While there are plenty of crimes that target consumer credit, credit report errors are another thing to look out for. According to the Federal Trade Commission, they happen to a quarter of all consumers.1 To avoid the consequences these errors can cause, it’s important to review your credit report regularly. One error can impact your eligibility for a new credit card, loan, or apartment lease.
American Credit is a credit restoration agency that helps fix negative marks on your credit report. Oftentimes errors occur without having made any financial missteps. The right to dispute inaccurate information is granted by federal law. Here is a look at how to proceed if you’ve found credit report errors.
Submit a Dispute
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recommends notifying Equifax, TransUnion, or Experian; the three credit bureaus that your information is submitted to. If you’ve found one error, there’s a chance there are more. Assess the full situation before contacting these organizations directly. You can dispute errors such as inaccurate personal details, duplicate/fraudulent accounts, wrong credit limits, and inaccurate payment information.
Also contact the furnisher the data came from, as they can help verify your claim during a credit bureau’s investigation.
Choose a Dispute Method
The credit bureaus offer multiple ways to dispute information on your credit report, including:
- By phone: Speaking to direct correspondence can get the process moving. However, you’ll probably need to send a written communication and documentation that can dispute the error. Once your dispute is submitted, call the bureau(s) where you submitted it to ensure your inquiry was received.
- The internet: It is generally fast and simple to file online. You can do so directly with a credit bureau or through a credit website such as AnnualCreditReport.com. Each credit bureau has its own dispute page, which allows you to describe the situation, verify your identity, and select a reason for the dispute.
- By mail: Filing by mail requires sending a dispute letter and supporting documents to each bureau that reported the error. Include your full name, current address, relevant account numbers, and copies of receipts, monthly statements, and other information. It also helps to request a return receipt, so you’ll be notified when your correspondence is received.
You’ll be contacted by mail or email of a bureau’s findings and the action taken to correct the error. If a positive change to your credit report results from your diligence, the bureaus must notify any party that has viewed your report in the past six months, upon your request, and will update copies you’ve sent to employers over the past two years.
If you’ve allowed enough time and haven’t received a response, follow up with the bureau in writing. Credit report disputes aren’t always resolved. Sometimes, the furnisher will continue reporting the error. If so, you can ask the credit bureaus to note your side of the story on your credit file. If a valid error remains and/or you believe you’ve received unfair treatment, you can complain with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
How Long Does Investigation Take?
Generally, data furnishers have 30 to 45 days to respond to a dispute inquiry; the average is 14 days. Once the credit bureau completes its investigation, it must provide you with the results within five days. If the bureau determines your dispute is frivolous, it can discontinue investigating, but must communicate the reason within five days.
Contact American Credit
Borrowers who see credit report errors are often concerned about factors like the credit repair cost. At American Credit, we offer affordable credit repair services, starting with a free consultation. Our company is trusted for credit repair in California and uses a pre-litigation process to achieve better results. To learn more or schedule your free credit repair consultation, call 855-918-0908 today.