The Ethics of Disputing your credit report

How’s that for a unique topic?

In GQ I started this thread about the fraudulent nature of disputing credit reports or ChexSystems reports when the data contained within was indeed true.

I also put up the topic of the ethics of it, but I knew that the topic could not get fair treatment in GQ, so, to truly get a good cross-section of this, I’m putting it to this forum to see if it sinks or swims.

I won’t put my situation forward, just a hypothetical:

You have some damaging information on your credit report that is several years old, but is 100% accurate. Every ‘i’ dotted, every ‘t’ crossed. This information, however, is causing you some discomfort. Under US Law, you can dispute the item if you believe it is inaccurate, and the company that put the information on your report has 30 days to reply, explaining and providing proof as to why you the data is correct. If they fail to do so, in the 30 days, the reporting agency must pull the data off your report.

So, you know the data is 100% correct, but by disputing it, you are betting on the fact that the company, being a giant slow moving bohemeth, with record keeping that probably isn’t up to par, and better things to do than answer 3 year old disputes that have been settled, will take longer than 30 days to reply to the investigation, and will, possibly, ignore it all together.

Is it ethical to dispute this charge as erroneous, even when you know beyond a shadow of a doubt it is 100% accurate.

In a dispute letter you must provide a reason for the investigation, but you could get around this by saying something very general like “I request that this item be re investigated under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.”

The GQ discussion also bordered on the ethical quandary “If you broke the law and got caught, and go to court, is it illegal to plead not guilty, when you damn well know you are guilty.” (To remove the ethical delima of being an ethical murder, say the charge is speeding, and you’re going to court because you can’t afford to pay the fine.)

My take, though I’m certainly open to argument, is this. If I don’t lie in my dispute claim, I’m not being unethical. I’m just requesting that the agency actually investigate and ensure that what they say is true, is true. If the system is slow moving, and the law favors me after a 30 day period, then so much to my benefit, but unless I intentionally lie, there’s nothing unethical about just requesting the investigation.

Same for the court thing. When I plead “Not Guilty” I am not saying “I didn’t do this!” I’m saying “I don’t believe a court of law can prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that I did this, and I challenge you to do so. IOW, I am not legally culpable for this crime and place the burden on you to prove I am.” If I agreed to testify, and was asked if I did it, I could only ethically say “yes” or take the 5th, but I can ethically plead however I wish.

Any thoughts?

Exactly. What you are saying is “prove it”, which is well within your rights.

If those reports were generally correct- well, then I could see someone saying that’s not ethical Thye’d be wrong, but I coudl understand the feelings. But credit reports often contain glaring inaccuarcies, some of which are so obvious that the Credit reporting agency should have caught it. Some other errors are Derogs which are clearly well past 7 years, but the Debtor reports them anyway, in the faint hope you might pay them some cash. If the debtors, debt collectors and the Credit reporting agencies had a shred of ethics, then i can see how things might be different. But they don’t, and sometimes you have to get dirty when you wrestle with the pigs. :smiley: