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WHAT SHOULD YOU DO WHEN YOU FIND ERRORS ON YOUR CREDIT REPORT?

What should you do when you find errors on your credit report?

When you find an error on your credit report, you should dispute the incorrect information!  Why?  Inaccurate or incomplete information can lower your credit score and keep you from getting credit, a job or insurance.  Under federal law, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), you have the right to dispute inaccurate or incomplete information in your credit report.

Who should you make the dispute to?

You should dispute the credit report error to the credit reporting agency, such as Experian, Equifax or TransUnion, that is reporting the incorrect information.

You can also dispute the incorrect information directly with the furnisher of the information – the creditor who is giving the wrong information to the credit reporting agency.  However, the furnisher does not have any duties under the FCRA until you make your dispute to the credit reporting agency!

By disputing the incorrect information on your credit report to the credit reporting agency, the credit bureau must investigate your dispute.  The investigation should result in a deletion of the incorrect information.  When the incorrect information comes off of your report, your credit score should go up.  You do not need to hire a credit repair company to do this.  It’s your credit report and your right under federal law to send the dispute and the credit bureau must investigate your dispute free of charge!

How should I dispute the incorrect info in my credit report?

Your credit report dispute should be made in writing.  The dispute letter is simple to write and I have a free sample dispute letter to use as a go by for dispute letters to credit reporting agencies.  Click HERE for the sample dispute letter. 

In addition to the dispute letter, you should make a copy of your credit report pages that contain errors.  Circle the incorrect information so the credit agencies’ vendors who process disputes will see exactly what information you are disputing.  If the credit bureau provides you with a dispute form with your report you can complete it and attach it to the letter.  Remember, you should also request the credit agency to hide or redact the first 5 digits of your Social Security number on your report.  

Next, you should include documents that support your dispute.  For example, if your cable company says you did not return your cable box and charges you for it, but you have proof that you returned the box – attach it to your dispute letter.  Or, if a creditor says you did not make a timely payment, but you have a cancelled check, include a copy of the check with your dispute letter.  If your dispute involves personal information like current address, enclose a copy of your driver’s license or a recent utility bill to verify your resident. Make sure the utility bill is in your name.

Make a copy of your letter, credit report and supporting documents.  You may need proof of the dispute if the furnisher or the credit reporting agency does not perform a reasonable investigation.

Send the dispute letter and supporting documents certified mail, return receipt requested.  This will document the date you disputed the information and the date the credit reporting agency received your dispute.  This is important because federal law requires the credit reporting agencies to timely investigate consumer disputes, generally, within 30-45 days.

We do not recommend making disputes online!  The credit reporting agencies say online disputes are resolved faster, but it is difficult for you to maintain a record of the dispute.  Also, credit reporting agencies are beginning to include arbitration provisions in their terms of use with consumers.  Do not give up your rights by agreeing to arbitration, especially your right to a jury trial!

After the credit reporting agency receives your dispute, the credit bureau should conduct an investigation.  Part of the investigation occurs when the bureau contacts the furnisher of the information disputed.  This is usually done using an automated system.  The furnisher must timely investigate the dispute and report its findings to the credit reporting agency.  This is only part of the investigation process – the credit reporting agency must perform its own investigation and cannot merely “parrot” the furnishers’ findings.

Once the investigation is completed, the credit bureau must notify you of the results of its investigation.  If the disputed information is determined to inaccurate, then under federal law, it has to be removed from your credit report.  If the information is verified and no change is made, you have the right to send a second dispute and include a statement on your report about the incorrect information.  

HAVE YOU DISPUTED ERRORS ON YOUR CREDIT REPORT?  DID THE CREDIT REPORTING AGENCY REMOVE THE INACCURATE INFORMATION AFTER RECEIVING YOUR DISPUTE?  IF NO, CONTACT FCRA ATTORNEY MICAH ADKINS FOR A FREE CONSULTATION.

1-800-263-9091. AGENTS ARE AVAILABLE 24/7 TO TAKE YOUR CALL

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