How to Handle Credit Report Errors
The Fair Credit Reporting Act entitles every American to a free copy of each their credit reports from the three major credit reporting agencies once every 12 months. At any time, you may choose to purchase additional copies. Residents of the Fairfax area who exercise their credit reporting rights by regularly reviewing their credit reports are likely to come across errors at some point. These errors are sometimes fixable with a credit report dispute. When an error lingers, it is time to contact a credit lawyer to discuss other options.
File a Credit Report Dispute
After detecting a credit report error, your first step is to file a dispute with the credit reporting agency. Although the credit bureaus try to make it easy for consumers to file disputes online, it is best to send a dispute package through the mail. Type a formal letter that includes your full name and address, a succinct description of each item you are disputing, and a clear explanation of why the information is inaccurate. Close the letter by requesting that the credit bureau delete or correct the erroneous information. Sign your letter, enclose copies of documents that support your argument, and mail the dispute package return receipt requested. Be sure to maintain good records of all of your correspondence.
Contact the Creditor
You may also mail a dispute letter to the creditor associated with the erroneous information. Include a copy of every document you submitted to the credit bureau. Include an additional letter informing the creditor that you are disputing the information with that entity as well. While you may dispute directly with the creditor, you must dispute with the credit reporting agencies in order to trigger many of your credit reporting rights.
Consult a Credit Lawyer
It can take time for a credit bureau to correct its mistakes. However, if you do not hear back from the credit bureau or the creditor in a timely fashion, consider talking to a credit lawyer. Often, credit bureaus drag their heels when it comes to fixing their mistakes. Having a credit lawyer on your side can encourage the credit bureau to correct the error. Depending on your situation, you might also consider filing a lawsuit. A credit lawyer can help you consider the merits of seeking compensatory damages in court.