How to Fix Credit Report Errors
Jun 15, 2015
There are over 40 million Americans with at least one mistake on their credit report. If you are one of these Americans, your credit score is less than it should be because of someone else’s mistake. These mistakes can cost you money by increasing interest rates you qualify for or even prevent you from obtaining employment. Fixing the errors is not as easy as making a phone call, but it has to be taken care of or your credit will continue to suffer. There are two basic ways to go about disputing the error.
Dispute with the Information Provider
The Information Provider is the creditor who reported the debt to the credit bureau originally. The first step to disputing the debt with the information provider is to send a letter. The letter needs to be sent to the address the creditor stated on your credit report. Your letter should indicate that you are disputing all or a part of the debt. It should also state why you think the debt is listed incorrectly. Lastly, you should include any documentation you have to support your belief that the debt is incorrectly listed.
When the creditor receives your written dispute, they are required to conduct an investigation. If they discover you are correct, they have to request that the error be corrected with the credit bureaus. If they find out the debt is legit, they can still report the debt but have to note that you are disputing it on your credit report.
Dispute with the Credit Bureau
If the information provider does not remove the error on your credit report after its investigation or simply ignores your dispute, your next step would be to file a dispute directly with the credit bureau. To file a dispute with the credit bureau, you need to send a written letter stating your dispute. Remember, the credit bureau has little to no preexisting knowledge on the debt you are disputing. Therefore, your letter will need to include any necessary background information so they have a full understanding of your position and reasoning. With this letter you should also include any documentation you have showing why you are disputing the debt. You should also including a copy of your credit report with the debt you are disputing clearly marked.
The credit bureau is required to investigate all disputes that are not frivolous within a reasonable time, which is approximately 30 days. A major part of their investigation is getting the creditor’s side of the story. If the creditor does not answer the credit bureau’s request for information within a timely fashion, the credit bureau has no choice but to assume your allegations are correct. If the credit bureau’s investigation finds that the debt was listed in error, it will correct the error.
Monitor Your Credit Report
Since errors on credit reports are so common, it is imperative that you check your credit reports on a regular basis. The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires all three of the major credit reporting bureaus -Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – to provide you with a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months. This free report can be obtained by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com.
If it is not only an error that you are dealing with on your credit report but also collection agencies, medical bills and other unpaid debts you might need a more encompassing fix, such as a Section 128 or Bankruptcy. Pedersen Law Office offers free consults in all of our areas of practice and will meet with you personally to discuss your debt issues and see what options are available for you. Our law office serves the communities of Appleton, Neenah, Menasha, Oshkosh, Green Bay and their surrounding areas.