Which Items Should You Dispute in A Credit Report

It is estimated that you can expect to find a mistake on your credit report almost 75% of times. Fortunately, the fair credit reporting act requires that any inaccurate information they collected with approximately 30 days from the consumers filing of respect requests over a dispute. There are some of the common areas where you can find mistakes on your credit.

Items you should dispute if they are inaccurate:

  • Personal information: your name, address, phone number, Social Security number and date of birth.
  • Employment: name of company, hire date, position, and phone number.
  • Information on accounts belonging to someone else.
  • A late payment recorded when you had paid on time.
  • Balances that are higher than they really are. You should understand that sometimes creditors only the highest that you ever used on account. This can affect your score by more than a few points. If the balance being reported is lower than what you have for, you want to you to leave that entry be.
  • Debts that were incurred by your spouse before you got married.
  • A public records showing as active, such as judgment, tax lien, bankruptcy filing that was actually paid, dismissed or discharged.
  • An account that was closed by you but is being reported as closed by the creditor.
  • Duplicate accounts. This can happen when an account is turned over or sold to a collection agency.
  • A bankruptcy vacation that does not include a chapter of the bankruptcy code that it was filed under or its disposition.
  • Inquiries that were not authorized by you.

Section 611 of the credit of the fair credit reporting act doesn’t give a very detailed description of what inaccurate stands for in the information on your credit report. When you communicate the inaccuracy to the credit bureau, do not describe the error as simply being inaccurate as you will not get a helpful response from the credit reporting agency. You should either describe the item with a simple “account belongs to me” or provide correction details yourself if you think that will improve your credit score.

Find the mistakes and inaccuracies and minor ones such as transposition of numbers of a collection or a charged off account, and the credit reporting agency will mostly just correct account number specially if you provide the number you believe is the correct one. However, if you believe that the account number is not the one you have on record, tell the credit reporting agency that it is not your account. If they cannot verify it from the collection agency or the creditor, they will have to delete the account from your credit report.

Remember that an account can be considered inactive for many reasons. Look for errors in all places such as dates, balances, payment history and how the conference title such as joint selling single. The. Deal with the account accordingly if in your dispute that by either having or either trying to collect the information or having it removed from your credit file altogether. The result of the dispute will depend upon the outcome of the investigation done by the credit reporting agencies and the verification it receives back from the creditor.

Repairing Your Credit Report – The Dispute Process

By reading the previous posts you must have become familiar with how to access your credit report as well as how to read and understand it. This will put you in a good position to identify the information that is incomplete, very old or inaccurate. It is likely that any information that is old and inaccurate is also negative in nature bogging down your credit score.

The good news is that you can take definitive measures to have these credit report entries fixed. What you have to understand is that it is not necessarily a very quick process and dealing with the credit reporting agencies to accurately fix mistakes takes patience and perseverance.

More good news is that the law is on your side and the enactment of the fair credit reporting act, FCRA, gives consumers the right to remove incorrect information from their credit report. In fact one of the most vital provisions of the FCRA is that you can have mistakes on your credit report correct corrected by simply telling the credit reporting agencies to fix them. Technically, this is what is known as “initiating a dispute with the credit bureau.”

According to the basic guidelines of the dispute, the credit bureaus are supposed to contact the source editor to verify the details of the information reported by him and get back to you within a limited time frame which is 30 days in most cases. If the source creditor is able to verify the information is accurate, the law does not require the credit reporting agencies to make any changes to file. If however the source creditor agrees that the information was inaccurate or fails to submit an answer within a stipulated time frame, the credit reporting agency has to update your credit report by either updating or deleting the account. They must also send you a complimentary credit report copy whenever they change it as a result of a dispute. This dispute process is governed by two primary sections of the fair credit reporting act, section 611 and 605 the. We will talk more about these sections in the following posts.

The credit report dispute process is governed by 2 section of the Fair Credit Reporting Act : FCRA section 611 & FCRA section 605

A credit report dispute deals with the following information on your credit report :

  • Inaccurate or incomplete information,
  • Outdated and negative information,
  • Negative items that do not belong to you.

How to Win Disputes with Credit Bureaus And Repair Credit History

The key to winning a dispute with the credit bureau is to know your rights and the process. According to the fair credit reporting act that was enacted on April 25, 1971 you have a right to dispute any inaccurate and wrong information on your credit report. This law serves to protect the consumer  against malpractices of creditors and the credit bureaus.

