How to Handle a Credit Report Dispute

Credit problems tend to crop up at the worst times. When you are buying a car or looking for a job, you run into the issue of your bad credit. When you go to investigate, you might find some inaccurate or very old items on your history. What do you do?

You dispute them. Handling a credit report dispute should be a skill that every functioning adult learns. It is one of the keys to financial well-being. So how do you fight back against an inaccurate credit report?

First, read on and see exactly what not to do:

Don’t Do These 5 Things

Dispute Only With The Furnisher

Don’t fall for the shortcut of dealing only with the lender and try to avoid talking to one of the credit bureaus. The lender, who furnishes the info to the agencies, cannot be relied upon solely to fix their mistake. You have to follow up with the credit bureau.

Avoid Looking At The Terms With the Credit Bureau

When you download your credit report, it is tempting to skip over reading the terms and conditions. Common mistake in this modern world. Don’t fall for it. Be thorough and learn how to avoid being automatically swept into a binding arbitration agreement.

Go Into The Fight Empty Handed

Keep copies of everything. And stay organized. If you lose evidence that you paid off the debt in dispute, no one is just going to take your word for it. You are going to need paperwork to back up your claims.

Skimp On The Paperwork

Provide as much information as you possibly can when you dispute the error. Try to avoid the online disputing forms on credit bureaus websites, because they never give you enough space to state your full explanation.

Forget To Pay Attention To Dates

Most negative items on your credit report should fall off after 7 years. If you see an accurate debt on your report that is more than 7 years old, you can hold the credit reporter liable under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

What Should You Do?

Well, first of all, don’t dispute the error online or over the phone. It may seem easier and more convenient, but it limits your ability to tell a full story and leaves you vulnerable to shoddy record keeping they bureaus you are looking to fight with.  

Most experts say you should send a detailed, printed letter (no email!) to the credit bureau with a full explanation as to why the information in the report is wrong. And included evidence with the dispute letter.

Good luck and happy disputing!

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