What Happens When I Dispute Items On My Credit Report?

Throughout life we all encounter little hiccups that impact us financially. Going to college, getting married, having children, various medical ailments and eventually paying for your children to go to college. All of these events have the potential to apply enormous financial strain on our lives.

In the process of enduring the hills and valleys associated with life, one thing that is sometimes overlooked is our credit. Information tracked and recorded by credit bureaus stays on file and impacts our financial well being for up to ten years, sometimes even longer. But what if that information is inaccurate or even entirely wrong?

Don t fret, At TopTenREVIEWS We Do the Research So You Don't Have To.  There is a way to fix your credit report and luckily, it doesn t involve getting deeper into debt.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) guarantees the accuracy and privacy of information kept on file with the nation s consumer reporting companies. It is recommended that consumers review the information contained in their credit report on an annual basis because this information can affect obtaining financing on a car or home, getting a job, or even renting an apartment.

First of all, an amendment to the FCRA requires each nationwide credit bureau to provide you with a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months. Although many other companies claim to provide a free credit report, the only "authorized" source for this free credit report is

Take advantage of this free service annually. If you find errors or inconsistencies in your annual credit report you can dispute them by following a few simple steps.

You Must 

The first thing   after obtaining a copy of your free credit report   is to tell the Credit Bureaus, in writing, what is incorrect on your credit report. Make sure to include as much information as possible about the creditor or furnisher of the information (i.e. business name, address, phone numbers, etc.). Also, make copies of any documents you have that support your position and include them with the letter.

The complete letter should contain details about the item being disputed; a copy of your credit report with the item highlighted or circled, an explanation of why you feel it is incorrect, and a request to have it removed from your report. Be sure to actually request to have the item removed because the credit bureaus don t assume anything.

Credit Bureau Must 

Once the Credit Bureaus receive your request they have five days to forward it on to the creditor or company that furnished the information on your report.

The Credit Bureaus don t actually play a large role in the dispute process. All they really do is act as a middle person between you and the creditor or information provider.

When you dispute an item on your credit report the credit reporting agencies are required by law to investigate your claim. To do this they will contact the source of the information (the alleged creditor) and ask them to verify their records.

Information Provider ( Furnisher ) Must 

When the furnisher receives your dispute information they have to verify that the information is true and correct. Generally, the source has 30 days to respond to the investigation.

In their response they will either verify the information is correct, or ask the credit reporting agency to update or correct the item in question. If the furnisher finds the information to be incorrect they have to contact all three credit reporting bureaus and request a correction be made to your report.

When the investigation is complete, the credit reporting agency will generally send you the results of the dispute investigation.

The Credit Bureaus are not always right and they don t claim to be. The information they have on file is only a reflection of what your creditors submit to them. If you see something on your credit report that doesn t match up with your records, dispute it immediately.

For information about credit report monitoring services, check out our Credit Reports site. These services can watch your report and alert you of any key changes that may be an early indication of identity theft. They can also help you clean up your credit report.

For information about services that allow you to monitor your credit report, check out our Credit Report website.

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