Dealing with an error on your credit report can be an incredibly frustrating process.
The amount of people who have errors on their credit report is shocking. An FTC study from 2012 revealed that 26% of people had at least one error on their credit report that was serious enough to decrease their overall credit rating. One out of five respondents in the study also had gone through the process of having an error corrected.
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), credit reporting agencies such as Equifax, Experian and TransUnion must conduct an investigation within 30 days when you dispute an error. At the end of the day, the bureaus will end up taking the word of the lender who provided the wrong information if they don’t admit a mistake and you didn’t provide evidence.
Some people end up having to waste countless hours sending multiple reports to actually get anything accomplished.
This guide is designed to help you ensure that you take all the correct steps to help get things moving faster.
1. Get An Up-to-Date Credit Report Directly From The Credit Bureau
The credit report that you use to dispute an error should be up to date and ordered directly from the credit bureau you are reaching out to. This will help your claim go smoother as the credit bureaus can make better sense of their own reports.
By law, you can request a free credit report once every twelve months or within 60 days after being turned down for a line of credit.
2. Highlight Errors Directly on The Report and Make Copies
With your new report, very carefully read every item on the report, keeping a close eye out for errors.
Common errors on your credit report to look out for include:
- Incorrect name, address or phone number
- Accounts belonging to someone with a similar name
- Accounts that were closed that are reported as open
- Accounts incorrectly reporting late payments or delinquency
- Accounts with incorrect current balance or credit limit
- Debts listed more than once
To make it easy for the credit bureau to identify the list items you are referencing, highlight the errors and put a number next to each. Be sure you make multiple backup copies of the credit report with your highlights to refer back to if your dispute claim is denied.
3. Collect Evidence to Back Up Your Claim
In order to properly dispute an item on your credit report, you must include as many pieces of evidence as possible. In the case that you have been denied credit because of a false item on your report, include any denial of credit letters you have received.
Evidence could include credit card statements, receipts of payment, bank statements, loan documents, legal identification documents or divorce paperwork.
Always send copies of documents with your claim, never the originals.
4. Skip Online – Mail Printed Dispute Credit Report Letter
While the credit bureaus all allow you to dispute credit report items online, it is recommended that you write a letter instead. The online process tends to limit how much you can write about your claim, making it hard to dispute an error resulting from a complex situation.
The online dispute process also sometimes requires you to accept an arbitration clause. This means you would be waiving your right to sue in the event that a credit bureau repeatedly refuses to remove an error on your report that damages your finances.
Your letter should reference the error in the report and clearly link that error to specific pieces of evidence you have included. Be sure to tell the story start to finish, and reference any previous claims you had made. It is recommended as well to keep the language in the letter as simple as possible.
Before you mail your dispute, make sure you check the credit bureau’s dispute information to ensure you include all the necessary forms, information, and documentation:
If your credit report has multiple errors you need to dispute, it is recommended to mail a separate letter for each error along with the appropriate evidence.
Make sure you send all letters to the credit bureaus by certified mail so you get a receipt that your dispute was received. Keep all these receipts in case you need to refer to these claims down the line.
5. Determine if You Should Contact The Lender or Debt Collection Agency
If a specific lender or debt collector is misreporting your credit history, send them a copy of your dispute documents as well. These data furnishers are also required by law to investigate a dispute, and ensuring both they and the credit bureau have the same information can make the process easier.
You should also use certified mail for this correspondence as well so the data furnisher cannot claim they didn’t receive the information.
6. Keep Track of Everything
Last but not least, keep everything organized.
It may take several tries to get an error on your credit report repaired. You may need to refer back to letters and evidence you submitted. Keep it all together and keep track of the certified mail tracking numbers!
Is There an Easier Way?
You may need to try various tactics to get your credit report error removed. In extreme cases where your finances are severely harmed by errors that were reported but never removed you can sue the credit bureau. For some people, getting an error removed can take years.
You’ve probably heard of credit repair and wonder if credit repair companies can actually fix your credit. The answer is yes! navigating the web of credit bureaus and lenders to get errors removed from reports is their specialty.
There are plenty of credit repair scams out there, but a legitimate credit repair company has the expertise and inside knowledge to ensure your errors are removed and your credit score bounces back quickly.
At RepairCreditQuick we partner with the top-rated credit repair companies in the country. Connect with one of our agents and we’ll provide you with a free credit report and free consultation to identify credit report errors and help you plot a path to clean up your credit rating.