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Credit Report Problems: Filing Disputes

By Ruth Racey
Published: Sunday, September 20th, 2009

There are times when you get a credit report with entries that are obviously incorrect. An incorrect entry in your report is not something you can just dismiss since they can have a negative impact on your credit score. Fortunately, you can dispute credit report problems by going to the bureau which issued the report and have entries corrected. All you need to do is present evidence against their mistake.

When disputing a credit report loaded with erroneous entries, you have to follow some steps. First, you need to have in your hands the most current copy of the report. It is advisable to have all three copies from the credit bureaus for comparison purposes. You are allowed one free copy each year from these three bureaus.

Second, check entries in each report and look for similarities and differences. Differences in entries will indicate that one or two of the bureaus may have missed something or inadvertently included faulty information in their reports. After identifying the incorrect information, you can write the bureau or bureaus and the credit companies you have transactions with. This letter should contain a copy of each report and documents — receipts, statement of accounts or checks — supporting your dispute.

In your letter, be certain that you have your full name, and your present address. Remember to retain a copy of the disputed reports for documentary purposes as well. To ensure that you can present proof that you actually sent the letter and ensure that the bureaus received the complaint, send it via certified mail. According to the law, bureaus are required to resolve a dispute 30 days after receipt of information. Whatever the verdict is, whether you are right or wrong, the bureaus have the obligation to inform you of it. In addition, they also have to communicate the decision to the credit companies. Should the dispute result in correction of entries, then, you have a right to receive a corrected credit report.

A sound credit report is vital to your financial health. Keeping a close watch on it is imperative especially if you constantly avail of the services of banks, lending and credit card companies. Expect changes to the reports to happen often and fast. Obtaining reports for monitoring purposes and making certain that they truly reflect your transactions is ideal. Faulty entries can lead to a bad credit rating which can lower your chances of enjoying favorable terms and conditions from creditors. Knowing how to dispute credit report problems is an effective method of maintaining a sound credit score.

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