This guide will show you how to form a credit report dispute.
Credit report errors aren’t uncommon.
According to the FTC (Federal Trade Commission), about 25 percent of users have inaccuracies in their reports.
It takes a single error for a landlord or a lender to turn down your tenant or loan application.
So, it becomes necessary to review your credit reports regularly and look for issues, if any.
Get a copy of your report from all the three major credit reporting bureaus and go through them carefully.
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How To Form a Credit Report Dispute
What can you dispute?
What can’t you dispute?
We’ll cover those things here.
What You Can Dispute?
Inaccurate personal details
Inaccuracies related to personal details include misspelling in your name, an unrecognized employer, and an unknown address.
If you see information that is not yours, dispute it.
And audit your credit report to make sure you’re not a victim of identity fraud.
Red flags are credit cards or loans that you never opened yourself.
Some accounts get listed twice and sometimes this is a simple mistake.
Other times, it’s laziness on the data furnishers part.
Either way, this could harm your scores and should be disputed if you find an issue.
These are the biggest red flags that you should look for.
In the digital age, hackers are breaching big banks, institutions, and even credit bureaus.
Leaking your personal information on the web.
The last thing you want to see are accounts you’ve never opened.
If you find this, you may be a victim of identity theft and will want to contact the credit bureaus via phone immediately.
You might need to file a police report with your local authorities and file further paperwork for each credit bureau.
Inaccurate Payment History
You paid your bills on time, but your report is showing late payments.
This can hurt your credit score the most.
You’ll want to contact the bureaus and ask them to correct this.
Include any paperwork, confirmation receipts, or other evidence.
What Can’t You Dispute?
Just like points you can dispute, there are certain items you can’t challenge.
For example, you can’t dispute accurate information because you believe that it reflects poorly on you.
If you try to file a dispute, you’ll finish up wasting your time.
Why? You probably won’t win.
We advise not disputing frivolously, as it can do more harm than good.
By this point, you know what you can’t dispute and points that you must dispute.
Now, you’d like to know how to form a credit report dispute.
How To Dispute Credit Report Errors?
Disputing discrepancies in your credit report is a simple process.
Usually, there are 4 or 5 steps depending on how things go.
1. Assess your credit report
You just can’t dispute errors in your report without finding them.
So, how do you detect errors?
Check your reports for inaccuracies detailed above.
In case you identify mistakes, you can file a dispute claim.
2. Investigate mistakes/errors
Credit reports can be confusing.
They contain information that you may not be familiar with.
Jargon and industry codes can confuse anyone.
Take the time to learn the jargon and industry codes so that you have a better understanding of what you’re looking at.
We have a guided, step-by-step online class that shows you exactly how to do this.
3. Choose a method for the dispute
After finding the mistake, it’s time to file a dispute.
There are three ways to file a dispute – by mail, by phone, or online.
You may decide which method you want. We recommend by mail every single time.
Mailing hard copies gives you a paper trail to work with and a war chest of evidence to use if you need it later.
How To Form A Credit Report Dispute Online
Sending a dispute statement online is the quickest option.
Just visit a credible website such as annualcreditreport.com or the websites of credit rating agencies.
While the dispute page on each of the bureau sites will differ, they’ll encompass similar steps.
First, choose the option that describes your situation.
Next, verify your identity and input your report number.
By now, you can review the report and find errors.
You should find an option to dispute any item you want on that page.
When you click the dispute option, you’ll be asked to enter the reason.
Be specific about the reason.
You’ll have to choose from multiple reasons from the drop-down menu.
Here, you’ll be able to explain why you believe the details to be incorrect.
Once you send the dispute, you should be redirected to a confirmation page.
Print or save the confirmation page for records.
How To Form A Credit Report Dispute By Mail
Filling a dispute by mail differs from disputing online.
Here, you send a dispute letter along with supporting evidence (if available) to the bureaus in question.
Besides summarizing the errors, your dispute should include your full name, current address, account numbers for loans or credit cards in question, and proof such as photocopies of credit card, receipts, or loan statements.
Any evidence you have to back up your claims, use.
There’s one thing you need to be aware of with filing a dispute by mail.
Most users send a dispute statement but don’t get a reply from the bureau.
Why is this? Because they don’t get delivery confirmation from the credit bureau.
To avoid this, always send your disputes through certified mail.
And always get a receipt from the post office when sending through certified mail.
How To Form A Credit Report Dispute By Phone
Contacting the credit reporting agency via phone is another option.
Some folks prefer this method, as it involves personal interaction.
However, this lacks any type of paper trail and is riskier.
Therefore, most people prefer mailing disputes just for the documentation.
The phone method works best for simple quick fixes.
4. Wait for results
Once a dispute is started, the credit reporting agency will get in touch with data furnishers to investigate your dispute claims.
Data furnishers and credit bureaus have 30 days to respond to disputes.
When the investigation completes, the bureau will reply to you with the results.
The bureaus response will include details about the investigation and what the result was.
If the credit reporting agency finds nothing disputable, it won’t change your credit report.
In case the bureau finds nothing wrong in the report and makes no changes, you may file a second dispute.
Before you do that, contact the data furnishers yourself.
Seek additional information from them.
Draft a new dispute and send new information supporting your claim.
On receipt of this new dispute, the credit bureaus will conduct a 2nd investigation.
5. Contact the higher authority
If you still get don’t get the desired results, you may consider filing a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
This is one of the last steps you should take and only move forward if you’re 100% certain about your claim.
We recommend consulting with a consumer debt attorney before taking actions like this.
How To Form A Credit Report Dispute Conclusion
Disputing errors in your credit report is a fundamental right you have under The Fair Credit Reporting Act.
Leaving errors and inaccuracies on your report can cause you getting a lower credit score than you deserve.
Follow the above advice on how to form a credit report dispute.
If it seems overwhelming and you would like professional guidance, then consider our master class.
It teaches how to dispute credit report errors and fight for a 100% accurate and verified credit report.
In addition, get credit building tips and hacks from an experienced professional.
Bet of luck!