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Through my ex-wife's shenanigans I've had an entry on my credit report for around $400 for about a year. I think she wrote a check on an account that we've once had together, but was closed in 2007. In 2010, someone (assuming my ex) wrote a check to a department store. Of course, it bounced and had been handled by a check processing company called Certegy. They promptly put the incident on my credit report.

A year later, I started going through all the stuff on my credit report. Most of the BS items are off my report now, except for this item. I've called Certegy numerous times, furnished various proofs, they requested, etc... Everytime I call, I speak to someone else who is completely clueless and demands the same information over and over again.

The bottom line is that I am being given a run around and the item is still on my credit report.

What are remedies that I have for this kind of a problem? Can I file a lawsuit in a small claims court?

P.S. I did dispute it via the credit reporting agencies, but all they do is confirm with the information furnisher that information is legit.

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Short Answer: If your claim is that it is your ex-wife's debt and not yours, maybe you just need to send a copy of the divorce papers with your dispute to the credit agency to show it isn't your debt. You were already divorced when the debt was incurred, right?

Longer Answer: For others wanting to initiate the dispute process.

Source: US Federal Trade Commission Web Site.

How To Dispute Credit Report Errors

Correcting Errors

Under the FCRA, both the credit reporting company and the information provider (that is, the person, company, or organization that provides information about you to a credit reporting company) are responsible for correcting inaccurate or incomplete information in your report. To take advantage of all your rights under this law, contact the credit reporting company and the information provider.

Step One

Tell the credit reporting company, in writing, what information you think is inaccurate. Include copies (NOT originals) of documents that support your position. In addition to providing your complete name and address, your letter should clearly identify each item in your report you dispute, state the facts and explain why you dispute the information, and request that it be removed or corrected. You may want to enclose a copy of your report with the items in question circled. Your letter may look something like the one below. Send your letter by certified mail, “return receipt requested,” so you can document what the credit reporting company received. Keep copies of your dispute letter and enclosures.

Credit reporting companies must investigate the items in question — usually within 30 days — unless they consider your dispute frivolous. They also must forward all the relevant data you provide about the inaccuracy to the organization that provided the information. After the information provider receives notice of a dispute from the credit reporting company, it must investigate, review the relevant information, and report the results back to the credit reporting company. If the information provider finds the disputed information is inaccurate, it must notify all three nationwide credit reporting companies so they can correct the information in your file.

When the investigation is complete, the credit reporting company must give you the results in writing and a free copy of your report if the dispute results in a change. This free report does not count as your annual free report. If an item is changed or deleted, the credit reporting company cannot put the disputed information back in your file unless the information provider verifies that it is accurate and complete. The credit reporting company also must send you written notice that includes the name, address, and phone number of the information provider.

If you ask, the credit reporting company must send notices of any corrections to anyone who received your report in the past six months. You can have a corrected copy of your report sent to anyone who received a copy during the past two years for employment purposes.

If an investigation doesn’t resolve your dispute with the credit reporting company, you can ask that a statement of the dispute be included in your file and in future reports. You also can ask the credit reporting company to provide your statement to anyone who received a copy of your report in the recent past. You can expect to pay a fee for this service.

Step Two

Tell the creditor or other information provider, in writing, that you dispute an item. Be sure to include copies (NOT originals) of documents that support your position. Many providers specify an address for disputes. If the provider reports the item to a credit reporting company, it must include a notice of your dispute. And if you are correct — that is, if the information is found to be inaccurate — the information provider may not report it again.

Be sure to check out the site linked above. It even includes a template dispute letter that you can use.

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