Guide to Disputing Errors on Credit Reports

We have all been there. You try to purchase a new car, house or apply for a new bank loan when unbeknownst to you something shows up on your credit report which is incorrect.   The discrepancy can take the form of any number of issues whether it is from a past debt listed incorrectly, a debt which does not even belong to you or some of the more common place issues now relate to identity theft.

So what do you do when you see an error on your credit report? You have the right to spend the time and effort to dispute the errors yourself.  However, you also have the right to hire an attorney to help you. Did you know the credit reporting agencies are under a duty to investigate the error within 30 days pursuant to the Fair Credit Reporting Act?  Did you also know that you may have a cause of action against a company for willful or negligent compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act?  While this guide is not an inclusive list of how to dispute credit report errors, this short guide will provide you steps to assist you in disputing errors on your credit report.

STEP 1: Contact the reporting company and advise them of the account which you are disputing.  Send them a letter with all documentation supporting your dispute. Include with your letter a copy of the credit report which shows the error.

STEP 2: Contact the information provider about the error.  The information provider is usually the person, company or organization that provides information about your accounts to the credit reporting agency.   Send them a letter disputing the account with the supportive documentation and a copy of the credit report which lists the error.

STEP 3: If the credit reporting agency or information providers fail to investigate your disputed claim or provide you information in relation to their investigation, than contact an attorney.  An attorney can walk you through your rights to bring an action in court, if necessary, to correct or delete the errors in your report.  You might even be entitled to damages suffered from the failure of the credit reporting agency or information provider if they willfully or negligently violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Most victims of identity theft don’t know they are a victim until it is too late. Know your rights, and know what to do in case of an error.  The only way to know if there is an error on your report is to review it. If you do not know what your credit report says remember you are entitled to one free credit report per year.  You can sign up to receive your free credit report here: https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action