Moving Beyond Stall Letters

We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but credit companies have never been your best friend. One of the reasons may be the fact that they hold a lot of control over a certain item that many people are fearful about: the credit report. In a perfect world, creditors would report only correct information on our credit reports and all would account as it should. Unfortunately, this world is far from perfect, and any disputes that we may have are not easy ones to settle.

When filing a dispute, the most common item the consumer will receive is a “stall letter.” When disputes are submitted by consumers, the bureaus will send out a vague response that most commonly says something like, “We’ve already verified this item” or, “We find this dispute to be frivolous.” To frustrate a consumer further, they are not informed how the bureau came to that conclusion, but these are the only statements bureaus are allowed to make as efforts to reject a dispute. An investigation costs money for both the bureaus and creditors, and they will use every power within their means to halt a dispute in the early stages. This irritating tactic is often a defective deterrent that buys time or chases the consumer away.

Do not let their “frivolous” statements discourage your efforts to dispute. Once the credit company realizes that their stall letter is not working – which requires you to send another letter disputing the item more aggressively – what usually follows is a request for proof of your identity. By having proof of identification on hand ahead of time, you can respond immediately and thwart the credit company’s efforts to stall for extended lengths of time. Do not let their evasive methods fool you; these companies are required to look into your dispute and investigate it as many times as you deem necessary, whether you have proof or not. As a consumer, you have the right to verify the information on your credit report and the bureau is required by law to accommodate. The burden of proof lays on them, not on you.

As a consumer, although you have the right to dispute multiple items as you see fit, this is not typically the most effective maneuver. When several disputes are received at once, you are more likely to get stall letters than anything else. The bureau will attack with their frivolous statements once again, but this time they will have reason to believe that your disputes are frivolous or designed to misdirect. Multiple disputes may also trigger internal concerns that slow the whole process.

Our advice? Be smart about what you dispute as a consumer, but never shy away from keeping creditors on their toes.