Credit reporting bureaus are in the business of collecting and reporting data on your credit history. They have a vested interest in keeping records as accurate as possible. These credit bureaus are not in the business of helping you dispute mistakes on your credit reports. That’s why it’s so important to be aware of how to dispute credit report errors, and how a dispute can be resolved.
If you find a credit report error, it’s important to know how to dispute it. There are steps you can take to make sure the mistake is corrected.
1. Identify Any Credit Report Errors
It’s important to keep an eye on any credit report error, to make sure that all the information contained therein is accurate and up-to-date.
There are a few common errors you might spot on your credit report. These include::
- Mistakes such as an incorrect address, phone number, or name.
- Incorrect account information – This can happen if you have similar names to another consumer, or if an account has been incorrectly attributed to you due to identity theft.
- When you have closed your account but it is still being reported as open.
- If you are listed as the account owner on a credit report, but you are only authorized to use the account.
- If you have paid off your collections account but it still shows as unpaid.
- Inaccurate credit limits.
- If your account is labeled as late or delinquent, it may include outdated information. This can happen if you have a late payment that’s over 7 years old, or if the date of your last payment is incorrect.
- Debts that are listed more than once.
- Multiple accounts listed with different creditors
- Incorrect balances.
Can A Credit Report Error Affect You?
It’s important to keep close tabs on your credit report. An error on your credit report can have a negative impact on you in many ways.
Your credit report contains information about your bill-paying history and any bankruptcies you may have filed. If there’s an error on your report, it could affect your ability to get a job, buy insurance, or open a utility account.
If a utility company looks at your credit history and sees a report that isn’t great, they may offer you less favorable terms as a customer. This is called risk-based pricing, and companies are required to let you know if they’re doing this, but it can still affect you. Your credit report can also influence whether you can get a loan and what the terms of that loan will be, like the interest rate.
2. Contact The Company
The next step is to reach out to the company that supplied the inaccurate information. This could be a bank or utility company. Verify their records to confirm the error. In some cases, you may be able to resolve the issue directly with the company. If not, contact the credit reporting bureau for assistance.
3. Dispute The Errors
If you find that there is inaccurate or incomplete information in your credit report, you have the right to dispute it with both the credit reporting bureau and the company that provided the information. These organizations are required by law to investigate your claim and correct any errors in your report.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends taking these actions:
- If you believe that there is inaccurate information being reported about you by a credit bureau, it is important to take action. You can write a dispute letter to the credit bureau outlining what information you believe to be incorrect.
- You will need to provide copies of supporting materials, but do not use the originals.
- If you’re sending a credit report, highlight or circle the errors on the copy you enclose.
- If you want to make sure your letter is delivered, sent it by certified mail with “return receipt requested.” This will give you a record at the post office that the letter was delivered, in case there are any problems.
- Make sure you have a copy of everything you send.
You need to send the letter to the credit reporting bureau and the company that supplied the incorrect information.
4. Allow Time To Investigate
The dispute process for items on your credit report usually takes 30 days. The relevant information will be sent to the information provider and the provider must investigate the dispute and report back to the credit reporting bureau.
If a credit bureau or company decides that your claim is frivolous, they can choose not to investigate it, they must notify you of their decision
5. Follow-Up After The Investigation
When the investigation is complete, this is what you can expect:
- The written outcome of your report
- A copy of your credit report, just in case this has changed
If you are not satisfied with the results of an investigation into a disputed credit item, you can ask the credit reporting agencies to include a statement in your file describing your version of the events. This will be included in future reports.
If you have an issue with your credit report, you can file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The CFPB is required to forward the complaint to the company with which you have an issue. The CFPB usually will provide you with a response within 15 days. Credit bureaus have five business days after finishing their investigation to notify you of the results.
Credit report mistakes can be frustrating and time-consuming to fix, but it’s important to be persistent and professional. Taking the time to dispute errors on your credit report can improve your credit health and help you save money on loans and credit in the long run.
There is no single standard for disputing information in a credit report. You have the right to dispute the accuracy of any information in your credit report, but you should always be prepared to back up your claim. Try to gather all supporting documentation before contacting the creditor or debt collector.Clearone Advantage, Credit Associates, Credit 9, Americor Funding, Tripoint Lending, Lendvia, Simple Path Financial, New Start Capital, Point Break Financial, Sagemore Financial, Money Ladder, Advantage Preferred Financial, LoanQuo, Apply.Credit9, Mobilend