When your credit report contains inaccurate information, it is almost always due to human error. By law stated in the Fair Credit Reporting Act, credit agencies and lending organizations are responsible for correcting inaccurate or incomplete information. They must investigate disputes - usually within 30 days - unless they consider them frivolous. Follow these steps to correct errors on your credit report.
- Put the corrections in writing and keep the original paperwork in your files. Most credit report copies come with a "Dispute" form that you can use to request corrections. Forward or include copies (keep the originals) of documents that support your position. Send your letters by certified mail, return receipt requested, so you can document that the credit bureaus and lending institutions received your correspondence. Keep copies of your dispute letters and enclosures.
- Clearly identify each item in your report you dispute.
- State the facts and explain why you dispute the information.
- Request deletion or correction.
- Contact the three major U.S. credit agencies. All three provide online forms that you can submit by e-mail. It is important to contact all three credit agencies because they create their reports independently.
- Contact the lending organizations that provided information to the credit agencies. Write to them and explain that you are disputing information provided to a credit agency. Again, include copies of documents that support your position. Many providers list a specific address that you should write to for disputes. Request that they send you copies of any future correspondence with credit agencies. If the provider again reports the incorrect information to a credit agency, they must include a notice of your dispute.
- Be patient. The process takes between 30 and 90 days. In many states, you are eligible to receive a free credit report from the credit agency, once a dispute has been registered. Get a new report to verify that the agencies have made the corrections. Contact the appropriate credit agency to see if you qualify for this service.