Errors in consumer credit reports can be a common occurrence. That makes knowing how to dispute a mistake on your credit report important. If you find something in your credit report that doesn’t belong there, here’s what to do.
Step 1 – Identify any credit report errors
Review your credit reports periodically for inaccurate or incomplete information. You can get one free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — once a year at annualcreditreport.com. You can also subscribe, usually at a cost, to a credit monitoring service and review your report monthly. Some common credit report errors you might spot include:
How an error on your credit report can affect you
Is it really necessary to keep close tabs on your credit report? Can one error really have an impact on you? Yes. Your credit report contains all kinds of information about you, such as how you pay your bills, and if you’ve ever filed for bankruptcy. You could be impacted negatively by an error on your credit report in many ways. To start, it’s important to understand that credit reporting companies sell the information in your credit reports to groups that include employers, insurers, utility companies, and many other groups that want to use that information to verify your identity and evaluate your creditworthiness. For instance, if a utility company reviews your credit history and finds a less-than-favorable credit report, they may offer less favorable terms to you as a customer. While this is called risk-based pricing and companies must notify you if they’re doing this, it can still have an impact on you. Your credit report also may affect whether you can get a loan and the terms of that loan, including your interest rate.
Step 2 – Contact the supplier
Your next step is to contact the provider or company that provided the incorrect information, which could be an entity such as your bank or a service company. Verify their records and confirm the error. You can solve the problem at this stage. If the issue cannot be resolved, contact the credit reporter directly.
Step 3 – Challenge your credit report errors
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, both the credit reporting office and the business that reports information about you to the credit bureau must accept consumer disputes – and correct any inaccurate or incomplete information about you in the report. The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends the following:
Tell the credit bureau in writing what information you think is wrong. The Federal Trade Commission provides an example of a dispute letter that makes this step easier. The letter describes what information it should contain, from the presentation of the facts to the request that the error be removed or corrected.
Include non-original copies of material that support your point of view.
Consider adding a copy of your credit report with defined or marked errors.
Send your letter with a certified ‘return invoice required’ – to ensure that the letter is delivered. Keep your mail account.
Keep copies of everything you send.
Where to send your dispute letter
Send your credit report disputes to credit reporting agencies and companies that report inaccurate information about you.
Step 4-Allow time for investigation
Credit reporting agencies shall investigate disputes. This process usually takes less than 30 days. They must send relevant information to the information provider—the person who reported the disputed item. The provider should investigate the dispute and report to the credit agency. If you are right-this is an error-the information provider should notify the three major credit bureaus so that they can correct the information in your credit report.
Airworthiness credit report dispute
The credit bureau or the company (provider) that provided the information may also determine that your claim is meaningless, and then they may decide not to investigate your claim. But they must let you know within five days that they refuse to investigate your dispute.
Step 5-Follow-up after the investigation
The following are the expected results after completion of the research:
The results of the investigation were received in writing from the Credit Bureau.
Free copy of your credit report (if the report has changed).
What happens to someone who sees your wrong message? The FTC has stated that it may ask the credit bureau to report the amendment. This includes:
Notify anyone who has received your report in the last six months.
Send a direct copy of the report to anyone who has received the report in the last two years.
However, what happens if the investigation does not resolve your dispute? If the provider continues to report errors, you can ask the credit bureau for a statement describing the conflicting aspect in your credit file, which will be included in future credit reports. If you charge fees, you can usually request a copy of your return from your credit bureau with anyone who has recently received a copy of your report. In addition, if you believe you have been treated unfairly or have errors in your credit report, you can file a complaint with the Office of Consumer Financial Protection. The CFPB must forward the complaint to the said company. The CFPB will usually respond to you within 15 days. Once the dispute has been resolved, how long will it take to correct credit report errors? Upon completion of the investigation, the credit agency will have a period of five working days to notify the outcome of the investigation.
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