After thoroughly reviewing your credit report, you find errors. What do you do now? As we have suggested in the opening paragraph, you have to be proactive. There are basically three modes of action that you can take at this point: 1) Write a letter to the credit bureau that included the discrepancy in your credit report, 2) File the dispute online with the credit bureau, or 3) Tell your creditor directly. Let’s tackle each one thoroughly.
When you find a discrepancy in your report, you can write a letter to the credit bureau disputing the item in question and asking that it be removed from your record. Include in your letter photocopies (that means you have the originals with you) of documents to back up your claim if you have any and the credit report itself with the item in question highlighted. Aside from your full name and complete address, your dispute letter should include details of the discrepancy you are bringing to their attention as well as the reason why you are disputing it. Don’t forget to ask for a “return receipt requested” so that you have proof that you sent the dispute letter.
The credit bureau is mandated by law to conduct an investigation and give you the results in 30 days. After they have reviewed that the information is not frivolous, they will then communicate your dispute with the information provider or creditor. Once the investigation is done and the entries are indeed proven to be erroneous, the credit bureau will inform you in writing of the results and give you a copy of your new credit report with the necessary corrections in place. You can also request that the credit bureau give copies of your corrected credit report to creditors who received copies in the last six months and to employers in the last two years.
In the event that your dispute is denied and the item in question is not removed from your records, you can opt to add a statement of 100 words or less to your file with your version of the dispute. This will be included in your future credit reports.
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The country’s three main credit bureaus– Equifax, Experian and TransUnion—also have online forms that allow you to file your dispute with just a few clicks. You will simply be following on-screen instructions when you take this route so it’s a bit more simplified. As in a letter dispute, you will still have to wait for 30 days to give the credit bureau time to investigate and channel your dispute to the creditors concerned. For your convenience, here are the websites and contact numbers of the country’s three main credit bureaus for discrepancies in your credit report:
Dispute Website: www.investigate.equifax.com
Dispute Website: www.Experian.com/disputes
Dispute Website: www.Transunion.com/investigate
The third route is to go directly to the information provider or creditor and file the dispute with them. As with reporting to the credit bureaus, you can also give the letter explaining your concern, the item in question, copies of documents that prove your claim and a request to scratch the item from their records. Once their investigation proves that they are in error, they will not be reporting that information to the credit bureaus.
More on Disputing Credit Report Errors