Sep 20 · 3 min read
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As surprising as it may seem, credit report errors happen all the time. According to a 2012 study by the Federal Trade Commission, 25% of U.S. consumers had at least one error on their credit reports. Shockingly, a single error on your credit reports can significantly drop your credit score and make you look like a major risk to lenders. This could prevent you from getting loans, credit cards, or force you into borrowing money at bad terms. If you want to get whyze and make sure this doesn’t happen to you, you’ll need to know how to dispute any errors you may find.
To dispute an error on your credit report, you should follow these simple steps:
The first step you’ll need to take is filing a dispute with the credit bureau who provided you the credit report with the error. This can either be done online through the credit bureau's website or by sending the credit bureau a letter. Filing online will be your quickest and easiest option though.
Next, you’ll want to contact the company responsible for reporting the error. Their contact address will typically be on your credit report. You can either send the company a letter disputing their error or talk to them directly. When reaching out to the company, make sure to provide supporting evidence of why you believe there is an error.
After you’ve contacted both the credit bureau and responsible company, you will have to wait for the investigation to be completed. Credit bureaus and responsible companies will have 30 days to investigate your dispute unless they deem it “frivolous” within the first five days. This usually happens due to a lack of information or proof.
If your dispute reaches the investigation phase, once it’s complete, the credit bureau will provide you the results in writing and a free copy of your credit report if something was corrected. This won’t count towards one of your free credit reports for the year. They will also send you a letter that includes the name, address, and phone number of the company who reported the error.
If the investigation found your dispute valid, the responsible company will have to correct or delete the error.
Once the investigation is complete, you’ll want to check your credit reports to make sure your error is corrected. Depending on the credit bureau, it may take a few months to correct. If after a few months your credit reports don't update, contact the credit bureau and responsible company again.
When your credit report is free of errors, you can ask the credit bureau to send them to anyone who received your report in the past six months. If anyone received your credit report for employment purposes in the last two years, you can also send them your corrected credit report.
If the credit bureau did not side with you in a dispute and you’re not satisfied with the credit bureau’s investigation, you can file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and your state’s Department of Consumer Affairs or Attorney General.
To conclude, just a single error on your credit report can damage your credit score significantly. This can prevent you from getting loans, credit cards, a home, or even a job. To prevent this, periodically check your credit reports and use our step by step guide to dispute errors immediately.