When And How To Dispute Inaccurate Information On Your Credit Reports

When something appears on your credit report that shouldn't be there, it should be easy to get rid of it, right? Many calls and pleas later and you know that the answer is: Wrong. Of course, no one finds out about the errors on their credit report until they want to get a loan, such as a mortgage or car loan, or they get unexpected calls from debt collectors. The frustration during an already stressful time can be overwhelming.

The credit reporting agencies (credit bureaus) care more about their bottom line than about helping you. Yet, the law is on your side and it is possible to win this battle. I have helped many people like you fight to protect their right to buy a home, rent an apartment or otherwise live their lives free from unwarranted debt issues such as mixed credit report files and misreported debt.

Call my Seattle, Washington, law office to learn how I can help you after an FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) violation: 888-339-3942.

Can You Dispute A Credit Report Error On Your Own?

If you have negative items in your credit report and you are very certain that the information is wrong, you should dispute this with the three credit bureaus. You can and should do this yourself for free. Do it in writing, attach your documentation and send it via certified mail. Don't just save a Word file in your computer. Actually print out the dispute letters, pen your signature, and photocopy, scan or take a legible phone picture of the signed letter before you send it.

It can also help to add the certified mail tracking number to the letter by each recipient's address. Pick up your certified mail supplies at the post office ahead of time so you can type the numbers into your letter.

After you initiate the dispute process, the credit bureaus are supposed to contact the furnisher of the information for the furnisher's response.

Getting The Help Of A Skilled Attorney

You can sue to enforce your rights under the FCRA, and a skilled lawyer should definitely evaluate your case to determine what to do about incorrect information on your credit report. Fighting the big computer is no small matter.

If, after disputing your credit report, the company refuses to fix the issue or keeps shuffling you from person to person... if you are beating your head against the wall or feel you are sending faxes to a black hole... then it's probably time to bring in an attorney. Some companies will only act when they are threatened with a lawsuit.

What Not To Do: Credit Reports And Repair

First, don't wait until it's too late to check your credit reports. You can get a free annual credit report from each of the three main credit reporting bureaus.

Second, beware of the "credit repair" services that charge high fees to "clean up your credit report." Those companies don't do anything more for you other than dispute the negative items in your credit report, which you can do for yourself as described above. If those negative items are legitimately there, the dispute won't do you any good.

Finally, if your credit report is a mess because of you (I'm not judging; I've heard it all), flooding the credit reporting agencies with a flurry of disputes in hope that the credit reporting agency drops the ball is not a good strategy and makes you look kind of weird. If your explanation for a negative item on your credit report is "yes, but–" your issue may not be with the credit reporting agency, it might be with the original creditor or with the collection agency.

If There's False Information On Your Credit Report, Call 888-339-3942

Call me, SaraEllen Hutchison, at 888-339-3942 if there's something on your credit report that shouldn't be there, and we can discuss your situation further.