The FCRA lays down the rights, procedures and guidelines that helps consumers in removing negative information on the credit report that is wrong. By removing this negative information you could re-establish your credit worthiness. It is possible to remove bankruptcy, judgments, late payments, collection accounts, charge-offs and other negative items from your credit file permanently as long as this information is disputable.

The very first step in winning a dispute with the credit bureau is to get a copy of your recent credit report. You can get this for free from www.annualcreditreports.com; you can buy it from the credit bureau or dispersal that you may be eligible for a free copy. If your credit application has been denied in the past 60 days you are eligible to get a free credit report from the credit bureau that the creditor used to approve your application.

Viewing your credit report will enable you to see the errors on it. Having a recent copy of your credit report is important since the customer service represented is at the credit bureau need to reference to the account that you’re disputing. Having a recent copy of your personal credit report will help you establish this reference as that is the same credit report that the services representative will be looking at.

You also have the right to visit the credit bureau in person as long as you make your appointment. You’ll be asked to present adequate identification and pay the required fee. You Can Also Be Accompanied by One Other Person of Your Choosing

Can also request your credit report by mail and you should receive your copy within three weeks. You will also receive an explanation of the various notations and emulations the report contains.

The fair credit reporting act gives you the right to dispute any information that you believe to be inaccurate, outdated or incomplete. This act requires that a credit bureau investigate every claim within 30 days. If you send additional information to the credit bureau then they get 15 days more which gives them a total of 45 days to investigate your dispute.

If the bureau does not respond to your initial request within the required timeframe follow up with another letter. This time demand that the credit bureau respond to your application for dispute immediately to prevent your being forced to take legal action. Give them about two weeks to comply and be sure to maintain copies of all correspondence. Send your response to certified mail with return receipt requested so that you have proof of delivery.

If your applications and dispute letters are persistently not the credit bureau is in violation of your federal rights. The credit bureau is compiled by the federal law to investigate every legitimate dispute. Write one more letter and this time send copies of your letter along with the first two letters to the federal Trade Commission and your local office of state Atty Gen.

What kind of errors can be found on a credit report?

According to a number of consumer groups in the United States of America one other free credit report has some kind of an error on it. This means that one of the three credit reports is inaccurate and has the potential of affecting the credit rating of a person negatively due to no fault of his own. The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) And the National Credit Reporting Association once released a study that reveals that millions of Americans were in jeopardy of being denied credit or paying a high rate of interest on loans because their credit rating was suffering due to mistakes on their credit files. This research was based upon an analysis of 500,000 consumers nationwide.

The point of the statement is that it is quite likely that your credit report may contain some sort of an error as well which may be affecting your credit rating. The reason why should you should be aware of this is because you have a right under federal law called Fair Credit Reporting Act to dispute any inaccurate information on your credit report and have it updated or removed. All you have to do is file a dispute with the credit bureau either online or through postal mail by sending them a dispute letter along with documentation that proves your claim.

The reasons why inaccuracies can appear on your credit report are as follows:

Errors of Omission and Commission

These are errors that have been made by either the creditor in reporting the data to the creditor or mistakes have been made during transcription at the credit bureaus.

Accounts Missing from The Credit Report

It is estimated at one point of time that 78% of all credit reports were missing at least one account that was in good standing and had the potential of affecting the credit score favorably.

Missing Mortgage Accounts from the Credit Report

It is estimated by the same reports that about 33% of all credit reports were missing a mortgage accounts that had never been late.

Conflicting information between Experian, Equifax and TransUnion

It is estimated that almost 43% of the credit information had conflicting information between the three credit bureaus concerning how many times a consumer was late by 30 days on a particular account.

Mistakes on credit report can happen in many ways. They are mostly the result of human error where somebody either reported the information wrongly, spelt your name wrong or reported a wrong social security number. The result could be that your information is either not reported to the correct credit file or does not contain the correct information.

The mistakes are not all result of actions taken by creditors and the credit bureaus. Many people make mistakes them during the time of making an application for credit. In fact this is quite common. People provide the wrong social security by mistake; use a different name on different applications etc.

