reporting the information? If it is collections that your ex-husband has created, it maybe very difficult to permamently correct them. It may take until they age out.

Debra
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Have you tried contacting the company that is reporting the information?

I have contacted the three bureaus I'm aware of and have sent letters (as well as the "paid" info from the lenders), disputed information, etc. Some of them have had his info confused with mine (such as addresses I've never lived at, accounts that were never in my name, etc.). A number of people have suggested that my Ex may have used my address and information illegally. I have no idea how that could be proved.

If it is collections that your ex-husband has created, it maybe very difficult to permamently correct them. It may take until they age out.

Any idea how long that is?

AC *cleared most of these debts up in the Fall of '02*
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I went through a bad divorce about 5 years ago. I have since been able to pay off my outstanding debt and have refinanced my house a number of times. Each time I have worked to clear up errors on my credit report and each time there has been a number of things (that even though cleared up at the time) were not "fixed" on the report and have shown up again. I recently applied for credit and was turned down. The reasons appear to be due to incorrect information (again). I have just requested my free report and plan to try to get these items cleared up (again).

I can't seem to convince the credit bureaus of errors even though I've supplied all the proper documentation. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to deal with these bureaus to get the information corrected? Also, does anyone know of any organizations that regulate, oversee, etc. these agencies? I really don't want to get to the point where I have to sue them just to get the information correct.


Are these accounts with the original creditor, or are they collections accounts?

If they are with the original creditor, you should contact the creditor and find out why they continue to report the account on your credit bureau. Are you sure that the creditor has removed you from the account? Just because the divorce decree says that you are not responsible for the account does not mean that the creditor will let you off the hook. From the creditor's point of view - if you signed to be responsible, you are still responsible. If you were a joint account holder 5 years ago and the account has not been closed, it is likely that you are still responsible for the debt. So you need to work with the original creditor to get the account closed, and hopefully, stop reporting the account on your credit report, although they could validly continue to report any information on your credit bureau that occurs until the account is closed and paid off, if you are still on the account.

If they are collections accounts, you need to write the collection agencies requesting "validation of debt" - see www.creditinfocenter.com for a sample letter requesting validation of debt. To properly validate the debt, the collection agency needs to send you proof that you agreed to pay for the original debt. If they cannot do so within 30 days, they can no longer pursue collections actions, or report the account on your credit report. If they do report it on your credit report, you can sue them for $1000.

You probably also need to read the FDCPA (Fair Debt Collections Practices Act) to find out your rights with respect to collection accounts - the FDCPA is where the right to sue for $1000 is provided. Here is a link: http://www.ftc.gov/os/statutes/fdcpa/fdcpact.htm

AJ
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Are these accounts with the original creditor, or are they collections accounts?

Some went into collections because he wasn't paying. BUT I took on the joint accounts and paid them off through the original creditor unless they directed me to do otherwise.

If they are with the original creditor, you should contact the creditor and find out why they continue to report the account on your credit bureau. Are you sure that the creditor has removed you from the account? Just because the divorce decree says that you are not responsible for the account does not mean that the creditor will let you off the hook. From the creditor's point of view - if you signed to be responsible, you are still responsible. If you were a joint account holder 5 years ago and the account has not been closed, it is likely that you are still responsible for the debt. So you need to work with the original creditor to get the account closed, and hopefully, stop reporting the account on your credit report, although they could validly continue to report any information on your credit bureau that occurs until the account is closed and paid off, if you are still on the account.

The accounts were closed at the time of the divorce (which I did to prevent the Ex from screwing with them). I took on the joint debts as part of the Ex's payoff of the house, so I know those were paid. On the last report I got, there were three accounts I had closed that showed back up. I disputed these and contacted the creditors to find out why they were showing up as open. They claimed that they were closed and I asked them to send a letter to the bureaus and me stating that fact. I got the letters so I'm not sure why it would still be open on my report but I guess we'll see in the next two weeks. There were also accounts that didn't show a current status (ie. updated in 2000) which I disputed with the bureaus and asked the creditors to send current information to the bureaus. The mortgage broker I dealt with had a service that helped me with the calls and checked with the bureaus one month later to make sure the information had been received at the bureaus. They called me and sent me a follow up letter stating they had spoken with reps at the bureaus and the information had been received. I'm beginning to believe the info goes in and they never update.

When I get the new report I will look into the other options you suggest if these things are still showing up.

AC *could use an extra couple Ks in the future :0) *

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AlsoChorizo,

You wrote, I can't seem to convince the credit bureaus of errors even though I've supplied all the proper documentation. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to deal with these bureaus to get the information corrected? Also, does anyone know of any organizations that regulate, oversee, etc. these agencies? I really don't want to get to the point where I have to sue them just to get the information correct.

If you're in the right, you should work under the assumption that you're going to court. When you obtain documentation and send it to the CRAs, put a copy in a file folder. Do the same when you get the return receipt when you send them the letter registered.

If the CRAs continue reporting wrong information, you can sue them in small claims court - small claims is usually an inexpensive and informal process. The actually litigation shouldn't take more than half a day. Just present the contents of your folder to the judge and tell them that you've tried to get them to stop, but they've ignored you.

According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act ( http://www.ftc.gov/os/statutes/031224fcra.pdf http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode15/usc_sec_15_00001681---n000-.html ), the court should award you actual damages plus $1,000 per incident. If you've actually been denied credit as a result of their negligence (in other words, you've tried to get it corrected and you were subsequently denied for the same thing), you may be able to claim damages in the amount of excess interest payments or lost property as your actual damages.

If it gets really nasty, you might have to engage a lawyer; but don't worry. If you're in the right, the law would require the CRAs to pay for that expense as well.

- Joel
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