Found an Error on Your Credit Report? Here’s How to Dispute It

Credit reporting errors can take different forms, such as an account you didn’t open appearing on your report, an incorrect late payment, an inaccurate payment amount, or a negative item that should have fallen off your credit reports by now. If you notice an error, you have the right to request a credit bureau investigation. The bureau will then validate the information, remove the data, or fix the error.

Why is this important? Errors in your credit reports could lead to lower credit scores, which can make it more difficult to qualify for a loan or credit card. Some errors, such as an account you don’t recognize or incorrect personal information, may even be indications of identity theft.

Correcting an error isn’t necessarily difficult, either. Here’s what you can do.

File a dispute with the credit bureau

When you find an error on your credit report, you can file a dispute with the associated credit bureau—Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion. If you see the same error on multiple credit reports, file a separate dispute with each bureau.

You can submit your dispute over the phone, by mail, or online. Keep copies of everything you submit, along with a record of when you call or send information. This can be easier to do if you use the online dispute system or mail your dispute claim.

To file a dispute online, visit the credit bureau’s website and follow the instructions.

You may have to create an account or retrieve your credit report using your personal information. You’ll then be able to review your credit report online and indicate which information you think is inaccurate or is too old to stay on your credit report.

The credit bureau might require you to pick from a preselected list of reasons for why you’re requesting an investigation, such as having no knowledge of the account, or what you think is wrong (e.g., incorrect balance, wrong dates, or the account was included in a bankruptcy).

There’s also room for you to include a written statement with your online dispute. And, you can upload relevant documents or pictures and add them to your dispute.

You might not be able to submit some types of disputes online, though. Such as when you’re trying to correct a name in the personal identifier section of your credit report.

If you’d prefer or need to submit a dispute over the phone or by mail you can use the contact information below.

Follow the representative’s instructions over the phone to submit your dispute and supporting documentation. If you’re mailing a dispute request form, you can also include copies of a letter explaining the situation, your credit report with highlighted accounts or information, and any supporting documents.

Equifax

1-866-349-5191

Fill and out mail a dispute request form:

Equifax Information Services, LLC
P.O. Box 740256
Atlanta, GA 30374

 Experian

1-866-200-6020

Fill and out mail a dispute request form:

Experian
P.O. Box 4500
Allen, TX 75013

TransUnion

1-800-916-8800

Fill and out mail a dispute request form:

Transunion Consumer Solutions
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016

 Wait for the credit bureau to investigate your claim

Generally, the credit bureaus have 30 days from the time they receive your dispute to investigate your claim. During this period, the bureau may correct a mistake based on the information and documentation you provided. Or, it may contact the company that reported the disputed information, such as a lender or credit card issuer, and ask that data furnisher to verify the information. The credit bureau will forward the documentation that you shared with it to the data furnisher as part of the investigation process.

The data furnisher will review the claim and send a response back to the credit bureau with instructions to correct your credit report or to say it believes your credit report is correct as is. When a data furnisher agrees that there is an error, it should also inform the other two credit bureaus. However, you may want to double-check your credit reports from the other bureaus to make sure they’ve been corrected.

 You’ll receive notifications about your dispute and the results by email if you submitted a dispute online, or by mail if you submitted the dispute by phone or mail. Once an error is corrected it shouldn’t appear on your credit reports again.

What if the credit bureau validates the information?

If the credit bureau or data furnisher disagrees with your dispute, then your report won’t change. You can add a short statement to your credit report about why you believe there’s an error, but the statement won’t impact your credit scores.

You could ask the credit bureau to reinvestigate your credit report, but if you don’t submit additional supporting documents the bureau might dismiss your request as frivolous. In some cases, even if you have new evidence, you may have to send the reinvestigation request by mail rather than online.

Also, double-check that what you think is an error is actually an error. Unfortunately, credit reporting isn’t always intuitive. For example, if you pay off a defaulted account or collections account, the account could legitimately stay on your report for years.

Consider filing a dispute with the data furnisher

If your dispute with the bureau wasn’t successful and you believe there’s still an error on your credit report, you might be able to file a dispute directly with data furnisher. Federal law requires data furnishers to investigate your dispute, and they’re obligated to only send complete and accurate information to the credit bureaus.

Even though the credit bureau was in contact with the data furnisher when you submitted a dispute to the bureau, you may have more success if you can work directly with someone who will investigate your claim.

 When nothing else works, contact a consumer rights attorney

In some cases, you may make repeated attempts to get your credit reports corrected and incorrect, incomplete, or untimely information will still be on your credit reports. You could contact an attorney who specializes in consumer rights, credit reporting, or the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), one of the federal laws about credit reporting.

An attorney could sue the credit reporting bureau and might help you get your credit report errors corrected. Depending on your case, some attorneys may work on contingency without any up-front fees.

 Need help identifying errors or writing your dispute letter?

While the dispute process is generally straightforward, can help make the dispute process even easier. The software can review a copy of your credit report and identifying potential errors. We can then create dispute letters based on the specifics in your credit reports that you can use when you’re mailing a dispute, or upload as part of an online dispute.

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