What Should I Do If Deleted Accounts Reappear on My Credit Report?

Nothing is more frustrating than having a deleted account reappear on a credit report. After spending so much time paying down debt and improving your credit, the last thing you want is for an old account with a negative history to show up on your report making it difficult for you to increase your score.

Thankfully, under the laws outlined by the Fair Credit Reporting Act, consumers can dispute any items they believe to be reported inaccurately. However, even after a disputed item has been deleted, it can reappear, which makes an already difficult situation even more disappointing.

Unfortunately, deleted accounts are not guaranteed to stay deleted forever. Under certain conditions, Experian, Transunion, or Equifax can reinstate a deleted account. This scenario is fairly uncommon; however, it is not forbidden by the FCRA under certain circumstances.

Understanding the Dispute Process

When you file a dispute on information listed on your credit report, the FCRA gives both parties involved in the dispute a certain amount of time to complete the investigation regarding the dispute in question. Once the investigation process begins, the credit bureau will contact the data furnisher who reported the account. Data furnishers are usually credit card issuers, banks, lenders, or collection agencies. These institutions are supposed to review all disputes and conduct a thorough investigation into the accuracy of the dispute.

All disputed listings on accounts can be verified as accurate, updated to reflect accurate information, or deleted from a credit report entirely. Data furnishers who receive disputes and fail to respond to the credit agency within the required time frame will result in the credit reporting agency removing the negative item from your report if the creditor (furnisher) fails to verify the dispute on time.

Why Credit Report Reinsertion Occurs

When a credit reporting agency deletes items from a credit report because the creditor failed to verify the disputed item on time, the creditor or data furnisher can report the item at a later date. This process is referred to as reinsertion.

Credit report reinsertion usually happens in a series of events. These events start with the original dispute on the credit report, followed by the credit reporting agency contacting the data furnisher to conduct the 30-day investigation.

After this point, the data furnisher is expected to respond within that timeframe. If they don’t respond, the credit reporting agency will then delete the account from the credit report. However, if on the 31st day, for example, the data furnisher decides to verify that the claim is indeed accurate, the credit agency will be able to reinsert the deleted negative listing bringing you back to square one.

What To Do When Deleted Items are Reinserted

While this can be a very frustrating experience, there are certain things to be aware of when this takes place. The FCRA sets specific rules regarding the practice of reinsertion. According to the FCRA, a credit reporting agency is obligated to inform you about the reinsertion. This is to be provided by the credit reporting agency within five business days from the date of the reinsertion.

These reinsertion notices are provided to help the consumer become aware of the situation so they’re not caught off guard. Items that have been removed in the past that are about to be reapplied to your report need to be disclosed. Not disclosing this information could lead to consumers being taken by surprise when they go to apply for a new loan or credit card.

Luckily reinserted items on a credit report are bound to the same rules that apply to any other account. If there is still doubt regarding the accuracy of the claim, under the FCRA, consumers can dispute the negative listing again until both parties can come to a resolution.

How Credit Report Disputes Work

As we outlined earlier, the credit report dispute process is designed to help consumers ensure the accuracy of their credit reports. Without these safeguards, consumers can find themselves with no recourse or protection against inaccurate claims.

Through the investigative processes conducted by the credit bureaus, you can expect the credit bureau to contact the original creditor to verify the negative listing. If they are unable to provide proof, then the negative item must be deleted. However, if they can indeed verify the event, then there is very little that can be done to get it removed from your report.

Overall, the creditor or data furnisher has 30 days to respond to the credit bureau. If they don’t, then expect that negative listing to be deleted from your credit report. However, as we explained earlier, the removal of a negative event doesn’t guarantee that it will stay off your report for good. Creditors can reinsert a negative claim after 30 days if they can provide proof that the event was accurately reported.

While this can be frustrating for consumers, this is the way the current dispute system works. With that in mind, the best you can do is dispute claims you know to be inaccurate. When there is a clear and obvious error, chances are that the negative listing will be off your report forever and you shouldn’t have to worry about reinsertion.

The Main Reasons Why Deleted Items Can Reappear on a Credit Report

While this situation is not common, deleted items can reappear on your credit reports for two main reasons. Getting a negative item deleted from a credit report can be great for consumers looking to improve their overall credit. And these items are easily deleted when a creditor doesn’t respond to the credit bureau that is trying to verify the claim.

However, as we mentioned before, the removal of a negative event doesn’t mean that it will be off of your report forever. Creditors can reinsert these negative events after their removal if they can provide evidence after the 30-day response period.

Another reason why deleted items can reappear on your report is if the credit reporting company accepts the reinsertion of the claim by the creditor. If the creditor or data furnisher can verify that the negative listing is indeed accurate, then the item is eligible to be reinserted.

Steps You Can Take

If an item that was recently deleted suddenly reappears on your report, you should expect the credit bureau to send you a reinsertion notice. Once you receive this notice, it is important to know that all hope is not lost. You still can re-dispute the information either with the credit bureau or with the original creditor directly.

However, in most cases, items that have been reinserted are usually done so because both the creditor and credit reporting agency were able to verify the event and believe the information to be accurate. Unless you have a compelling reason to re-dispute, it is unlikely that the item will be removed despite your efforts.

At that point, the only thing you can do is accept the hand you were dealt and move on. You can still rebuild your credit over time even if you have a negative listing like a late payment or missed payment reported to your account. While it is tough pill to swallow, especially after getting the item removed, it’s not the end of the world. By practicing sound credit management going forward, you will be able to rebuild from your current standing by paying off debt aggressively and on time.

Summary

Understanding the dispute process is crucial if you’re confused about an item reappearing on your credit report that you saw deleted earlier. In most cases, getting a negative listing removed from your report will usually stick. However, if it doesn’t, it’s usually because both the original creditor and credit bureau were able to verify the event. While this can be frustrating, it is important to know that it’s not the worst thing that can happen.

While negative marks on your credit report will ultimately lower your score, it’s not something you can’t come back from. By practicing better credit card management going forward, you can turn your bad credit around in a short timeframe. All you need to do is pay off your debts as quickly as possible. While this might require some sacrifice on your end, staying focused on your goal of lowering your debt is the best way to improve your credit over time.

Getting a deleted item reinserted into your report can be a pain, however, it can be re-disputed. Just have realistic expectations. Oftentimes items that reappear do so for a reason, and it is usually because both the creditor and credit agency was able to verify the event.

As difficult as this can be in the moment, it is important not to give up hope. This situation can be overcome by making the right credit moves in the future. All you need is the focus, dedication, and perseverance to pay off your debts one day at a time.