Credit report disputes are inaccuracies on your credit report that can have a big impact on many areas of life....why?
Your credit report is information compiled about you by the credit bureaus.
This information is supplied by your current creditors and public
records about the way you pay and frequency of bill paying, judgments
and suits brought against you in court, bankruptcy ect.
This information is then sold to other creditors and increasingly other persons and businesses such as employers, insurers and landlords.
If your information is incorrect it will give the wrong impression of you, your payment habits and general financial responsibility resulting in higher rates on loans, higher security deposit on an apartment, higher rates on insurance and even a denial depending on the situation.
So clearing up these credit report errors is a must and a regular review of your report is strongly suggested!
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) the bureau that reports the inaccuracies and the creditor that provides the information are those responsible to correct these mistakes.
Depending on your situation you may have a credit report
dispute as a result of a loan denial as a consequence of errors on your report. Or
perhaps recent news items about the frequency of errors simply have you
worried about the accuracy of your own credit report.
It is best in all cases to obtain all three credit reports and carefully scrutinize them for errors.
If you do indeed find errors then you will want to prepare and send a dispute letter.
You will need to make copies of the credit report. One for yourself and one to send.
You should highlight or circle OR highlight and circle the errors you find.
Its a good idea but not required to call both the creditor that provided the information and the bureau that reported the info.
In your credit report dispute you will want to include COPIES (you keep the originals)of any supporting documents that substantiate your claim such as the last statement sent showing a zero balance on your account, canceled checks ect.
On the letter you enclose you will list first
Below that you will put the address of the credit bureau that you are addressing this to.
Dear Madam or sirs;
I am writing to dispute an item in my credit report.
The account status that you have reported should be updated.
A statement of what is wrong (late payments missed payment balance left on account paid in full ect.)
Company or Creditor name
the account number
status shown on the report
Enclosed is a copy of my report with this item circled. Please investigate this immediately and update my account accordingly.
Please send me a copy of your investigation results and an updated copy of my credit report.
Make a copy of the letter also and keep these in a readily accessible file as you may likely be following up this dispute with a request for their findings.
Send this letter by certified mail with a return receipt request.
This way you will have proof that you sent these items and that they were received by the intended party.
The credit bureau by way of the FCRA has 30 days yet I am increasingly hearing that the number may be 45 days to investigate and respond with the results of that investigation.
Please note that there may be items that you do not have the documentation to argue your point.
The FCRA says that as long as they are not frivolous meaning you are quite sure it is wrong and it can't be brought against you that you bring up disputes just for your own good.
The credit bureau still has to investigate and if it cannot bring up verifiable information to back their side of the dispute they have to delete it.
Another thing to note is that even though the written letter credit report dispute is suggested by the federal trade commission Experian does not accept this.
They will only accept an online credit file investigation request form.
P.O. Box 740256
Atlanta, GA. 30374-0241
2 Baldwin Place
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA. 19022
At Experian you will be given three options
One being a page that will ask you to have a current copy of your credit report (less than 90 days) with a report number at top (you will have this if it's your free yearly report from them).
2nd is if you have purchased product from them you can just log in to your account and hit the dispute button.
Lastly there's the buy our products option. If you don't have a current copy you can buy one from them but you don't want to do that if you still have the option of getting your free yearly one.
Also if you have been turned down for credit you have 60 days from that denial to request a current copy from the bureau that had the information that led to your denial.
If it happened to be experian then use that option first and then attack the inaccuracy after you receive it.
You will want to follow up on the credit report dispute if needed. If after the 30 day period you have not received the results of the investigation you should send another letter.
You may want to call first in case of their possibly taking the 45 days and snail mail does take it's time.
If needed write another letter stating that you have not received the investigation results, send a copy of the original correspondence and the date originally sent.
Again ask for the results and an updated copy of your credit report.
and your signature
has a dispute result area on their website and reports that most
disputes are handled in a much shorter time than 30 days.
If upon receiving the results and you are still not happy, FCRA states you may add a statement about negative items.
It has to be brief and explain why you think the item is inaccurate.
If after sending the follow up letter to the initial credit report dispute letter and still no results of the investigation are received (though this is highly unlikely) the next step would be to submit a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission.