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Ordering Your Credit Reports

Whether you choose to fight the credit bureaus on your own or through a professional service, you will need to obtain a credit report for your records. There are three bureaus (Equifax, Trans Union, TRW) and each can have a credit file that contains different listings than the other two.

There are two ways to go about ordering your reports. You can either request a copy by postal mail directly from the credit bureaus, or you can get a report online in 30 seconds through a third party. The cost is slightly higher but you receive your report immediately and it will explain the listings in layman's terms. Ordering from the bureaus will get you the same information but in bureau lingo. If you choose to order directly from the bureaus, be sure to read the next section titled Analyzing Reports which explains how to interpret the information that appears on your credit report.

If you have been denied credit in the last 60 days you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report from the bureau listed on your denial letter. This may take a little longer than if you simply purchased the report, but it does save you a few dollars. Send your request for a free credit report via certified mail, return receipt requested. The bureaus change their address frequently, so it's generally a good idea to call them first. If you telephone the credit bureau to confirm their mailing address, be careful not to say anything that would indicate you are trying to restore your credit. Do not submit your dispute over the telephone. It will be hard enough to do so in writing.

Copy your letter(s) and check(s) and file them according to the date they were sent. The credit bureaus often take your check and send you nothing. Don't despair, this is just another skirmish in a long battle. If you do not receive your credit report within three weeks, send a follow-up letter via certified mail, return receipt requested, demanding that they forward your report immediately. Include a copy of your check and your original letter. Remember, you have the the right to purchase and see your credit report.

If you would rather not deal with the credit bureaus directly we suggest you get your credit report online through a third party. This will save you time and frustration of having to deal with them directly.