It’s not unusual for an item on an individuals credit report to be incorrect. Getting this information changed and updated can be a hassle, but is well worth doing as it may be effecting how eligible you are for new credit and the current rate of interest you’re being offered. Which is why we’ve put together this handy how to guide.
Remember, you’re allowed access to your credit report for free every twelve months from each of the consumer reporting agencies.
We recommend contacting both the creditor (the company that has reported the incorrect information) and the consumer reporting agencies (one of the three companies [Equifax, TransUnion & Experian] that maintains credit reports) that show this incorrect or inaccurate information.
Consumer reporting agencies have a period of thirty days to respond to these complaints (please note: if you requested a free copy of your credit report through FACTA then these agencies have a period of fourty-five days to respond).
Credit Report Disputes Online
All three of the consumer reporting agencies now have online facilities that allow consumers to dispute negative credit items online. Use the following websites to start the dispute process. You’ll need a copy of your credit report, along with any supporting evidence which proves that the negative item is incorrect or inaccurate.
Credit Report Disputes Via Phone
It’s best to use the phone numbers found on your individual credit reports as these will be the most up to date numbers, as the consumer reporting agencies regularly change these numbers.
- Equifax: (800) 864-2978
- TransUnion: 800-916-8800
- Experian: (888) 397-3742
Credit Ceport Disputres Via Mail
To do so an individual must send a letter of dispute along with supporting evidence. It’s then up to the creditor that provided this information to prove it’s correct within 30 (45 if the incorrect information was found via a free credit report) days of being notified.
Sample Credit Bureau Dispute Letter
Below we’ve provided a sample of what a dispute letter should look like. It’s also a good idea for the individual to include any supporting information they have (such as a receipt for a credit item that is marked as unpaid), this will help to speed up the process. You’ll need to replace the information found in [ ] brackets with your own.
[Your City, State, Zip Code]
[Name of Credit Bureau]
[Address][City, State, Zip Code]
Dear Sir or Madam:
I am writing to dispute the following information in my file. The items I dispute also are encircled on the attached copy of the report I received.
This item [identify item(s) disputed by name of source, such as creditors or tax court, and identify type of item, such as credit account, judgment, etc.] is [inaccurate or incomplete] because [describe what is inaccurate or incomplete and why]. I am requesting that the item [be deleted or request another specific change] to correct the information.
Enclosed are copies of (use this sentence if applicable and describe any enclosed documentation, such as payment records, court documents) supporting my position. Please reinvestigate [this/these] matter(s) and [delete or correct] the disputed item(s) as soon as possible.
[Enclosures: (List what you are enclosing)]
Credit Bureau Addresses
Equifax Information Services LLC
P.O. Box 740256
Atlanta, GA 30374
TransUnion Consumer Solutions
P.O. Box 2000,
Chester, PA 19022-2000
P.O. Box 4000
Allen, TX 75013
Unhappy With The Result?
If you are unhappy with the result of the credit bureaus investigation, then you can file a complaint with consumer finance. To do so:
- Visit http://www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/
- Click “Credit Reports”
- Complete then submit the online form
You can also contact the FTC or your local legal Representative.
If you’ve succesfully had negative items removed from your report it’s worth asking your current creditors if they can reduce your interest rates on loans. This is because you may have previously been in a different risk category and are now less risky due to this incorrect information being removed.