Credit Report Errors
It is possible for incorrect or outdated information to appear on your credit report. If it does, it can drastically lower your chances of getting the loans, credit cards, and other credit products you deserve. If you find an error, take the following steps to fix it as soon as possible.
Please note: It’s important to keep a record of everything you do. Send all correspondences return receipt requested, and make copies of any letters or documents you send. Never send original documents.
Contact the Creditor Regarding the Problem
In most cases, you should contact the appropriate creditor or lender before contacting a credit reporting agency. Most large creditors have standard procedures for customers to dispute items on their account. If you have proof that the item in question is incorrect, it should be resolved quickly.
If the creditor finds that the disputed information is indeed incorrect, the creditor is required under the Fair Credit Reporting Act to update its records both internally and with the credit reporting agencies it deals with, usually within 30 days.
Always follow up your phone calls with a letter. List each disputed item, and state how it is inaccurate, attaching copies of all relevant documents. Include your full name, account number, the dollar amount in question, and the reason you believe the item is wrong. Be concise.
If Necessary, Contact the Credit Reporting Agency
If you cannot resolve the problem with the lender, contact the credit reporting agency that is reporting the item in question. You will need a printed copy of your credit report from them, which you may be eligible to receive free of change.
After you send written documentation of the inaccuracy, the credit reporting agency will review it. If further investigation is required, they will provide notification of your dispute, including the relevant information you submitted, to the source that furnished the disputed information to them.
The source will then review the information, conduct their own investigation, and report back. The credit reporting agency will then make all appropriate changes to your credit file based on the investigation, and notify you of the update.
Contact the Other Credit Reporting Agencies
If you find an inaccuracy with one credit bureau, you may want to get your credit report from the other two agencies to see if their reports contain the same error. After you’ve corrected an error with one agency, the other agencies should eventually receive the corrected information. But for prompt correction, it’s best to contact each of the three agencies yourself:
Trans Union 800/916-8800
Ensure that the Error Is Fixed
Within a month of your inquiry, the credit reporting agency should notify you of the results of its investigation and provide you with a new credit report free of charge. Examine it carefully to ensure that the inaccuracies have been fixed or removed.
If the error has been fixed, you can have the credit reporting agency send the corrected report to anyone who received the inaccurate report in the past six months (two years in the case of employers).
If You Cannot Resolve a Disputed Item
You have the right to attach a 100-word statement, free of charge, explaining the nature of your disagreement. Your statement will become part of your credit file, and will be included each time your credit file is accessed.