You apply for a job and the application is rejected.
If your name, address, date of birth, and employment information is incorrect employers may not be able to verify the information on an application.
You pay more for insurance.
Homeowner and auto insurers are looking at payment history, negative items, inquiries, and outstanding debt to decide whether to issue or renew policies, or to decide what premiums to charge for those policies.
Your mortgage application takes longer to approve.
Incorrect information on a credit report can delay a mortgage application until the information is updated.
Bottom line: You can and need to dispute incorrect/incomplete information on your reports to avoid the above. Disputes are done by using the process on each of the 3 bureau websites. Be patient as it will take months and be persistent as the first response to your dispute may not be accurate. How to do this and more details are below or contact us if we can help or you have questions.
Financial Freedom course (4 minute read)
Here are the first few steps to get you back on the path of living the dream.
Check your credit reports regularly to make sure that your personal and financial information is accurate. It also helps to make sure nobody's opened fraudulent accounts in your name. If you find errors on your credit report, take steps to have them corrected. Based on Credit Repair USA’s experience this will take months so be patient and persistent.
You want your credit report to be accurate because it affects whether you can borrow money and how much you'll pay to borrow money. It also may affect getting a job or insurance or renting a place to live.
How to correct mistakes. Both the credit bureau and the business that supplied the information to a credit bureau have to correct information that’s wrong or incomplete in your report. Neither one can charge you to remove wrong or incomplete information.
To correct mistakes in your report, contact the credit bureau and the business that reported the inaccurate information. Be patient, you may have to contact them several times over many months regarding the same issue. Tell them you want to dispute the incorrect or incomplete information on your report. Here’s how.
There are 3 primary credit bureaus and they all act separately when you dispute. So, if there is the same wrong information on all three reports you must file separate disputes, one with each credit bureau that has the mistake.
Explain what you think is wrong, include the credit bureau’s dispute form (if they have one), copies of documents that support your dispute, and keep records of everything you send. If you send your dispute by mail, get the address off the website as the bureau may periodically change the contact information. The credit bureaus also accept disputes online and phone.
Equifax’s dispute process and phone (866) 349-5191
Experian’s dispute process and phone (888) 397-3742
Transunion’s dispute process and phone (800) 916-8800
If you go the letter writing route, use this sample letter to help write your own, and your letter should:
Ask the credit bureau to remove or correct the inaccurate or incomplete information.
* Your complete name and address
* Each mistake that you want fixed, and why
* Copies (not originals) of documents that support your request
* Copy of your report (circle the mistakes you want fixed)
Send your letter the address provided on the bureau site, if you want extra certainty the letter is delivered send it certified mail and pay for a “return receipt” so you have a record the credit bureau got it (though sending this way is not required).
However you filed your dispute, the credit bureau has 30 days to investigate it.
If the credit bureau considers your request to be “frivolous” or “irrelevant,” they will stop investigating, and notify you giving the reason. For instance, you may need to give them additional evidence to support your request. You can then resubmit, and the credit bureau has another 30 days to investigate it. This is where you need to be Persistent.
The credit bureau will forward the evidence you submitted to the business that reported the information. Then, the business must investigate and report the results back to the credit bureau. If the business finds the information they reported is inaccurate, it must notify all three nationwide credit bureaus so they can correct the information in your file. The business can also respond that they think the information is accurate.
Your patience and persistence successfully removed the information that should have never been on your report. Many times the information will be removed from one bureau and you will need to continue your disputing to get it removed from the other two.
The credit bureau updating the information must give you the results in writing and, if the dispute results in a change, a free copy of your credit report. This doesn’t count as your free annual credit report. Keep in mind it may be 45-60+ days after you filed your dispute before your report is updated Be patient.
The credit bureau must send notices (if you ask) of the correction(s) to anyone who got your report in the past six months or got a copy for employment purposes during the past two years.
After months of your persistent efforts and patience one or more bureaus may decide not to change anything. You can ask that a statement of the dispute be included in your file and in future reports, typically for free. Also, you can ask that the credit bureau give your statement to anyone who got a copy of your report in the recent past, you can expect the credit bureau to charge you a fee.
Monitor regularly, you can use the tips we discussed in the last course, contact us if you need a copy. Incorrect information can be added to any one of your reports on any given day. If you were successful in getting information updated, review your credit reports to confirm that the credit bureau updates the information and it remains updated.
Credit Repair USA calls this the clean-up phase at the same time you can be building too. We’ll begin building credit in our next Financial Freedom course or contact us if we can help or you have questions.
Remember to Help One Person Everyday (HOPE) and pass it on.