- 1 How to Dispute Your Credit Report
- 2 Providing custom mortgage credit reports, related services & technology solutions for over 75 years.
- 3 5 Ways to Remove Collections from Your Credit Report
- 4 “5” Ways to Remove Debt Collections from Your Credit Report
- 5 How to Successfully Dispute Problems on your Credit Report
How to Dispute Your Credit Report
July 11, 2010 by Sarah, BSN, RN
Dispute Credit Reports–How do you dispute your credit report?
A credit report is a document that reports the payment history of its owner. When you end up with things on your credit report that are inaccurate, you dispute the information so that you can get the removal process started. You may not know how the dispute process works, but you will quickly learn when inaccuracies appear of your credit report. Everyone should know how to dispute information on a credit report in the event inaccuracies occur.
How to Dispute Your Credit Report
- Contact the credit agency in writing. Send the credit agency a certified copy of your dispute letter. Make sure that the letter includes all information regarding the account in question. Make sure your letter provides all of your personal information and the information regarding the disputed information. Include copies of documentation that support your dispute and request that they delete the information.
- Wait 30 days for the agency to investigate the information. By law, the credit reporting agencies have 30 days to investigate your inaccuracies. During this time, they will review your information and report their findings to you in writing. Incorrect information must be removed, and they must report the inaccuracies to the other credit agencies so they can correct their information.
- Request your free credit reports. You have the right to receive a free credit report that reflects the changes to your credit report. In addition to the letter notifying you that they information is removed from your credit report, this is proof of the removal. They can never put the information back on your credit report without information that proves that the information is accurate. Keep these documents for your records.
- Request that the credit agencies send corrected credit reports to lenders who pulled your credit in the past 6 months. These inaccuracies may or may not have prevented you from receiving credit. They are required to send the corrected credit reports to those lenders in which you applied for credit with during the past 6 months. Again, you must request that they provide this service or the corrected information may go unnoticed by potential lenders.
- Place a statement on your credit report if the situation is not resolved. In certain situations, you may not be able to have information removed from your credit report. In this case, you can request that the credit agency place a statement on your credit report that this account was disputed. Future lenders will be able to see this information. You may choose to continue to dispute the inaccuracies, but there is no guarantee that the information will ever be removed from your credit report.
You never know when your annual credit report will contain information that is inaccurate. It is always a good idea to have the knowledge on how to dispute information on your credit report. Make sure that you provide as many details as possible in regards to your inaccuracies. Persist until you get the results that you desire. Also, keep documents of everything related to your dispute.
When underwriting a loan through Fannie Mae, any liability that is "In Dispute" will stop the processing of your loan. Following are the steps that should be taken to remove the dispute comment from the consumer's credit report.
Note: Removing a dispute comment may result in a score change.
If the dispute comment on the liability was placed by the creditor, then only the creditor can remove it. A letter from the creditor on their letterhead stating that the account is no longer in dispute or that the dispute comment has been removed, should be obtained and then submitted through Rapid Update process.
If the consumer placed the dispute comment on the liability, the options for removal are described below for each repository:
- The consumer should contact Equifax directly and advise them that they are no longer disputing the account.
- Telephone Number - 800-203-7843
- Website - www.equifax.com/fcra or www.annualcreditreport.com
- Important Note: If the consumer formally "disputes" the dispute comment, it will automatically result in a reinvestigation by Equifax and could take up to 30 days to clear. While in reinvestigation there is nothing that can be done to remove the dispute comment.
OR the consumer can:
- Submit a letter to Equifax stating that they are no longer disputing the account. This would be accepted documentation for a Rapid Update order. A copy of the letter should also be submitted to the creditor, so that the dispute comment is not put back on the file.
The consumer can EITHER:
- Contact Experian directly and advise them that they are no longer disputing the account.
- Phone - 888-397-3742
OR the consumer can:
- Submit a letter to Experian stating that they are no longer disputing the account. This would be accepted documentation for a Rapid Update order. A copy of the letter should also be submitted to the creditor, so that the dispute comment is not put back on the file.
