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How to Dispute Your Credit Report

Oct 9, 2007
Consumer reporting agencies, also known as credit bureaus, collect financial information from you from any lending institutions with which you have a relationship. This financial information is compiled into a credit report. If you've ever had a credit card, any type of loan, or a collection account, chances are you have a credit report.

Whenever you apply for a credit card, a mortgage, or any other type of loan from a lending institution, the lenders and creditors will use your credit report to determine whether or not they should extend credit to you. They base this decision upon how you pay your bills. This information is found in your credit report. If the information contained in your credit report is incomplete or inaccurate, you could be turned down for credit.

In the case that your credit report indeed has information that is not correct, you are permitted to dispute this information. The Fair Credit Reporting Act provides you with the advantage of having the information provider confirm or update information that you consider to be incorrect or inaccurate.

When you find inaccurate information on your credit report, the first thing you should do is to immediately contact the credit bureau that you recieved the report from. Send a letter to the bureau outlining the information that you think is not correct. Include copies of any documentation you have to back up your claim and ask that the inaccurate information be removed from the report. It is recommended that you also include a copy of the credit report highlighting the information that is questionable.

WHen they receive your letter, the credit bureau will look into your claim and forward any details you provide about the claim to the institiution or lender who provided the initial information. The creditor then has 30 days to provide proof supporting the information on your credit report. If the lender determines that the information you are disputing is indeed wrong, it is required to make a correction and to update the account with all three credit bureaus.

Once the investigation has been finished, the credit bureau is required to inform you of the results. If there were any changes to your credit report because of the dispute, you must be given a free copy of your updated credit report. You can also request that the credit bureau send a notice of the changes made to any party that has received your credit report in the last six months.

It is good practice to send disputes via certified postal mail so you have proof that the dispute was sent.

Included below are the addresses for each of the credit bureaus:

TransUnion
P.O. Box 1000
Chester, PA 19022
1-800-888-4213

Equifax
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
1-800-997-2493

Experian
P.O. Box 2104
Allen, TX 75013-2104
1-888-397-3742
About the Author
Peter Kenny is a writer for Finance 123. Please visit us at Low APR Credit Cards and Consumer Debt Consolidation
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