How to Dispute Credit Report Errors Yourself
You can repair credit reporting errors yourself. However, it is not a simple task to have mistakes removed. The credit reporting agencies are notorious for making the process a struggle for consumers, and the burden of proof is entirely on the consumer as well. That’s why it may just be better to seek the assistance of an attorney to help you along with the credit report dispute process. Here are some practical tips on how you can dispute errors on your credit report.
1. Get your report. There’s only one place you should go to get a copy of your credit report: AnnualCreditReport.com. All consumers are entitled to one free credit every 12 months from each of the three major credit agency through this site.
2. Review your report. Look for potential errors in the following sections of your credit report:
- Your basic personal information. Did you change your name? Did you change address?
- Each credit account. Are they yours? Did you actually open these accounts?
- Amount due on each account. check you most recent account statements on the accounts to verify the amount due.
- Payment Information. Look for incorrect payment information. Did the creditor report a missed or past due payment if you have always paid on time?
- Credit inquiries. Inquiries can sometimes be a source for identity theft.
- Judgments, Bankruptcies, Foreclosures. Make sure that the reference date for each item is correct.
3. Write a Dispute Letter and Create a Paper Trail. Send a written dispute letter via certified mail (return receipt requested). Sending a written complaint will help when you need to show a record of your efforts in court. The Meyrat Law Firm writes each dispute letter based on the specific facts your case.The Federal Trade Commission has a sample dispute letter on its Web site. A simple dispute form can be found here. You should attach a letter that explains the credit report problem, and provide copies of any supporting documentation showing proof of the error, like a canceled check illustrating that you made a payment.
4. Where to send your dispute.To the Big Three Credit Bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion and the creditor that may be the source of the credit reporting error. All three bureaus provide instructions on how to file a dispute on their Web sites. If you want to call to follow up, keep notes of the date you called and with whom you spoke.
5. After They Receive Your Dispute. The Big Three Credit Agencies and the companies that provide them with data are required to investigate any potential errors on credit reports. Frequently, these companies do a poor job to investigate and correct errors on credit reports. Agencies bureaus typically won’t make any changes unless the company that provided the information, like a creditor, says to. If one agency finds an error as the result of a dispute, it must alert the other two agencies.
6. After it’s resolved. Once the investigation is complete — the agencies usually have 30 days — the credit bureau must send you the results in writing, along with a free copy of your report if the dispute results in a change. And if you ask, the credit reporting company must send notices of any corrections to anyone who received your report in the last six months. After the errors are corrected, consumers often find that it only takes a few weeks for their credit score to substantially increase.
7. And if it’s not resolved. Call the Meyrat Law Firm at (210) 735-9911 by phone or e-mail and schedule a free consultation with an experienced consumer protection lawyer. The Meyrat Law Firm can gather the necessary documentation , ensure that the mistake is removed in a timely manner, and file a lawsuit that will entitle you to compensation for damages, court costs, and attorneys’ fees.