How to Dispute Errors on Your Credit Report
Let’s face it. Nobody is perfect, and even your credit report can fall victim to imperfections. Your credit report could be a deciding factor in obtaining a credit card, landing that new job, buying a house or having utilities turned on. Many businesses use your credit report to make determinations about your credit worthiness. So it is important that your credit report is accurate. Any deficiencies on your credit report could cause higher fees, deposits and interest rates, as well as possibly being declined.
According to a 2012 study by the Federal Trade Commission, about 25% of consumers found errors on their credit reports. The same study concluded that one in five consumers had errors that a credit bureau corrected after a dispute had been made. Anything from inaccurate late payments, a falsely reported car repossession or unpaid balances that are not yours could damage your credit report. See below for steps in having the credit bureaus to remove incorrect items from your credit.
The quickest, easiest and most convenient way to correct an inaccuracy on your credit report is via the online Credit Report Dispute process at https://dispute.transunion.com. A drawback to disputing items online is that you can only get the results and check the status online. If documents are needed as proof, you will still have to mail them in to the credit-reporting agencies.
Should you decide to dispute an item online, use these links to the major credit bureaus for submitting an online credit report dispute:
Snail mail may not be the speediest method to disputing inaccuracies on your credit report, but it does give a paper trail between you and the three major credit-reporting agencies. Credit bureaus have 30 days to investigate and make a decision regarding your credit report dispute or 45 days if additional information is needed as proof during the investigation process. If they don’t respond within the allotted time, you can sue them in Federal court for up to $1,000.
When disputing a credit report error by mail, write a letter to each agency explaining what should be removed and what makes the information inaccurate. Include any proof of the error, and send via certified mail to show when the creditor receives it and prove that you made the dispute. See below for dispute addresses for the three major credit bureaus:
P.O. Box 740256
Atlanta, GA 30374
P.O. Box 4500
Allen, TX 75013
Consumer Dispute Center
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016
Over the Phone
When calling credit bureaus to dispute items on your credit report, be sure to keep a record of when you called, with who you spoke and any information given to you regarding your dispute. You may want to record the conversation as well. Just be sure to tell the other party that the call is being recorded. See below for telephone numbers of the three credit bureaus.