The e-Oscar method of investigating credit disputes may be the reason your credit dispute was verified as being accurate when you are positive a mistake has occurred. Credit reporting agencies (CRAs) have created an automated computerized system of dealing with consumer credit disputes.
e-OSCAR enables Experian, Transunion, Equifax, and other consumer reporting agencies to create and respond to consumer credit history disputes automatically, without conducting an real investigation.
The e-Oscar method of investigation converts written dispute letters into a two or three digit code, thereby eliminating the CRA’s responsibility to conduct real investigations in compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
The e-Oscar (Online Solution for Complete and Accurate Reporting) system is utilized even when consumers send in detailed disputes, with supporting documents. The dispute is broken down into a two or three digit code and sent to the original creditor to verify a simple code, failing the duty to investigate.
Consumer Dispute Verification Form
The CRAs use a form called Consumer Dispute Verification (CDV) to communicate disputes to data furnishers of the disputed information. Data furnishers can be original creditors, debt collectors or any other entity that reports information to your credit file. The automated version of the form is called Automated Consumer Dispute Verification (ACDV). The process by which the CRAs open an investigation with the original creditor or furnisher of the information is by transmitting the ACDV via the E-Oscar system.
Why e-Oscar is Problematic
Consumer credit disputes can be unique and complex. Many dispute letters are accompanied by supporting documents and proof which is imperative to getting an error corrected. The e-Oscar method of investigation reduces often detailed credit disputes to a two or three digit code by an overworked, time constricted credit bureau employee. It is totally in their discretion what code best describes the dispute.
The E-Oscar code is transmitted to the data furnisher and no supporting documentation that may have been submitted by the consumer is sent. That supporting documentation is crucial to correcting errors. It is often conclusive proof that an error has occurred; and, that error should be corrected or deleted. This practice is a direct violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. No real investigation was ever conducted.
To make matters worse, out of the possible codes the credit reporting agencies can use, they use the same 4 codes “for nearly 90% of all disputes.” The percentage breakdown of commonly used codes by the credit reporting agencies is as follows:
Not his/hers 30.5%
This information comes from written testimony before the House Committee on Financial Services regarding “Fair Credit Reporting Act: How it Functions for Consumers and the Economy” submitted by Leonard A. Bennett of Consumer Litigation Associates on June 19, 2007.
Results of E-Oscar Disputes
Often consumers get the results of an investigation stating the account was verified by the creditor without any details of the investigation, who was contacted and what information was obtained to verify the account as accurate. Because of the E-Oscar system consumers get frustrated with the dispute process and sometimes give up. Don’t give up! Exercise your rights under the FCRA, Section 611 (a)(6) and (7) and request the credit reporting agency give you the “Method of Verification.”
Upgrade to E-Oscar
In a December 2012 report, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) reviewed the fact that the “e-OSCAR” system did not provide a means for credit reporting companies to forward to furnishers (anyone who provides information to the credit bureaus) any documents submitted by consumers.
The CFPB has been working to ensure the dispute process be improved and as a result, the “e-OSCAR” system has been upgraded so that the credit bureaus can now send furnishers any relevant dispute documents mailed in by consumers. The CFPB continues to work with the credit bureaus to ensure the dispute process is improved on behalf of consumers.
As you can see credit repair can be complex and may call for several strategies, knowledge of credit laws and patience. Sometimes you have to let a professional handle your credit repair needs.