Friday’s Credit Tip #13 Dispute Errors on Your Credit Report

A lot of folks have some trouble spots on their credit report, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be resolved!

The best thing to do when dealing with errors is to be proactive. Contact each of the three major credit bureaus, TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian, and get copies of your credit reports. Carefully read over the reports and note any errors. In writing, contact the credit bureaus and ask that mistakes be removed or investigated.

This is called a dispute letter and once it is received, credit bureaus have to investigate your dispute within thirty days of receiving your letter. It is important to keep a copy of your letter, and it is important to note the date the letter was sent. You should not be accusatory or abusive in your letter, simply calmly and clearly state the problem and request an investigation.

Note that you are aware the agency is required to investigate the claim within thirty days and note that you will follow up. Be sure that you do follow up with the issues you raised in your letter—just because the agency investigates does not always mean that your credit report will end up error-free.

Many credit bureaus now make it possible for you to correct errors on your credit report online, and many have information on their websites that tells you exactly how disputes must be handled to be effectively removed. It is important that you follow this information exactly so that the inaccuracies on your credit report are removed promptly and your credit score is updated as soon as possible.

Add a Note to Your Credit Report if There Is a Problem You Can’t Resolve

Sometimes, there are legitimate reasons why you didn’t pay a bill. If a contractor refused to finish a job or did a poor job, then you may have refused payment, but the non-payment may still count against you on your credit report. If there are any unusual circumstances surrounding your credit report that may affect your credit rating, such as a case of identity theft, you can ask that a note be attached to your credit report to explain the problem.

Some lenders will pay attention to this and some will not, but it is a better solution than nothing at all. Such a note will not affect your credit score but will affect your credit report. More importantly, it leaves a paper trail of the problem that lenders can look at if they choose.

What About You?

Do you keep a close eye on what appears on your credit report? Do you check when you’re thinking of making a big purchase or applying for a new credit card? Come back next week to learn why it’s important to always know what’s on your credit report and who’s looking at it.

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