Fixing credit report errors – what to do

NOTE
All 3 of the credit bureaus now accept filing of disputes online, with Experian only accepting online submissions. To find out how to initiate a dispute online, click here.

To insure that the mistake gets corrected as quickly as possible, contact both the credit bureau and organization that provided the information to the bureau. Both these parties are responsible for correcting inaccurate or incomplete information in your report under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

First, tell the credit bureau what information you believe is inaccurate.
The credit bureau must investigate the item(s) in question – usually within 30 days – unless they consider your dispute frivolous. Include copies (NOT originals) of documents that support your position. In addition to providing your complete name and address, your letter should:

  • Clearly identify each item in your report you dispute.
  • State the facts and explain why you dispute the information.
  • Request deletion or correction.

You may want to enclose a copy of your report with the items in question circled. Your letter may look something like this sample. Send your letter by certified mail, return receipt requested, so you can document that the credit bureau received your correspondence. Keep copies of your dispute letter and enclosures.

Second, write to the appropriate creditor or other information provider, explaining that you are disputing the information provided to the bureau.
Again, include copies of documents that support your position. Many providers specify an address for disputes. If the provider again reports the same information to a bureau, it must include a notice of your dispute. Request that the provider copy you on correspondence they send to the bureau. Expect this process to take between 30 and 90 days.

In many states, you will be eligible to receive a free credit report directly from the credit bureau, once a dispute has been registered, in order to verify the updated information. Contact the appropriate credit bureau to see if you qualify for this service.

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