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How to Dispute Errors on Credit Reports

One of the most common questions we receive from readers is "what's the best way to dispute errors on my credit report"?

Contrary to popular belief, disputing online through the credit bureaus' websites isn't the best way to get results or document your efforts. It may be the the fastest, but it's certainly not the most effective route to take.

If you want to make sure your dispute is not only taken seriously, but also well documented, follow these 3 easy steps the next time inaccurate information pops up on your credit reports:

1.) Dispute IN WRITING through the Credit Reporting Agency

Send a simple, to-the-point letter to the credit reporting agency (or all three if necessary) and tell them specifically what inaccurate information you're disputing and why. Include copies, not originals, of any documents you have supporting your dispute, and request that the information be removed or corrected. You may wish to even send a copy of your credit report with the items you're disputing circled in red so there isn't room for confusion in regards to what you're disputing.

In addition, don't forget to include your complete name and address, and then send the letter certified mail, "return receipt requested", so you can document exactly when it was received. You should receive a response to your dispute within 30-45 days.

2.) Dispute IN WRITING through the Information Provider

The FCRA requires both credit reporting agencies and information providers (the company providing information about you to the credit bureaus) to correct inaccurate or missing information on your credit reports.

So, the next step is to write a letter directly to the information provider and tell them what you're disputing as well. Just like you did with the credit reporting agency, be sure to include copies of any documents that support your dispute, tell them why the information is incorrect. Then send the letter via certified mail return-receipt requested.

3.) Document, Document, Document!

Documentation is key in any credit report dispute. Credit reporting agencies and creditors are unfortunately notorious for giving consumers the runaround, so you need to be prepared at all times to provide solid documentation of your entire dispute.

Make copies of all written correspondence you send or receive, and take detailed notes on any conversations you have with the credit bureaus or information providers. Keep a timeline of important events, and file your documentation away in whatever method is the easiest for you to keep track of and organize.

If you're looking for more direct guidance, try visiting our free discussion forum about credit to get the support and advice you need from more than 30,000 members.

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Alice Bryant's picture

Alice Bryant is the Editor of Creditnet and a personal finance expert with over a decade of experience writing about credit cards, credit scores, debt repair, and more.

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