The consumer can EITHER:
- Contact TransUnion directly and advise them that they are no longer disputing the account.
- Phone - 800-685-1111
OR the consumer can:
- Submit a letter to TransUnion stating that they are no longer disputing the account. This would be accepted documentation for a Rapid Update order. A copy of the letter should also be submitted to the creditor, so that the dispute comment is not put back on the file.
5 Ways to Remove Collections from Your Credit Report
Having a collections record on your credit file can negatively impact your credit score. While collection accounts do less damage the older they get, they will still remain on your report for 7 years.
Despite this, there are techniques you can try to remove collections accounts from your credit report. In many ways, these are the easiest accounts to get off your credit report, but there are no guarantees. In general, collection companies tend to have poor documentation and many are not even licensed or authorized to collect on the debt. With this shaky status, and some negotiation, you may be able to get the collection account permanently removed from your credit report.
Paying for deletion tends to be most successful for small collection accounts of $500 or less. Using this strategy, you enter into an agreement with the collection agency to remove the listing from your report if you pay the debt in full. Make sure you get the agreement in writing, however, to make sure the debt collection company holds up its end.
Another technique that may work for amounts over $1,000 is negotiating with the agency to reduce the amount of the debt to something you can pay in one lump payment in exchange for removing the listing from your credit report.
This tactic involves leveraging your consumer protection under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to force the company to provide documentation to prove the debt is actually valid. This is a somewhat aggressive tactic, and you’ll need to write a letter to the agency. If they do not respond, you may need to threaten a lawsuit.
4. 623 Dispute with Your Original Creditor
With this strategy, you leverage protection under section 623 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), which allows you to dispute negative information directly with the company that reports it to your credit file. You start by requesting an investigation, and the company has to respond within 30 days by law. To use this strategy, you will need to dispute the negative accounts on your credit file with the appropriate credit bureaus. Surprisingly, this technique can be very effective as many collection agencies simply don’t maintain any documentation to back up their reporting and collection attempts.
Finally, this is the most basic way to remove collection accounts from your credit, and it has the lowest chance of success if the company maintains any information on your account and confirms it with the bureau. It involves writing a letter to the credit bureaus to request an investigation of the collection account, although you can also make this request online through all three of the bureaus: TransUnion, Experian and Equifax.
“5” Ways to Remove Debt Collections from Your Credit Report
Debt Collection Overview:
Collections are very damaging to your credit score and although collections will remain on your credit report for seven years, the older the collection, the less impact on your credit score.
It is not as difficult as you might think to get a collection removed from your credit report because collection agencies generally have poor documentation and they are not actually authorized or licensed to collect on the debt. There are several options available in the removal of a collection debt as listed below:
Pay the Debt in Exchange for Deletion
This option works best with a collection debt of $500 or less for utility, cell phone or medical bills. You negotiate with the collection agency to remove the collection from your credit report in exchange for paying off the collection amount.
Settle – Negotiate the Debt
This strategy is similar to option 1 above and works well with collection amounts exceeding $1,000. With this method more negotiation is required in order to get the debt reduced to an amount you can payoff in one lump sum. As with option 1 do not payoff the debt until you have a written settlement agreement signed by the creditor and you.
Under the protections of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and with this strategy, the collection agency must provide documentation to prove the debt is valid. A letter is sent to the collection agency requesting validation. If no response the next step is the threat of filing a lawsuit.
Dispute Debt With the Credit Bureaus
With this method, the consumer contacts the “3” bureaus to request an investigation of the negative item on the credit report. The dispute maybe filed by phone, online or certified mail. If this method is unsuccessful go to option 5 below.
Dispute Debt with the Original Creditor under FCRA – Section 623
Under the protections of the Fair Credit Reporting Act – Section 623 and with this very effective strategy, consumers may dispute a negative item with the original creditor reporting the item on your credit report. You will request an investigation of the negative item on your account by disputing the item directly with the original creditor. By law, the creditor is required to respond within 30 days. If the creditor does not have documentation to support the negative reporting, the item must be removed.
