NEVER dispute your credit online!! I know some people may disagree, but let me explain my reasoning.
The Big Three Bureaus all have an option for consumers to dispute errors on their credit report online. They make it simple and convenient for the consumers. Sure…for the consumers….
In reality, online disputes make it easier and CHEAPER for the Bureaus. As they always say, “follow the money”.
Processing disputes is an expense for the Bureaus. They are required by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) to process consumer credit disputes without charging the consumer. So, they lose money on this endeavor. Therefore, they want to do this as simply, quickly and cheaply as possible. Having actual people handle these disputes costs more than automating the process.
When you dispute something online, it is handled by computers. Human eyes do not usually see the dispute. Therefore, the dispute is put into a numeric category that the computer can process. Any nuances to the dispute are lost. It is simply a number now, so explanations and details are not considered. While computers can do a lot, it is ALWAYS better to have a human review the dispute and consider how to resolve it.
From my experience, computer processed disputes are not as successful as ones handled by actual humans. Often, the details behind the dispute matter. And, some disputes do not fit neatly into a computer category. The online dispute system also does not allow for a large number of disputes on a single item. Even if there are multiple errors in a tradeline, disputing online will limit the number of errors you can assign to that item.
Second, you give up all kinds of rights if you dispute online. Most notably, you give up the right to a jury trial if the dispute is not handled correctly by the Bureau.
The FCRA gives consumers all kinds of rights when it comes to credit disputes. These include monetary damages and attorneys fees. Many of these rights are waived when you dispute online. Again, online disputes favor the Bureaus, not the consumers.
Finally, an online dispute does not create a solid paper trail. When you dispute via the mail, you have correspondence that you can use in a subsequent suit against the Bureaus. Disputing online does not create the same paper trail and makes a subsequent case harder to prove.
In short, online credit disputes:
1) Are less effective than disputes handled by humans;
2) Cause the consumer to waive important legal rights; and
3) Lack a paper trail of the dispute.
While it might require more effort to find an envelope, a stamp and actually write a letter, it is always better to dispute inaccurate credit items via snail mail than to do so online.