How to Dispute Errors on Your Credit Report
Many people look at their credit reports and they are not able to tell if the information is accurate or not. It is believed that 79% of all credit reports have errors. The only individual who can tell if the content is correct is you. You can do this by reviewing all your statements and keeping track of your payments. If you discover that there is some inaccurate information, you have the right to dispute. Here are some tips to help when filing for a dispute:
Understand how to spot the errors and what they mean
In simple terms, an error is any incorrect information in your credit report. There are different types of errors in credit reports. Here are some of them.
- Derogatory mark errors.
- Account related errors
- Personal information errors
If your credit report has derogatory and account related errors, your credit score will be affected. This means that you will not be able to qualify for financial products like loans or credit cards. The terms you will get in these financial products will also be affected. The personal information errors will not affect your credit score at the end of the day, but these mistakes could mean that there is a reporting problem. Sometimes, personal information errors could indicate fraud.
It is important to review your credit reports
How are these reports created?
There are some companies such as credit card issuers, debt collection agencies and loan providers who can choose to report some information about you to an individual credit bureaus. When this happens, the credit bureaus get the information and puts together the content that is shown on your credit report. Equifax, Experian and TransUnion are the three national credit bureaus can the have the opportunity to to share this report with you and any other individual or institution that have legal authority to ask for it. The credit bureaus are mostly subject to regulations so that your credit report is free from errors. For instance, the Fair Credit Reporting Act ensure that credit reports are accurate.
How will I get my credit report?
Every individual is supposed to get a free copy of their credit report from the three national credit bureaus in the country. This reports should be given every year at AnnualCreditReort.com. However, if you have already used the free reports for the year, you will be allowed to collect the report directly from the credit bureaus. You will also be required to pay a certain fee when receiving the credit report. Individuals who are denied credit because of the information on their credit reports can be allowed to get an additional free report. If you are not working and need to apply for a job in sixty days, the national credit bureaus will also give you a free report. If you believe that the report presented has some errors, or you receive public welfare assistance, you will get an extra free report.
Immediately you get your credit report, it is crucial to review it for any errors. Checking the three reports separately is paramount because any of them might have a mistake. For any errors found it is important to dispute credit report.
What you will do depends on the type of mistakes discovered on the report. Does your report have an account, or does it contain some late payments that should not have been included? Is your credit card company or loan provider aware of these problems? Sometimes, you can be able to resolve the problem by contacting the creditor directly. If the problem is a bit complicated, it is important to file a dispute.
You can file your dispute about incorrect information with the concerned credit bureau or data furnisher. Sometimes, it is also possible to file the dispute with the institution that provided the information to the national bureau. This will be the perfect way to speed the process and get everything in order. If you are not able to choose the right method, choose the online method. It is now possible to file your dispute online. This method will requires less documentation, and your account information will be easily accessible.
After filing your dispute, make some follow-up
Many people are always wondering when their dispute will be resolved. Most of the time, the three national credit bureaus, and the data furnisher will be required to investigate the dispute and come up with a solution in a duration of thirty to forty-five days after they have received the notification. Before these days are over, you will be notified of the outcome. In the three credit bureaus, most of the credit report disputes are resolved in fourteen days.
How will the dispute be handled?
If you file your dispute with the credit bureau:
If the dispute you raised is about your personal information, the public records or any type of inquiries, the credit bureau is supposed to handle the whole issue. In some instances, the credit bureaus do not involve the data furnisher when solving the disputes. If the data furnisher input is needed, the bureau sends the inaccurate information to them. The data furnisher is then given time to investigate the dispute and report back after some time to the credit bureau. Sometimes, your credit report might be required while the dispute is happening. When this happens, the information that has been disputed should be marked correctly.
If you file the dispute with the data furnisher, they will be in charge of investigating the dispute then report back to you after some time. If you need to use the credit report while the dispute is not resolved, the incorrect information should be marked properly to reflect the dispute.
If the dispute raised results into a change, the institution you filled the dispute with must update the records. If the dispute was filed with the data furnisher, they are supposed to update the changes and notify the three national credit bureaus. If the dispute was raised with the any of the three national bureaus, they are expected to give you a free copy of the new updated credit report. You can also request the credit bureau to send several notices of any corrections made to the institutions that had received it in the last past six months.
Disputing any incorrect information in your credit report is crucial. This report will have significant impact on your financial future and credit health. This will be a quick way to impact on your credit score.
If you are not keen enough, you can quickly undermine your consumer rights when filing for your credit report disputes. The Fair Credit Reporting Act states that some of the credit reporting agencies like Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax that are required to investigate your report dispute. However, some of these investigations might be too quick, and some errors might be verified as accurate. When this happens, it can be advisable to sue. To get the best results when disputing your credit reports, it is important to avoid the following mistakes.
Disputing with the furnisher only
Sometimes, you might discover that your lender is misreporting your information in the credit bureau. For many people, it might seem wise to deal with the lender only and bypass the credit reporting agency. However, this is not advisable. If you do not file your case with the credit bureau dispute system, it will be impossible to fight back when the lender doesn’t agree to correct the errors. The Fair Credit Reporting Act believes that the report dispute should be sent to the credit bureau to trigger the right investigation process.
Skipping the terms of agreement with the national credit bureau
It is common for people who have recently bought their credit reports online to ignore the terms indicated at the credit bureaus’ web page. If this happens, you are supposed to mail a letter known as opt-out to the credit bureau. This should be done withing thirty to sixty days after receiving the report. If you do not do this, you will be automatically binding yourself to a clause that will be barring you from filing any disputes in front of a jury.
Losing substantial evidence
If you have been sending disputes to the credit reporting agencies, and you are not getting any results, the best thing to do is to sue the credit bureau. If you do not have enough evidence for your disputes, your case will not make any significant progress. Without evidence, you won’t be armed for the lawsuit. In your case, you will be required to produce evidence that clearly shows that there is factual disagreement about what happened to your credit report disputes and how you have been suffering as a result of that. You should have a certified mail receipt that will show that the credit bureau received your credit report dispute. It is also crucial to have all your financial paperwork.
Failing to include enough information in your dispute
According to a recent report, many people in the modern times choose convenience and dispute online or sometimes through the phone. More than half of credit report disputes are currently done online or through the phone. When this happens, most of the people do not give adequate information and explanation about their problem. Most of the credit reporting agencies encourage people to choosing this way of disputing. However, this can cost you the dispute case at the end of the day. This is because the online platforms do not offer enough room for people to make good explanations.
Listening to the debt collector
Many individuals dispute accurate information in their credit reports and then expect the credit bureaus to remove it. This will be impossible. However, you can easily hold the credit bureaus liable if they fail to observe the time limit indicated on your debt. According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, negative information should be dropped from your credit report after seven years. Bankruptcy information should stay on your report for ten years. If you notice that your credit report has real debt that is older than seven years, it is possible to dispute the debt to the bureaus and ask the to remove it. It is also possible to fight against a debt collector who wants to sue you after the debt has passed its limitations.