How to properly dispute items on your credit report
Many consumers are unsure how to dispute an item on their credit report. I provide here a quick guide to help people who are trying to fix inaccuracies being reported by credit reporting agencies.
Get a free copy of your credit reportsAnnualCreditReport.com is a website maintained by the three biggest credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. The site was created in order to comply with their obligations under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) to provide a way for people to receive their free credit reports once per year.
You can download your credit reports directly from that website or you can call 1-877-322-8228.
Write your disputeMake sure your letter clearly tells the credit reporting agencies what you are disputing.
Identify the account you are disputing and why you believe what is being reporting is inaccurate or misleading.
Include proof for your disputeIf you have evidence to show that your credit report is inaccurate or misleading, include copies of the documents.
For example, if you are disputing an account that was opened by an identity thief, include a police report or other paperwork to show that you were the victim of identity theft.
As another example, if you are disputing a "late" notation, even though you made the payment on time, include the receipt showing that you paid on time.
Finally, it is a good idea to include proof of your identity. You may want to send a copy of your identification or some other proof of your identity--especially is you're the victim of identity theft.
Send your dispute to the credit reporting agencyYou should send your dispute to Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion directly.
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you do not have a private right of action against the furnishers of information (the companies that provide your credit information to Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion), unless your dispute is sent directly to the applicable credit reporting agency. See 15 USC 1681i.
It is preferred that you send the letter certified mail and get a tracking number. This way, you have proof that the letter was received.
Wait 30 daysCredit reporting agencies are required by federal law to send you a response within 30 days. Under certain conditions, they may notify you that some additional time is required to prepare the response.
Once you receive the response letter (called the "reinvestigation results"), review the paperwork carefully to make sure the errors you disputed have been corrected.