We hope this post “5 Ways to Remove Debt Collections from Your Credit Report” has been helpful.
How to Successfully Dispute Problems on your Credit Report
C redit card companies and credit reporting agencies sometimes make mistakes. Those mistakes can result in costly errors on your credit report, unfairly lowering your credit score and making it difficult for you to get the best loan terms. That’s why it is important to monitor your credit reports. When something on them is wrong, you need to file a dispute.
Reasons to Dispute a Credit Report
It is a credit card myth that you can just dispute problems on the report because you don’t like that they’re there. You have to have a valid reason to file a dispute. Valid reasons include:
- The information on the report is incorrect. For example, it may say that you owe an outstanding amount or have a series of late fees and this simply isn’t true. This is the most common example of why would you file a dispute. You want the information on your report to be accurate.
- You are having a problem with identity theft. If you see a credit card on your report that doesn’t actually belong to you then you need to report fraud charges. At the same time you should file a credit report dispute to start the process of clearing up your report.
- You need to let the credit bureaus know about a problem with a credit card company. For example, I recently had an issue with one credit card resulting from identity theft and it took over four months for the credit card company to solve the problem. During that time they mistakenly reported me as the problem to the credit bureaus. Although the credit card company eventually resolved the problem, I filed disputes with the credit reporting bureaus as well to make sure that the problem was completely resolved.
Note that it can take as long as 90 days for your dispute to be properly handled so it’s best to take this action as soon as you realize that a dispute may need to be filed.
How to File a Dispute with the Credit Reporting Bureaus
Typically when you file a dispute you will do so with one or more of the three major credit reporting bureaus (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion). In many cases it makes sense to file the report with all three reporting bureaus because they may all have the same mistaken information. However, in less common instances the problem is only with one bureau and there is no need to contact the others. Continue to monitor the others closely in the months following, though, to make sure that the problem doesn’t crop up with them as well.
If you’re ready to file a dispute with a credit reporting bureau then you need to do the following:
- Order an updated version of your credit report. You are allowed to get one free copy each year from each of the three reporting bureaus but it’s worth it to pay the small fee to get another one if need be for dispute purposes.
- Review your report section by section and identify all of the problems with the report. You don’t want to miss anything.
- Gather any proof that you have that the report is incorrect. For example, you may have recent bill statements from your credit card company that show that your account is in good standing even though the report says it’s not.
- Access the dispute form. Go online to the website for the credit bureau that you want to file a report for. Access their formal dispute form. Print it out and fill out the details.
- Write a statement explaining that you want to file a dispute. Explain clearly and concisely what is wrong with the report and what you want to see changed. Include important identifying information such as your social security number or credit report account number.
- Mail the statement, the dispute form and copies of your “proof” to the dispute address shown on the website for the credit bureau. Note that it is now possible to file an online dispute with the credit bureaus. Many people do choose this option but others still find it preferable to mail a hard copy via registered mail so they have more proof of the process if the dispute isn’t handled in a timely manner. In either case, maintain copies of the dispute for your records.
- The credit reporting bureau should update you within ninety days as to the status of your dispute. If you haven’t heard from them in that amount of time then check your credit report again and contact them as needed.
Filing a Dispute with the Credit Card Company
Note that you may want to file a dispute with your credit card company in addition to filing a report with the credit bureau. If your credit card company has reported a problem to the bureaus that is incorrect then it’s worth it to do this. Sometimes the company will repair the problem with the credit bureaus before your personal dispute goes through, remedying the credit report more quickly for you. To file a dispute with the credit card company, simply contact them and ask for the fax number or mailing address to file disputes. Write out your dispute and provide any supporting documents to prove your claim. Include relevant information such as your account number. Request in writing that the company contact the credit bureau to repair the problem.
Have you ever had to file a credit report dispute? How did the process go for you? What tips do you have for others? Share your experience in the comments.