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I have been fighting off an erroneous derogatory comment (collections) on my credit reports for the past few months. Two of the agencies have removed the item and I expect the third to follow suit shortly.

I don't know how the party that placed the comment reacts/cares to these things happening, but I would like to know if they are now effectively prevented from re-adding the same item back to my credit report.

I assume that the bureaus have a record of 'invalid' accounts/reports that will prevent it from ever showing up again, but I haven't dealt with this before and I'd like to know if I should expect to have to fight every year/quarter/whenever.

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It would appear that you are safe! Here's what the Federal Trade Commission says on the matter:

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.

  • That "unless" clause is pretty vague. – Rakurai Jul 29 '17 at 12:25
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When you dispute an item on your credit report, the credit bureau informs the entity that reported the item that the account is in dispute, and asks for "verification" of the accuracy and validity of the account. The reporting entity (whether original creditor or collection agency) then has 30 days (45 for free annual reports) to do one of three things: verify that the account is accurate, update the account information, or request its removal.

If the entity does not respond to the verification request, the account is removed and the entity no longer has the legal right to report it. To do so would be in violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Here's the big HOWEVER. The entity that owns the account can simply sell it to another collection agency. That agency can then list the account as a collection, and may be more prompt about responding to validation requests. You see this frequently with junk debt buyers that pay pennies on the dollar for accounts that other collectors have given up on.

Short answer: disputed accounts that the credit bureau removes can be added again, but not by the same collection agency.

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