Six steps to disputing a credit report error

When you wish to dispute an item on your credit report that you feel is inaccurate, outdated, mis-leading, or unverifiable, you can do so for free. You can do so by attempting to contact the credit bureau directly which often proves to be frustrating and time consuming as it is difficult to actually get a live person on the phone. In the event that you do actually get a live person on the phone they are not just going to change information without you submitting your request in writing. They don't generally offer instructional information on how to form your letter. Although in some cases you may be able to directly go to the credit bureaus website and submit a request online. The two main issues with doing this is that filing a dispute online verses submitting it in writing allows for "Gray Area" of not having the same absolute protections provided thru the FCRA of 1970.

It has also been noted in many cases that when submitting a dispute online that the initial response quite often comes back as verified. Many times the information had not been properly verified however; many consumers tend to give up at this point even when their claims are valid. has a multitude of pre formatted letters including follow up letters and message board reminders to help provide you the persistence to outweigh the credit bureaus resistance. Data entry and human error tend to frequently go hand in hand!

1. Proper record keeping Every step of the way make sure to keep good records of all of your phone conversations and copies of each letter you send. ( will keep a record of your downloaded letters) Send all letters via certified mail return receipt requested, and be sure to include copies of any documentation that support your valid claims. Keep the originals for your records. Having supporting documentation will generally increases your success rate and may even tend to expedite the process. The Fair Credit Billing Act requires your creditor to keep your past statements on file so if need be do not hesitate to contact them in the event you have mis placed your statements.

2. Inform the credit reporting agency Equifax, Experian, CSC, or TransUnion, and tell them which information you believe is inaccurate. Check out free letters which includes the auto generated letters and message board. We strongly suggest that you enclose a copy of your report with the items in question circled. Within 30 business days, the credit reporting agency will reinvestigate the items in question. They will forward all relevant data you provide about the dispute to the "information provider" a lender, creditor, or other business that reported the inaccurate information. The creditor is then required by law to investigate your complaint and report its findings. If the disputed information turns out to be inaccurate, the creditor must notify all nationwide credit reporting agencies, so they all can correct the information in your file.

3. Notify the business that sent the erroneous information of your dispute. Let the creditor or other information provider know in writing that you are disputing an item it put on your report. You want to include communications with the credit bureau as part of the documentation trail, but the source of the problem may be your best bet for successful resolution. Be sure to tell them exactly what you want them to do -- whether you're requesting that they delete a false item completely or update an old entry. The auto generated system will allow you to input this type of information into your selected initial dispute or follow up letter(s). If your creditors disagree with your claim, they will likely inform you that the information is accurate. In the event they do not provide any form of proof we suggest that you immediately submit another letter which includes a more stern approach. The burden of proof relies on the credit bureaus since they are the entity that is reporting information on you, the consumer. The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, The FCRA, and The FACTA Laws are all very powerful consumer protection laws designed to protect your rights

4. Get all good performing accounts reported If you've been denied credit because of an "insufficient credit file" and you feel that you do have credit and you thought it was being reported to the bureaus and you find out that it is not, here is what we suggest that you do. You can respectfully request them to kindly report your good payment performance to future reports. They are not required to do so, but if you ask nicely and they can verify the accounts, most will add them to your report for a fee.

5. Favorable results When your dispute results in a change to your credit report, the credit bureau will give you the written results and a free copy of your report. Remember you are allotted one free credit report every 12 months via annual credit If you feel that you may have fallen victim to "Identity Theft," you may also request an additional credit report sent to you to ensure you have access to any and all accounts that may have been affected. Many credit cards also offer credit monitoring for little or no money at all.

6. Unfavorable results and your legal options If you are unsuccessful in removing information from your credit file and reach an impasse; you do have the option of taking legal action. Your state's attorney general's office or other legal referral sources can help you locate a lawyer who will advise you on taking a creditor to court. If you don't want to go that far, your next option is to attach a letter of explanation to your credit file. Be sure to cover all three of the major credit bureaus as well as the offending business. The business is obligated to include your letter in any future input to the credit bureaus. Verify that they do.

Once again please keep in mind that the burden of proof lays on the reporting agency. If you feel your claims are valid don't give up! is an invaluable tool "to let the fixin begin." The difference between poor credit and excellent credit could very well cost you as much as hundreds of thousands of excess monies paid out over your credit lifetime. Be a victor not a victim!


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