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A while back, I was moving to a new city. At the point when I got around to applying for an apartment, I had never checked my credit before. I was denied the apartment due to credit, and started looking into it. Turns out my credit account had gotten combined with someone else's in all three bureaus. I started the months-long process of proving my identity, disputing claims, etc.

I eventually got it mostly resolved, but there was one particular entry in one bureau that just wouldn't go away. It was a collection agency collecting for an unpaid medical bill (not mine). With the information given by the credit bureau, I could call the agency, give them my information, and be told that no, the account in question was not mine. But every time I called the credit bureau to dispute the item, a few weeks later I would get the response that they had confirmed that the account belonged to me (well after the other person's personal information had been removed from the credit report). I did this at least three times... each time I would call and plead to escalate the issue, I would be told that all they could do was send it through the dispute process again.

Is there any other recourse when the credit bureau's dispute process is failing?

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    Have you tried talking directly with the hospital (I am assuming it is a hospital)? I was in a similar situation, but with a store card. A 3k debt, and the bureaus did not wanted to remove it from my credit report citing that the claim was "frivolous". After filing a police report, the police officer gave me the phone number for the fraud department of this store card, and after they investigated, they removed the account from my credit. – scubaFun Jul 27 '15 at 16:05
  • @scubaFun I have to admit that never occurred to me. I'm not sure I even know what medical facility the claim originated from. I assumed that after it was turned over to collections, they more or less washed their hands of it. – glibdud Jul 27 '15 at 16:21
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    In some cases (at least in my experience), the original creditor is listed with the collection entry on your credit report. You can try to check that on your credit report. If this does not work for you, then you can contact the collection agency directly, and they must provide information regarding who is the entity that send the account to collection. See the "Communicating with Creditors and Debt Collectors" section on this link: identitytheft.gov/know-your-rights.html. It might help. – scubaFun Jul 27 '15 at 16:45
  • @scubaFun You should make an answer from your comments. – Eric Jul 27 '15 at 18:31
  • Agreed, but I'm still interested in whether there's a "next step" with the credit bureaus. – glibdud Jul 27 '15 at 18:32
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I was I a similar position as you, and sometimes credit bureaus might be difficult to deal with, especially when high amounts of money are involved.

To make the long story short, someone opened a store credit card under my name and made a charge of around 3k. After reporting this to the bureaus, they did not want to remove the account from my credit report citing that the claim was "frivolous". After filing a police report, the police officer gave me the phone number for the fraud department of this store credit card, and after they investigated, they removed the account from my credit.

I would suggest to do the following:

  1. Go and talk directly with the hospital / organization / business where the medical bill was created. If you do not know the information of this organization, you can either look into your credit report, and see the original creditor name on the collection entry, or you can contact the collection agency, and they are in the obligation to provide information regarding who is the organization that send the account to collection. See the "Communicating with Creditors and Debt Collectors" section on this link. This section says:

Communicating with Creditors and Debt Collectors

You have the right to:

Stop creditors and debt collectors from reporting fraudulent accounts. After you give them a copy of a valid identity theft report, they may not report fraudulent accounts to the credit reporting companies. Get copies of documents related to the theft of your identity, like transaction records or applications for new accounts. Write to the company that has the documents, and include a copy of your identity theft report. You also can tell the company to give the documents to a specific law enforcement agency. Stop a debt collector from contacting you. In most cases, debt collectors must stop contacting you after you send them a letter telling them to stop. Get written information from a debt collector about a debt, including the name of the creditor and the amount you supposedly owe. If a debt collector contacts you about a debt, request this information in writing.

  1. If after dealing with the hospital / organization / business, they still decide to not remove the collection from your report, then the last resort is to sue them, but this will involve costly attorney fees.

I know that you said that the main problem was that your credit account was combined with another. But there might be a chance that identity theft was involved. If this is the case, and you can prove it, then you might have access to more tools to help you. For example, you can file a report with the FTC, and along with a police report, this can be a powerful tool in stopping these charges. Feel free to go to the identitytheft.gov website for more information.

  • For what it's worth, I'm reasonably certain my case wasn't identity theft. The personal info was close, but not quite close enough to be deliberate (different middle initial, different last 4 of SSN, addresses on the other side of the state, etc.). Good info, though. – glibdud Jul 28 '15 at 12:17

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