The point is that inaccuracies find their way on your credit report you should review your credit report at least once a year from each of the three credit bureaus and make sure that it is devoid of all errors. A slight difference in the credit score of a person can result in thousands of dollars being paid extra on a higher interest rate.

What Items On Your Credit History Can You Get Deleted

You can only dispute the information on your credit report that is inaccurate or incomplete.

The law does not permit removal of negative information that is accurate. Which means that any information that has been reported inaccurately or is updated on your credit report such as your address, name, accounts that do not belong to you, all payments that have not been reported or inaccurate reported as late can be changed in your credit report.

Information on the credit report that can be disputed:

  1. Incorrect reporting of a credit account as late.
  2. A paid off account still showing as charged off.
  3. Incorrect name spellings.
  4. Account that does not belong to you.
  5. Late / Unpaid Account that has been on the report for more than 7 years.
  6. Collection account that does not belong to you.

The mistakes on the credit report may be due to inaccurate reporting on the part of the creditor or a mistake happening during transcription by the credit bureau.

You can either ask the creditor to correct information like name spellings, account status etc. You can also file a dispute with the credit bureau to correct information like removal of accounts if they are not valid.

If any change in the credit report happens as a result of a dispute you can ask the credit bureaus to send an updated credit file to any creditors who have reviewed your credit report in the past six months. Also if the information is changed on the credit file due to a dispute then the lender is supposed to inform the rest of the credit bureaus who which might be reporting to.

Where Should I Send Credit Report Disputes?

It is easiest to file a credit report dispute online through the website of the national credit bureaus Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. However, if you want to send your dispute by mail along with certain documents that true your claim you should send them to the postal address of the dispute departments. The postal addresses for sending a dispute by mail to the three credit bureaus are as follows:


P.O. Box 740 4256

Atlanta, GAA 303740256


Dispute Department

P.O. Box 9701

Allen, Texas 75013


Consumer Solutions

P.O. Box 2000

Chester, PA 190222000

You will also get information to dispute the information present on your credit report when you buy your credit report from either of these three national credit bureaus or excess a copy of your free annual credit report from www.annualcreditreports.com.

What Is The Time Taken By A Credit Bureau to Respond to A Dispute

A credit bureau is supposed to respond to a credit dispute within 30 days. After receiving the dispute the credit bureau has 30 days to contact the creditor and inform the consumer of the results of the investigation. If the consumer sense additional information the credit bureaus than they have an additional 15 days to complete investigation which will bring a total of days available to 45 days for the completion of the investigation. Once the credit bureau has the results of the investigation they are is required to notify the results to the consumer within five business days.

The lender is required to respond to the credit bureaus within 30 days when it asks for the information to be validated. if the lender fails to do so then the credit bureaus will find the investigation in your favor.

A lender is also required to notify all the other credit bureaus he reports to if he changes or updates the information that he was reporting to the credit bureaus.

Sample Letter for Disputing Credit Card Billing Error

Customize this sample credit card billing error dispute letter by replacing the italicized words with your own information.
Your Name
City, State Zip
Creditor’s Name
City, State Zip
Re: Account Number

Dear Sir or Madam:
This letter is to dispute a billing error on my account in the amount of $__________. The amount is inaccurate because <describe in detail why the amount is wrong, e.g. the merchandise was returned, late fee is incorrect, etc.>.
I have enclosed copies of <describe any enclosed documentation, e.g. return receipt, cancelled check, etc.> to support my claim. Please correct this billing error as soon as possible.
Your Name

Sample Letter For Sending a Request To Close Your Credit Card

Your Name
City, State Zip
Name of Creditor
City, State Zip Code
Re: Account Number: [Your Account Number (or Last Four) Here]
Dear Sir or Madam:
On [Date], I made a request by telephone to have my account closed. This letter confirms that request. Any updates to my credit report should reflect the account was closed at my request.
Please send confirmation the account was closed.
Your Name

Sample Debt Validation Letter For Getting The Collection Agency to Verify the Debt

Your Name
City, State Zip
Debt Collector’s Name
City, State Zip
Re: Account Number
Dear Debt Collector:
This letter is sent in response to <phone call/letter> received by you on <date>. I am requesting that you provide validation of this debt.
If you do not comply with this request, I will immediately file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and the [your state here] Attorney General’s office. Civil and criminal claims will be pursued.
Your Name