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Seeing Results

The quickest way to evaluate the results of a successful dispute is to compare the new report you receive from the credit bureau to your previous report. Simply go down the list of negative items and see which ones have changed or been removed altogether.

Equifax and Trans Union will usually provide you with a list of items challenged, and the results for each one. TRW includes a similar list at the end of their report. Compare the list with the negatives remaining on your credit report to determine what progress, if any, has been made. There are five possible outcomes to your challenges.

The dispute was not investigated. Perhaps your dispute was not sufficiently clear, or the credit bureau simply chose to ignore it. Either way, you will need to dispute the item again in a follow-up letter. See Getting Responses for more information.

The dispute was investigated and verified as accurate. This means the creditor responded to the bureau's request for verification. It is also possible that the bureau faked the investigation to get you off their back. You have the right to dispute the listing again at a future time, but be sure to wait at least 90 days before you do so.

The dispute was investigated and found to be inaccurate or unverifiable. Alas, the result you had hoped for. The negative listing is converted to a positive one, and you can now enjoy good credit once more.

The disputed item could not be verified as belonging to you. This means the bureau inquired with the creditor who was unable to verify the listing in your credit report. An excellent scenario for you, as the negative listing is removed from your report altogether.

The disputed item was deleted, but later verified and listed again on your report. Creditors who are asked to verify a listing have 30 days to do so. Sometimes it takes them longer. As a result, the listing will first be removed by the bureau, then added again to your report as the creditor provides verification. If this happens, see outcome #2 above.

Restoring your credit is a cycle. Results can be disappointing, but remember that it took you some time to create your bad credit, and it will take some time to fix it, too. If you are not satisfied with the outcome, consider using a professional service.