How to File a Credit Report Dispute
Credit reports contain a lot of information, including your address, your bills and any other public records concerning you. Credit bureaus do business with your report by selling them to employers, insurers, and creditor or any other person or entity willing to pay for it.
That information is useful for assessing risks involved if you’re dealing with employers, insurance and credit. However, do you know that about 79% of consumer credit reports contain some type of error? That means for every 5 people, 4 have erroneous credit reports.
This can cost you a lot in terms of loan application, but how do you go about filing a dispute regarding your credit report?
How to Lodge Dispute Regarding your Credit Report
You can choose one of three ways (online, phone or mail) or all ways to file a dispute on your credit report. However, it’s highly recommended you use the mail process because that way you have a paper trail. We’ll take a closer look at why you shouldn’t file a dispute online. But first, let’s go through the process of disputing an error on your credit report.
Scrutinize Your Credit Report
Before starting the credit report dispute process, you need to get a hold of your credit report. Afterward, scrutinize every entry in the report to make sure it is correct. Take a closer look at any inconsistencies you might come across and question them.
If you believe the entry is incorrect, then you have a right to dispute the entry.
Write a Credit Dispute Letter
After writing a credit dispute letter, the credit bureau will notify the creditor and they will have to conduct investigations, go through the information and report their findings to the credit bureau. If indeed the information was an error, the creditor will send notifications to all three consumer reporting agencies in the country for them to correct the error.
In some instances, the creditor might fail to notify the credit bureau, but the bureau will get rid of the error in your credit report. Often, you’ll hear from the credit bureau within 30 days. Sometimes it can be sooner.
If you don’t get the answers you hoped for, you need to follow up the dispute. Also, it’s possible that your letter was ignored and you’ll know this if you don’t get a response in 30 to 40 days. If this is the case, write a follow-up letter or you can go a step further by filing a formal complaint with the FTC.
The latter doesn’t take care of individual consumer disputes, but it’s vital for you to file a complaint for purposes of record-keeping if you decide to get a lawyer.
Seek Professional Help
If this process seems too overwhelming, you can seek the services of a credit repair company like Lexington Law Firm who will take care of the situation. Besides, they have been in business for the past 14 years.
Why You Shouldn’t File a Dispute Online
There are 2 main reasons why you shouldn’t file a dispute online:
No Paper Trail
Having records of the dispute is critical to getting rid of the errors from your credit report. By sending a letter, you are sure of receipt, especially if you sent it certified. This makes sure you have legitimate proof of date and time when you filed the dispute.
Remember that credit reporting companies are required by law to respond to disputes within 30 days of receipt of a dispute. This is why the date and time are important in this process. If you don’t have the dates as evidence, then this law is out of question. You will not be able to use it in your favor.
Online disputes don’t have a paper trail and the company might not send a confirmation email to acknowledge receipt. Sometimes, it’s a simple case of one disappearing from the lot, but sometimes it’s a case of ignorance from the creditors.
Mode of Handling the Dispute
When filing a dispute online, the information will not be handled the same way as in writing. The Fair Credit Reporting Act came to the rescue of consumers from numerous unfair credit reporting.
It was, however, revised to incorporate online disputes which is under section 611a(8). This section states that the agency may decide to disregard some paragraphs should it delete the information within three days after a dispute is filed.
The following are the paragraphs that can be disregarded:
- The credit reporting company doesn’t have to send the dispute and any other information to the creditor.
- The credit reporting company doesn’t have to provide you with any written findings from the investigation regarding the dispute.
- The credit reporting company doesn’t have to share the mode of verification.
The above information is critical to your fight in a credit dispute. Also, the deletion of information might be temporary which means the error can resurface in future reports.
Contrary to popular belief, filing a dispute regarding your credit doesn’t hurt your credit score. On the contrary, disputing your credit report can lead to the deletion of wrong information which can lead to a boost in your credit score by up to 100 points.
But now that you know how to file a dispute and the best way to do so, you can go ahead and file one if you find inconsistencies in your report.