Correcting Errors On Your Credit Report
The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires that incomplete or incorrect information on your credit report must be corrected for free by the credit reporting agency. If you find an error and ask that it be corrected, the credit reporting agency has 30-45 days to investigate. Only inaccurate information may be removed from your credit report; negative information that is accurate will stay on your credit report as long as governing laws allow.
To submit a dispute:
The credit reporting agency will ask the party that generated the information for their records. After the investigation you can expect the following from the credit reporting agency:
- Inform both the credit reporting agency and the company that supplied the information to the credit reporting agency that you believe your credit report contains inaccurate information. The best way to do this is by writing each of them a letter. If you don’t have the resources to write the letter, the credit reporting agency may be willing to help you.
- In the letter, include your full name and address, the full name of the company that supplied the disputed item and the account number of the disputed item (from your credit report).
- Include copies of any documents that support your position (credit card statement, court document, etc.).
- Identify each item in the report that you dispute, explain why you dispute the information, and request deletion or correction. Enclose a copy of your report with the items in question circled or highlighted.
- Keep copies of your dispute letter and any records you send along with it. Do not send original documents.
- Send the letter by certified mail, return receipt requested.
If you feel that the credit reporting agency has not resolved your dispute you can add a statement to your report that explains your side of the story. The statement must be less than 100 words and will remain on your report for seven years. It will be sent to anyone who requests a copy of your report.
- If the lender cannot find a record of the disputed information, the credit reporting agency should delete the information from your credit report.
- If they find evidence that the information is inaccurate they will make a correction to your report or add any missing information and will usually mail you an updated copy of your report.
- At your request, they will send a ‘notice of correction’ to any creditor who has checked your report in the last six months.
- The agency should also send the corrected information to the other credit reporting agencies, but you should confirm that this has been done by rechecking all of the reports.
Please Note that since 2006, the New York State Security Freeze Law has allowed New York State residents to place a Security Freeze on their credit reports. Please visit the New York State Consumer Protection Board.
Request your free annual credit report from all three major agencies online at annualcreditreport.com.