Your financial reputation carries a lot of weight. The ability to secure a loan, to qualify for lower interest rates, and even to find employment are just a few of the ways your credit rating can help or hurt you. When your finances are on the line, ensuring accuracy is key. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) was established to help consumers do just that. When you notice a false or inaccurate credit report item, the FCRA gives you the power to fight it with the credit dispute process. So, how does it work?
The credit dispute process is one that can be utilized by any consumer with a credit report. Credit disputes are used to combat:
- Inaccurate or false information
- Negative items resulting from identity theft
- Outdated information, such as contact information, name changes, etc.
- Information with a lapsed statute of limitations, such as bankruptcies and other judgments
If your credit report is incorrect, you have a right to correct it. Remember that in order to legally dispute credit information, it must be inaccurate, untimely or misleading. Never dispute negative items that are founded. So if you made a late credit card payment, your credit report will suffer the consequences.
There are, however, exceptions related to “unfair” credit reporting where creditors don’t follow the rules when sending information about you to the credit bureaus. A credit repair law firm like Lexington Law is well positioned to examine your full credit report in order to leverage such consumer protections on your behalf.
The Credit Dispute Process
After identifying the dark spots on your credit report, the next step is to begin the credit dispute process:
- Contact the credit bureaus via U.S. Mail, clearly describing the issues with your credit report. Be sure to include any information to support you claim. For example, Jane’s credit report shows that her car payment is 90 days overdue. To resolve this issue, she includes copies of her payment receipts from her lender for the past three months. Mail your letter and request a return receipt.
- Wait for the credit bureaus to respond. They have up to 60 days to review and investigate your claim.
- If your dispute is approved, follow up soon thereafter to make sure that incorrect information has been removed.
- If your dispute is wrongly denied, you have the option of filing another claim.
- Additionally, send any receipts to the creditor and inform them of the discrepancy. They should then follow up with the credit bureau to remove the erroneous negative items.
The credit dispute process can be frustrating, especially when your credit score is suffering. If your credit dispute is denied by the credit bureaus, accelerating your efforts may be necessary to get fair results. If you are hesitant to begin the process alone, contact a consumer advocacy firm like Lexington Law. Our expertise and dedication to client results can help you find the most effective path.