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Oral Disputes Relating to Credit Reporting

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If a written direct dispute relating to credit reporting is received there are clear procedures that must be followed. What about oral disputes? If an oral dispute is received must the financial institutions promptly update its credit reporting to reflect that the account is disputed? If so, would it have to be listed as disputed even if the financial institution does not agree with the dispute?

FCRA 623(a)(8)(D) tells us, "Submitting a notice of dispute- A consumer who seeks to dispute the accuracy of information shall provide a dispute notice directly to such person at the address specified by the person for such notices that--
(i) identifies the specific information that is being disputed;
(ii) explains the basis for the dispute; and
(iii) includes all supporting documentation required by the furnisher to substantiate the basis of the dispute."

611 includes, "if the completeness or accuracy of any item of information contained in a consumer's file at a consumer reporting agency is disputed by the consumer and the consumer notifies the agency directly, or indirectly through a reseller,"

The FCRA often uses terms like "oral, written or electronic" or it may use one or two of those, but when referring to dispute notifications it is silent as to the manner. Reg V which includes much of the FCRA has a section on direct disputes at . It describes the contents of a notice but again, it is silent as to requiring an oral or written notice.

This leaves me to believe that a consumer protection regulation that does not require written notice, infers oral notification is sufficient. This means your procedures for a written notice would also apply to an oral notice. If the law and regulation do not impose a requirement that the dispute be written, I don't believe the bank can do so.

First published on 10/15/2017

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