Your credit report is a record of all open credit accounts you have, as well as your payment history with each of them. The three national credit reporting agencies—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion—keep these records, and federal law gives you the right, under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), to dispute errors and inaccuracies in your reports. Federal law also requires the agencies to respond to disputes within specific time limits.
Generally, the FCRA requires that credit reporting agencies and furnishers, like creditors, investigate disputes within 30 days of receipt of the consumer’s dispute. The 30-day period may be extended to 45 days if the consumer provides additional information that’s relevant to the investigation during the 30 days. But the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is affecting how quickly agencies and furnishers must deal with any issues you raise.
Because the credit reporting agencies and furnishers are facing significant operational disruptions during the COVID-19 national emergency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which usually enforces the FCRA, issued a statement saying it will give flexibility on meeting dispute investigation deadlines. The CFPB specifically said it doesn’t plan on citing in an examination or bringing an enforcement action against firms that exceed the deadlines to investigate such disputes, so long as they make good-faith efforts during the pandemic to do so as quickly as possible. On the flip side, though, several state attorneys general have said they intend to vigorously enforce the FCRA’s deadlines.
So, if you plan on disputing information in your credit reports any time soon, you might not get a quick resolution. Also, make sure your dispute is legitimate. The CFPB also reminded credit reporting agencies and furnishers that they may take advantage of laws that eliminate the obligation to investigate disputes that a credit repair organization submits or disputes they reasonably determine are frivolous or irrelevant.