How to Dispute Inaccuracies on Credit Reports
So you ordered your credit report -- great! That is the first and possibly the most important step towards becoming a credit-savvy consumer. But, what if you're looking through your report and you see something you don't recognize? It could be a balance you think is paid, a late payment you think you made on time, or even an account you don't remember opening.
You have the right to dispute these possible inaccuracies and a credit bureau has 30 days to investigate them. You can start this process by writing or calling the appropriate bureau listed below.
Credit Reporting Bureau
Equifax Information Services
||Trans Union Corporation
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
National Consumer Assistance Center
P.O. Box 2104
Allen, TX 75013-0949
P.O. Box 390
Springfield, PA 19064-0390
Once you've made a dispute, the credit bureau must then give you the written results and a free copy of your report if the dispute results in a change. If your creditor reports that the information is accurate, you can request a reinvestigation, although such a procedure may not resolve your dispute. If that's the case, you may ask the bureau to include your statement of the dispute in your file so that anyone who pulls your report can see you feel the data in question is incorrect. However, remember that your comment will stay on your credit report for seven years and may outlast the original item.
It's important to realize that the 3 major credit bureaus all have separate credit reports on you. Creditors can choose to report your information to any of the bureaus…or all three of them. If you successfully dispute an inaccuracy on your credit report at one of the bureaus, that bureau is required to inform the other bureaus of the change. However, just to be sure, you should check all three reports for inaccuracies. Your 3 Bureau Online Credit Report is the fast, safe, and easy way to see your credit information from all three bureaus at once! Order today to make sure possible inaccuracies on your credit report aren't getting in your way.
If all else fails, you may sue a credit bureau in state or federal court for most violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. If you win, the credit bureau will have to pay damages and reimburse you for attorney fees to the extent ordered by the court.
You may also wish to contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to file complaints against a non-cooperative credit bureau if, after continued attempts, you still get no response. Although the FTC can't act as your lawyer in private disputes, information about your experiences and concerns is vital to the enforcement of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. You may send your questions and/or complaints to:
Consumer Response Center
Federal Trade Commission
Washington, D.C. 20580
You may also visit the FTC online at http://www.ftc.gov/