Community Leader
Epic Contributor
Posts: 25,678
Registered: ‎03-19-2007
Re: Best way to dispute? Mail, online, or phone?
[ Edited ]

The issue is one of how your method of disputing affects the way the dispute is handled.


The dispute process requires, per FCRA 611(a)(2), that the CRA forward within 5 days of receipt of the dispute "all relevant information regarding the dispute" to the furnisher of the disputed information.  The CRAs have interpreted this requirement as giving them the discretion to determine what is or is not "relevant."


In practice, they do not forward all fact, they rarely if ever forward any documentation provided by the consumer.  They have developed the omnipotent ability to provide all relevant information by simply reducing your dispute to two digit code, sometimes accompanied by a 25 word or less summary produced by the clerk handling your dispute.  That process is referred to as their e-OSCAR electronic dispute process, wherein their code and possible summary is sent electronically to the furnisher.

That's all the furnisher gets.


So the CRA is going to sanitize your dispute.  By using their online process, they additionally avoid even receiving paper documentation, and thus the CRA has you pre-santize your own dispute.  No supporting documentation for them to store or decide whether it is "relevant."


As of 2010, the consumer has the right to optionally send their dispute directly to the furnisher, thus avoiding the CRA e-Oscar sanitation department.

FCRA 623(a)(8), as further defined by the implementing rules at 16 CFR 660.4.

By use of the direct dispute process, the consumer assures that ALL supporting documentation is received by the furnisher, and that their decision is sent direclty to them, and not first to the CRA for their "reinvestigation" meddling.


I would suggest avoiding either the CRA online or paper dispute process if your dispute is of information covered by the direct dispute process

The implementing rules list the following as exempt for the direct dispute process:

1. Disputes over consumer personal identifying information, such as name, DOB, SSN, address, etc.

2. Disputes directed to the identity of past or present employers.

3. Disputes related to credit inquiries.

4. Disputes based on information derived from public records, such as judgments and bankruptcies.

5. Disputes related to fraud or active duty alerts

6. Information provided to the CRA by another furnisher.