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Organizing Yourself

You are going to be dealing with a lot of paperwork and correspondence, so it's a good idea to develop an organizational system which you can use to track and sort all communication with the credit bureaus and the creditors.

Get yourself a large, desk blotter-size calendar and a fine-point pen. On each date box, reserve the top portion of the box for correspondence deadlines such as the date you expect to receive a credit report from a particular bureau and when you expect an investigation to be completed. Reserve the bottom portion of the date box for notations about actions you've taken such as when you ordered a credit report or when you sent your dispute letter.

Use a small filing cabinet to keep your credit bureau and creditor files organized. You should open a file for each credit bureau, two files per bureau if you are working as a couple. Every time you receive a credit report, credit bureau correspondence, or you send a correspondence, a copy of the document must be dated (date sent/received by you) and filed in the appropriate folder. Keep all the documents in chronological order. Open another file for each creditor. These same rules apply for communication with individual creditors.

When you speak with a creditor, document the time and date of conversation, name and position of the person you spoke with, what was said, and what was agreed on. If possible get their superior's name and direct phone number as well. Use a single sheet of paper for each conversation and file chronologically in the creditor's folder.

Documenting every move may seem tedious, but it will help you win arguments and expedite the process.