How to Dispute Credit Reports

One of the best ways to maintain a good credit score is to have frequent access to your credit reports. Analyzing these reports closely and scrutinizing every detail is likely to unearth a mistake or two, but don’t panic! Errors on your credit reports are common and the bureaus are well versed in cooperating with consumers in disputes and getting their credit reports fixed. If yours is a genuine mistake, you have nothing to worry about and it is just a case of going through the motions and waiting a little while for the process to occur.

Identifying Errors

Your credit report is normally made up of five main sections, the information contained in each can differ depending upon which state you live or work in. The five sections cover the following areas; Personal Details, Credit Summary, Account History, Public History and Credit Inquiries. None of these are more likely to contain errors than any others, except in the case of the Account History which will be the largest section. It is your responsibility to check your entire credit report intensively to identify any potential mistakes and document them for dispute.

Mistakes can range from simple spelling mistakes on your name or address, which are not worth disputing and can be judged on a case by case basis. If, however, the wrong name or details are printed which bear no resemblance to the true data; this is certainly worth getting corrected. You are most likely to find a mistake in the figures and statistics on the report, which can range from dates to balances, repayments to amounts owed. Go through all of the numbers with a fine tooth comb and make notes of every mistake you come across.

Correcting & Disputing

Once you have thoroughly checked the report and documented any errors, it’s time to contact the credit reporting bureau. Any company which provides credit reports are liable to help correct them if mistakes are found, under FCRA law. Both parties are required to cooperate with one another, the reporting company and the consumer themselves; although a third party may also be involved if the credit reporting company use data from an information provider.

Write to the relevant bodies in clear communications, including copies of all mistakes and simple reasons why the information is correct. Be sure to include any accompanying documents that can support your claim, such as copies of receipts, invoices and contracts. State the facts clearly and request that the mistakes be corrected, send your mail with “return receipt requested” so you can keep track of what the company has received. Credit reporting companies have to act upon your request within 30 days of receiving it.

Once the negotiations are completed and the mistakes corrected, the credit reporting company are obliged to send you a free copy of your report and a document listing the changes. Armed with this amended credit report, you can now return to any creditor or broker and re-negotiate refused credit or high interest rates in light of the new information.

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