Duplicate items on a credit report can be frustrating for consumers who are trying to maintain or improve their credit scores. Duplicate items can occur when the same account or debt is reported multiple times by a creditor or credit bureau. This can negatively impact a person’s credit score, as it may appear that they have more debt or credit accounts than they actually do. In this article, we will discuss how long duplicate items remain on a credit report and what consumers can do to remove them.
What are Duplicate Items on a Credit Report?
Duplicate items on a credit report occur when the same account or debt is reported more than once. This can happen for a variety of reasons, including:
- The creditor accidentally reporting the same account multiple times
- The same debt being sold or transferred to different debt collectors or agencies
- The credit bureau accidentally adding the same account to the report multiple times
- Identity theft or fraud
Regardless of the reason, having duplicate items on a credit report can have negative consequences for a consumer’s credit score. This is because it may appear that they have more debt or credit accounts than they actually do, which can negatively impact their debt-to-income ratio and credit utilization.
How Long do Duplicate Items Remain on a Credit Report?
The length of time that duplicate items remain on a credit report can vary depending on the type of item and the credit bureau reporting it. Generally speaking, duplicate items should only remain on a credit report for a short period of time before they are removed.
According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), credit bureaus are required to investigate any disputes regarding inaccurate information on a credit report within 30 days. This means that if a consumer disputes a duplicate item on their credit report, the credit bureau must investigate the dispute and either remove the item or provide evidence that it is accurate within 30 days.
If the credit bureau finds that the duplicate item is inaccurate or incorrect, they are required to remove it from the consumer’s credit report. The item should then be permanently deleted from the credit report within a reasonable amount of time, typically within 30 to 45 days.
However, it is important to note that if the duplicate item is not disputed, it may remain on the credit report indefinitely. This is why it is important for consumers to regularly review their credit reports and dispute any inaccurate or duplicate items as soon as possible.
How to Remove Duplicate Items from a Credit Report
If a consumer finds a duplicate item on their credit report, they should immediately dispute it with the credit bureau that is reporting the item. This can typically be done online, over the phone, or by mail.
When disputing a duplicate item, the consumer should provide as much information as possible, including the account number, creditor name, and any documentation that supports their dispute. The credit bureau will then investigate the dispute and either remove the item or provide evidence that it is accurate within 30 days.
If the credit bureau removes the duplicate item from the consumer’s credit report, it is important to verify that it has been permanently deleted. Consumers should review their credit report regularly to ensure that all inaccurate or duplicate items have been removed.
Duplicate items on a credit report can negatively impact a consumer’s credit score and should be addressed as soon as possible. While the length of time that duplicate items remain on a credit report can vary, credit bureaus are required to investigate any disputes regarding inaccurate information within 30 days. Consumers should regularly review their credit reports and dispute any inaccurate or duplicate items to ensure that their credit score is accurate and reflective of their creditworthiness.