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Dealing with Faulty Credit Reports

By Ruth Racey
Published: Friday, September 4th, 2009

Millions of Americans having multiple credit cards at their disposal making the task of monitoring the spending habits and behaviors of millions of consumers strenuous. To add to this situation, the federal government only authorizes three major credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion to provide reliable credit history and scores to consumers at least once a year.

Because of this, some Americans can see errors on their credit reports every so often. The large volume of data can often be too much even for hi-tech computer systems. As a result of human error and computer glitches, grave errors can often make their way into cardholders’ credit reports.

Collecting credit information is a complex process that involves constant coordination with a multitude of card companies and banks. Whenever a card is issued to a consumer, the card company tracks his or her spending habits. This is then passed on to one of the three credit agencies for consolidation with information from other banks. Because a consumer can have several credit cards at the same time, collecting and consolidating every bit of data can be tedious for the credit bureaus.

By law, cardholders can ask for their credit reports at least once every year from any of the three credit agencies. On the internet, several reputable websites offer credit reports for interested consumers. These particular websites provide cardholders with their credit reports taken from the three bureaus.

Every so often, consumers can receive erroneous entries in their credit reports. Cardholders who are particularly sensitive about their credit expenses can take offense over any mistakes reflected in their credit history. They can, however, take measures to correct the errors before their credit scores are affected.

The law requires credit bureaus to correct any errors within 30 days. Once a cardholder receives a credit report with errors, he or she should immediately contact the credit agency who issued the report. Many experts advise writing to the agencies to inform them of the supposed mistakes. Keeping everything in black and white can be useful for recording purposes. Consumers should maintain a polite tone when writing a letter to the bureaus. They should then attach a copy of the erroneous report and highlight the mistakes you think they made.

If the credit agency agrees with the cardholder that a mistake has been committed, then the error will be removed from the credit report. However, if the bureau insists that the entries in question are valid, then it would still be best for cardholders to place a statement in writing, explaining their side of the story. New creditors will be given the consumers’ records, along with their written statements.

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