/* Use this with templates/template-twocol.html */ The Path to Wealth: How to Dispute an Error on Your Credit Report

Friday, October 3, 2008

How to Dispute an Error on Your Credit Report

One of the many problems with our credit system is that it allows for so many errors to show up on our credit reports. With identity theft increasing at an alarming rate, you need to monitor your credit report and remove the errors fraudulent activity. There are two general ways to remove a discrepancy from your report and rebuild your credit. I will show you how.

The Company

I have found the best way to remove any error or problem is through the company that issued it, if I am still a customer. For instance, assume you just had a late fee show up from American Express, and you are a customer of American Express. The most effective way to remove it is to write American Express a letter. If you tell them that you are loyal customer who loves American Express, and you need their help in removing the error. They will cordially oblige, because they want to keep you as a customer—a happy one incidentally.

Most people overlook this and go straight to the bureaus. The problem with this is that the bureaus are designed to be mechanical. They don’t care about your situation. They will process the information they are given. If you send them a letter, they will contact American Express. American Express will respond that it is valid. Now, if American Express does notice their error (not very likely), they will respond that it is erroneous and the bureau will delete it. However, if American Express just responds that it’s valid, you get a letter back saying it has been verified.

For this reason, I want to contact the company first. They have an interest in me as a customer; they want to keep me satisfied. I can add a personal touch with them which will make them want to help me. Here’s the real bonus though. Most of the time, they will delete a late payment for you, even if it’s not an error. Why? Because they are making money off every purchase you make. Why would they want to estrange and upset you? If they don't want to help you, then maybe you ought to look for a new card. Talk to the business first.

Through the Bureaus

If you do need to contact the three monsters: Transunion, Equifax, Experian, you will have to write three letters because they do not corroborate or work together. You will have three battles that are not easily won. The good news is that you have a couple advantages. The bad news is that there are some pitfalls to watch out for.

What’s on Your Side

Time is your first ally. Everyone knows that the FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) requires the bureaus to respond to your letter in 30 days. If they do not, they technically have to delete it. This sounds great; but I will be honest, this does not happen very often.


The other thing that you have going for you is that it is a hassle for the bureaus and the companies with whom they are investigating to verify this information. If the company has lost the information or simply ignores the request for validation long enough, the bureau will delete it because it cannot be verified or it took too long to verify it.

What’s Against You

Be prepared. The credit bureaus have some tricks up their sleeves. Anything they can do to deter you from pursuing your investigation they will try to do. They don’t want to have to spend the man hours investigating your errors. They want you to give up, accept it, and forget about it.

The Blanket Refusal

Invariably, if you send a dispute letter, you will get a blanket refusal to investigate based on several frivolous reasons. Depending on the bureau, they will say that the letter seemed to be a form letter, and they need to verify it was actually you who sent it. They will tell you that you have to prove your identity and place of residence first. The list goes on. These are meant to deter you.

What you can do

The best thing that you can do is put your social security number in your letter and attach a copy of your driver’s license and a proof of residence. This way, they cannot say they did not know it was you disputing it, and they cannot return your letter and say verify your identity.
Here are the addresses to the bureaus:

P. O. Box 9595, Allen, TX 75013-9595 Tel: 888-397-3742

P. O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241 Tel: 800-685-1111

Trans Union
P. O. Box 1000, Chester, PA 19022 Tel: 800-888-4213

Remember, the best way is to start with the company. If that does not work, move on to the bureaus. Success with the bureaus depends upon persistence. Good Luck.

P.S. If you decide that it's too much trouble to do it on your own, I recommend Lexington Law Firm

If you like our articles, subscribe for free to The Path to Wealth.

No comments: