How to Dispute Credit Report Information
If you find information on your credit report that shouldn’t be there, you can request that it be removed in a process called a dispute. To dispute credit report information, you must contact the credit bureau whose report you found to be inaccurate.
It is important to check the accuracy of your credit reports from the three major credit bureaus, Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. You can do this once a year by requesting a free credit report from each bureau at AnnualCreditReport.com. Older or incorrect entries, such as late payment late reporting, or the creditor account being opened even though you have paid it, can lower your credit score. Correcting these issues, in turn, can improve your credit score.
Credit report errors are not widespread, but when they do occur, they are often the result of incomplete reporting of creditors’ information to credit bureaus. Therefore, if you see an error in a credit report, such as an undisclosed paid deposit account, there is good reason to suspect that the error may have appeared in your files in other credit bureaus as well.
A breakdown in your credit reports can lower your credit score and affect your ability to open a new credit account or get a loan. Here are some steps you can take to begin the process of preparation for mediation.
1. Send a letter to the credit bureau.
Once you identify an error in your credit reports, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recommends that you contact the credit bureau that prepared the reports by mistake. Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, the three major credit bureaus, allowing you to report errors on their respective users’ credit reports online or by mail.
Provide your contact information and explain in writing what is wrong and why it is wrong. You will find sample letters on the CFPB website to dispute credit report information with the credit bureau. Be sure to include supporting documents, such as a copy of the email confirming the status of the incorrectly reported account. The CFPB also recommends that you keep copies of any letters or documents you send, and recommends that you use certified mail with a return receipt if you send it by mail.
Where to submit a dispute to the three major credit bureaus
|Online||How to dispute||Manage a dispute||Dispute online|
|Equifax PO Box 740256 Atlanta, GA 30374-0256||TransUnion LLC Consumer Dispute Center PO Box 2000 Chester, PA 19016||Experian PO Box 4500 Allen, TX 75013|
Credit reports may contain errors:
- Identity errors such as misspellings, incorrect phone numbers or addresses, or your information have been incorrectly associated with another person’s credit record.
- Improperly reported accounts, such as closed accounts have been declared open or the account has been falsely found guilty.
- Account balance and credit limit errors
- Re-enter after correcting incorrect information
2. Determine if you should also contact the furniture.
The CFPB also recommends that you contact the company that provided the information to the Credit Bureau. Companies that provide information to credit bureaus are also called furniture. Examples of furniture include banks and credit card issuers. If the furniture address is listed in your credit report, send your dispute to this address or contact the company for the correct address.
Kevin Heaney, a credit bureau expert at Growing Family Benefits, says you can try going straight to the furniture maker and asking them to correct their reporting error before contacting the credit bureau. This can be avoided one step at a time because all the bureaus in their investigation tell the company that the consumer says it is wrong, they say.
But if the error is an identification error made by the credit bureau, go to the bureau first.
“They are most likely to be accurate because the bureau owns the problem so it does not need to reach out to anyone, “says Heaney.
In this case, you should also check with other major credit bureaus to make sure that their identification error is not even in their reports.
3. Wait up to 45 days for the credit bureau or furniture to investigate and respond.
The credit bureau usually has 30 days after receiving your dispute to investigate and verify the information with Furnisher. You must also report the results to the credit bureau within five days of completing your investigation.
If you dispute an error with the information provider, the company must also notify you of the results of its investigation. He usually has 30 days to investigate. But if Furnisher insists on the accuracy of the information it reports, it will not update or correct the error.
Another thing to consider is that either the credit bureau or the furniture may decide that your dispute is “not serious”. This usually happens when you have submitted incorrect or incomplete information on the dispute, but it can also happen if you have tried to compete with the same item multiple times without any new information or if you have tried to claim that your credit report contains everything.
If the Bureau decides that your dispute is frivolous, it does not need to investigate further unless it notifies you within five days of the dispute being dismissed as frivolous. If your original dispute was labeled junk, you can try resubmitting the dispute.
4. Review the results of the investigation.
The Credit Bureau will provide you with the results of the investigation in writing and will provide a free copy of your credit report if the dispute results in any change in the report. The credit bureau should also provide you with the name, address, and phone number of the furniture that reported the incorrect information.
If a furniture maker keeps reporting a disputed item, he or she must notify the credit bureau involved of your dispute. If the disputed information is found to be incorrect, Furnisher should notify the credit bureau to update or delete the item. Furnisher should also notify all credit bureaus to which it has sent incorrect information so that the bureau can correct its records.
Even if Furnisher insists that the disputed information is accurate, you can still ask the credit bureau to include a statement explaining the dispute in your credit file.
5. Check your credit report updates.
Updates to your affected credit reports may take some time to appear. This may depend on the specific credit bureau’s update cycle and when Furnisher sends new information to the credit bureau.
What should I expect after filing a dispute?
If you file a dispute with a three-nation credit bureau, you can usually expect to have your dispute resolved within 30 days. If the information is found to be incorrect, your credit reports will usually be updated within about 30 days.
If the investigation finds that the information is accurate, it will be on your credit reports. If you still believe the information is incorrect or incomplete, and you have additional information that could help with your dispute, you can re-file your dispute with the Credit Bureau. You also have the option of making a brief statement on your credit reports which summarizes your dispute and may help explain your situation. Or you can contact the lender to try to resolve the issue.