You just discovered errors in one or more of your credit reports, or even worse, accurate references to late payments or other negative issues that lower your credit scores. Take a few deep breaths and try to stay calm, because credit report errors can be fixed. It’s possible to remove many negative items, too and without help from companies that promise to repair your credit.
How To Dispute Errors on Your Credit Report
1) Make a copy of your credit report and circle every item you believe is incorrect.
2) Write a credit dispute letter to the reporting agency (the address will be printed on the report). Explain each dispute and request an investigation to resolve the issues. If you have supporting paperwork, send it along, coding pages to match dispute paragraphs. Do not send your originals.
3) Send all materials by certified mail, return receipt requested, so that you can prove the packet was received.
The credit bureaus have now enabled you to dispute credit report online however we strongly caution you against this. Like it or not the credit bureaus are regulated and their behavior is governed by our government. There credit bureaus are private businesses and in no way are they a government agency!
A little known secret is that the credit bureaus have been fined time and time again by the FTC for not complying with federal law. Until there is some oversight on how the bureaus handle online disputes we instead believe the most effective method is through certified mail.
4) Send a similar letter of dispute to the creditor whose reporting statements you disagree with. Refer to a billing statement to find the correct address for disputes, because it’s usually different from the payment address.
If your dispute involves personal information, such as your current address, enclose a copy of your driver’s license or a utility bill in your name to verify your residence.
The reporting agency will initiate an investigation, contacting your creditors to verify the accuracy of the information. If the creditor cannot verify that the entry is correct, it must be removed. When the investigation is complete, the agency must send you a free copy of your report if changes were made. If the investigation uncovers an error, you have the right to ask that a corrected version of your credit report be sent to everyone who received the report during the past six months.
Tip: Contact your creditor first, then allow a bit of lead time before you submit the dispute to the reporting agency. By the time the dispute is verified, the creditor will hopefully have corrected the error.
Where Should I Send Credit Report Disputes?
You should send credit report disputes directly to the bureau who provided the report with errors. Here are the mailing addresses for each credit bureau:
Equifax P.O. Box 7404256 Atlanta, GA 30374-0256
Experian Dispute Department P.O. Box 9701 Allen, TX 75013
TransUnion Consumer Solutions P.O. Box 2000 Chester, PA 19022-2000
When you send credit report disputes, you should also send copies of proof you have to support your claim. Send your dispute via certified mail, so you’re able to track your letter. Once the bureaus deem your dispute valid they will investigate.
The difficult part is getting the bureaus to deem your dispute valid. It’s not difficult the process however in a dispute request you are asking the bureaus to spend money that will have no opportunity to provide them revenue. In other words the credit bureaus only spend money when they are correcting information they collected about you and are very reluctant to do so.