The items listed on your credit report are extremely important to your credit rating. This information can very well determine whether or not you will be eligible for a line of credit, mortgage, car loan, credit card, etc.
Disputing inaccuracies and correcting any errors will raise credit score. For example, one late loan payment correction can increase your credit score by as much as 40 points. So you will want to make sure everything on this report remains as accurate as possible.
Sometimes your credit report may contain inaccurate information. The good news is that you are giving the right by the Fair Credit Reporting Act to dispute these mistakes so you can get them fixed in a timely matter. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) acknowledges the fact that sometimes creditors make mistakes, but this should not be tolerated as it may affect ones life for years to come.
Here is what the FTC says:
“Your credit report contains information about where you live, how you pay your bills, and whether you’ve been sued or arrested, or have filed for bankruptcy. Consumer reporting companies sell the information in your report to creditors, insurers, employers, and other businesses that use it to evaluate your applications for credit, insurance, employment, or renting a home. The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) promotes the accuracy and privacy of information in the files of the nation’s consumer reporting companies.”
So how do you do this?
Well, to dispute an item on your credit report you simply need file a dispute letter to the credit bureau that is reporting the inaccurate information. If this happens to be all three bureaus, than make sure you send this letter to all three to ensure everyone is aware of the problem. Most creditors will do a thorough review of your report from all three bureaus because sometimes only one of them is reporting a bad debt. This could easily cause you to disqualify for the loan or credit card you were trying to obtain.
With the dispute letter it is wise of you to include documents that will help support your claim such as voided check stubs or maybe even a copy of your bank statements. Also make sure you include in great detail the reason why you are disputing these items. the credit bureaus will then go ahead and research the dispute, and if inaccuracies are found, they will reverse the negative mark and release it from your report.
If you go to the FTC website you will find an example of a dispute letter you can use. Here is some more information from the FTC about disputing false items on your report:
“Consumer reporting companies must investigate the items in question — usually within 30 days — unless they consider your dispute frivolous. They also must forward all the relevant data you provide about the inaccuracy to the organization that provided the information. After the information provider receives notice of a dispute from the consumer reporting company, it must investigate, review the relevant information, and report the results back to the consumer reporting company. If the information provider finds the disputed information is inaccurate, it must notify all three nationwide consumer reporting companies so they can correct the information in your file.”
Now that you know the basics on how to dispute items on your credit report, you should have no problem getting inaccurate information removed from your report. Many professionals also suggest that everyone check their credit report at least one time per year to make sure nothing is being reported that shouldn’t be. The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires that all three credit bureaus, Transunion, Equifax, and Experian provide a free copy of this report to consumers once every twelve months.
How to get your free credit report:
The three nationwide consumer reporting companies have set up a central website, a toll-free telephone number, and a mailing address through which you can order your free annual report.
To order, visit annualcreditreport.com, call 1-877-322-8228, or complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mail it to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. The form is on the back of this brochure; or you can print it from ftc.gov/bcp/conline/edcams/credit. Do not contact the three nationwide consumer reporting companies individually. They are providing free annual credit reports only through annualcreditreport.com, 1-877-322-8228, and Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.
Here is a free copy of a credit repair dispute letter that you can modify to use:
Dear Credit Bureau,
This letter is to inform you of issues regarding my credit and your reporting methods that are negatively affecting me at this time.
I was informed after applying for a loan that my credit scores were too low and was denied the loan because of these credit issues. After requesting the credit reports and reviewing them extensively, I had noticed several errors.
These errors I feel are due to mistakes by your bureau and I and requesting that these these errors be corrected as soon as possible.
There are several addresses that I do not recognize:
The following public records I have no knowledge of:
The following accounts are not mine:
I am requesting that these these accounts are verified by your firm. Please forward me all applicable information in regards to these accounts.
Including but not limited to:
- The name and current address of the party
- Account number
- Method of verification
- Reported 1st delinquency
I appreciate your time in responding to this matter.