All consumers have the right to dispute errors in his/her credit report. This right is based on the Fair Credit Reporting Act which became effective in 2003. Disputing errors protects a consumer against fraud and Identity Theft. Thus, in case there are unauthorized charges contained in the report, a consumer can alert the bureau and his/her creditors about them.
An Issue of Mistaken Reporting
It is important to understand that your lenders are the ones who report your activities as a borrower to the credit bureaus. Sometimes, even when no unauthorized charges were made, the error can be a result of inaccurate reporting. It is not unusual for a creditor or lender to make mistakes and this is why everyone is encouraged to check their reports at least twice a year. If you have discovered errors, how can you dispute about them effectively?
Steps on Disputing Credit Report Errors
First, you need to make sure that your dispute is valid. If you’re really certain about the complaint, prepare your dispute letter. You can find sample letters from the Internet and you can check them out if you don’t know how to write one. Some people choose to send the actual sample to the bureau, changing only the details or filling out the blanks but this can prove to be inefficient.
Remember that the bureaus receive thousands of these letters and some of them are phony letters.If you really want to get a response, you can write a simple letter in your own words, pointing out the details that you want to be corrected.Although it does not need to be a very formal business letter, write with courtesy and be professional.Before sealing your envelope, check your letter for typos or corrections.
You can include a photocopy of your report with the items in question encircled or marked. If you’re disputing about paid bills, you can include a photocopy of the receipts with your letter. Send it via registered post mail to ensure that it will be received.
You may need to up to 30 days as the credit bureau will investigate about your complaint. After 30 days, the bureau will send you a response through registered post mail. If the issue has been resolved, you will also be sent an updated copy of your credit report for free. The bureau will also notify the other 2 major credit reporting agencies about the investigation made on your report.
On the other hand, if your issue has not been resolved because the creditor involved disagrees with your complaint, you can speak with this creditor about the issue. Meanwhile, you can request the credit bureau to include a note with your report each time a potential lender requests for it. However, this is not free service and the bureau may charge you for this request.