Credit report errors happen more often than you probably think. If you don’t check your credit report often, these errors can get by unnoticed. By the time you notice them it could be when you are trying to get financing, such as a mortgage, and it then becomes a hassle.
Rather than letting it get to this point, learn the best ways to fix the most common credit report errors.
The Credit Bureaus Must Investigate
First, you should know that if you bring a dispute to the credit bureau’s attention, they have to address it. In fact, they have 30 days to get to the bottom of the issue. If they can’t get a valid response from the creditor that reported the information, the credit bureau must remove the information from your credit report.
This is why it’s so important to check your credit report regularly. You are entitled to a copy of your credit report from each of the three credit bureaus once per year. At the very least, take advantage of this option so that you can get your credit report mistakes fixed.
Dispute the Errors in Writing
First and foremost, dispute the error in writing and via snail mail. Don’t dispute the issue online. While this may seem like the easier or more convenient method, it’s fraught with downsides. When you write or type a letter and mail it in, the credit bureau has to address the issue. When you mail the dispute in, you can also include any evidence of the wrongdoing to support your cause.
When you type up your letter, make sure you include as much evidence and explanation as possible. Don’t resort to ‘generic’ reasons, such as ‘I paid this bill,’ or ‘this bill isn’t mine.’ Elaborate as much as you can so that the credit bureau has something to investigate.
Write to the Right Credit Bureau
If you learned of a mistake on your credit report from a lender, chances are that they were looking at a merged credit report. You need to know exactly which bureau is reporting the wrong information about you, though. It doesn’t do you any good to write to Trans Union about a mistake if it was actually Experian that made the mistake.
If you are unsure which credit bureau is at fault, pull your own credit report right from the credit bureau. If you’ve already used your free option for the year, try getting a copy of the credit report from the bureau that provided the information that the lender used to turn your application down.
Don’t Bundle Mistakes
If you have more than one mistake on your credit report, make them separate issues. Writing one long letter to the credit bureau for all of the mistakes on your credit report could get overlooked. Instead, make each mistake its own letter. This way the credit bureau can focus on one issue at a time.
Writing separate letters also helps you keep track of everything that goes on with a particular issue. You can keep the evidence and responses separate so that you know how to proceed. If you mix too many issues together, it’s easy to get confused.
Don’t Give Up
It’s easy to get frustrated when you are trying to fight the credit bureau and/or your creditor about a mistake. The credit bureau will be likely to believe whatever the creditor says. If it doesn’t match what you are saying, you might not get the mistake resolved.
If you don’t get it fixed the first time, try again. There isn’t a rule stating how many times you can dispute a mistake. If you still can’t get the answer you need after a few attempts, consider submitting a complaint to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Once the CFPB gets involved, the credit bureau has no choice but to respond and to work on resolving the issue.
Don’t get frustrated when you need credit report errors fixed. It takes a lot of due diligence and repetition to get them fixed. If you can’t get anywhere with the credit bureau alone, you are free to contact the creditor as well to see if they can resolve the issue for you. Sometimes it just takes giving the creditor the same evidence that you provided the credit bureau with to get to the bottom of the issue.