February 3rd, 2009

How to Dispute Items on Your Credit Report

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errorWhen you read your free annual credit report, you may stumble upon inaccuracies in the items that are listed. Your credit report is so important that is vital to get any inaccuracies corrected. The process of disputing information on the credit report is provided and protected by the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The act requires the credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax) to respond and work with you in an investigation into disputes. If it is found to be inaccurate, or the creditors are unable to prove their claim within thirty days, then the report will get updated.

There are a number of areas where the credit report can be inaccurate. A common mistake is listing late payments where your records indicate that you have made all payments on time. If you are in possession of canceled checks or statements showing the payment with a date, then you can get these entries removed. Outdated information on the credit report can also be disputed. All data, except for bankruptcy, has a seven year life span. The other big issue is if a fraudulent account appears on the report. This can be the result of identity theft or someone with a similar name showing up on your account.

The process of filing the dispute begins by writing the dispute and claim. A letter is written to the credit reporting agency, or their online dispute form utilized. From the time of filing, the credit reporting company has thirty days to investigate the dispute and come to a conclusion. The result is mailed to you along with a copy of your credit report if it has been changed. The best chance you have is to make a copy of the credit report at issue, encircling the disputed item or items and giving them numbers. Use the numbers in your letter to best explain your claim, providing rationale behind making the dispute. Be sure that you include all of your pertinent information, including you full name, address, date of birth, social security number, name of the creditor and account numbers, and above all else sign the document. There are other ways to dispute items on the report. You can contact the creditor directly and dispute the information with them. If you make such a claim to the creditor and indicate that the information on the report is incorrect, then according to the FCRA, they must include a note in the report that the item is disputed, or not at all. If an error is found then it must be removed.

You claim might not get a settlement in your favor. If the dispute does not end in your favor, then you can dispute the claim with the National Consumer Assistance Center. This will require that you are equipped with the documentation and evidence of the inaccuracy. And despite all that work, if the item gets removed, the creditor may put them back on the report afterward. If it is believed that the credit bureau is in violation of the FCRA, then the Attorney General’s office should be contacted. There is the option to sue the bureau or creditor in state or federal court.

If you’d rather solicit a credit repair company to help with disputing your errors, check out Lexington Law Firm.

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Disclaimer: All information posted to this site was accurate at the time of its initial publication. Efforts have been made to keep the content up to date and accurate. However, Credit Karma does not make any guarantees about the accuracy or completeness of the information provided. For complete details of any products mentioned, visit bank or issuer website.

7 Comments

  1. I think if anyone have any wrong information on his or her credit report then he should try to inform it to the credit reporting agencies as soon as possible to rectify it.

    Mortgage guy at 11:05 pm on June 1, 2009
  2. Thanks for sharing. It is useful for me.

    Alex at 12:52 pm on September 5, 2009
  3. How do you find out whats exactly on your credit report?

    Marquita Cooper at 9:49 am on January 27, 2010
  4. credit karma does not have my bank of america credit card listed and i’ve had a credit card since 1988.i believe if it was on my account it would help my credit score. thanks ben white

    ben a. white at 9:30 am on March 5, 2014
  5. Mike

    Hi Ben – If you’re seeing incorrect information on your account, feel free to email us over at support@creditkarma.com. We’d be happy to look into it. Thanks!

    Mike at 2:13 pm on March 5, 2014
  6. I looked over the report and see a vehicle loan on a car that I no longer own. I couldn’t afford to fix it and make the payments yeah a lemon. I volunteer to have it repo and they keep sayin im still responsible for the entire loan so they keep reporting it a delinquent although they have sold it to someone else. What do I need to do to get this removed off of my reports?

    Paul Spears at 6:45 am on July 13, 2014
  7. Mike

    Hi Paul – That sounds like a bit of a tricky situation. I’d recommend checking our advice center to see if anyone’s found themselves in a comparable spot: https://www.creditkarma.com/all/advice

    Mike at 9:24 am on July 14, 2014

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