If a creditor sends incorrect information to the credit reporting agencies, you must deal with it immediately.False reports that you missed a payment, exceeded your credit limit, or had a credit card closed can affect your score.The first thing you should do is pull a free credit report and draft a letter for the creditor.
Step 1: Get a credit report.
You can get a free credit report every year.You don't need to contact each agency separately to get the report.You can request the free annual report by using one of the following methods.Your credit report will be delivered in the U.S.You can request a report at annualcreditreport.com.Send a written request for a copy of your report to the Annual Credit Report Request Service.Box 105281 is located in Atlanta, GA.The Federal Trade Commission has a form you can fill out and mail.
Step 2: Don't highlight mistaken information.
You should review your report after you receive it.There are a number of common errors that can negatively impact your credit score.
Step 3: You can find the address of the creditor.
The address of each creditor should be listed on the credit report.If one is not listed, you should contact the credit reporting agency and ask for the address.
Step 4: Supporting documentation should be gathered by you.
Try to find documents that support your position that the item is incorrect.If the creditor claims that you missed a payment, then look for canceled checks or statements that show payment.If you requested that a credit card be closed, look for any letters from the company.You may have loan modification documents that show that you weren't foreclosed on.
Step 5: Your address and date should be inserted.
To begin your letter, open a blank word processing document.Aligning your address on the left-hand margin is what you should do first.Move down two lines to enter the date after typing the address.You should enter the address of the creditor.
Step 6: You should include a salutation.
You can use the contact person's name if you know their name.You should add a colon after you type "Dear Sir or Madam".
Step 7: Please state why you are writing.
Make sure to state why you are writing in the first paragraph.You can type "I am writing to dispute the following information in my file."The items I want to dispute are highlighted in the attached copy of my credit report.
Step 8: Make a list of the items you dispute.
You can identify what items the creditor should look into in the second paragraph.Please request that the item be removed from the report.The item listing 60 days past due is incorrect because I paid my account within 30 days.I want you to remove the item to correct the information.
Step 9: Any documentation that you want to specify.
Tell the creditor what documents you enclosed that support your position in the third paragraph.The creditor probably won't return originals, so be sure to send photocopies.You can skip this step if you don't have any supporting documentation.There are copies of three canceled checks that cover the period in question.Remove the disputed item as soon as possible.
Step 10: There should be a closing.
Before typing your name, space down three lines and end the letter with "sincerely."The letter can be signed with either blue or black ink.You can list any enclosures at the bottom of the page.
Step 11: Keep your copies.
You should keep copies of communications with the creditor.It is better to dispute with a letter over the phone or online.When a creditor insists that you use an online reporting system, you should still follow up with a letter.
Step 12: The first class mail is the best way to deliver the letter.
The letter should be sent first class.The receipt will show that the creditor received the letter.Attach a copy of your credit report.
Step 13: The letter should be forwarded to the credit reporting agencies.
Sending a dispute letter only to the creditor is not enough.The letter should be sent to the credit reporting agencies.If the credit reporting agency does not properly investigate and get back to you, you could be liable for the creditor.You can find instructions on how to contact the CRAs in the Dispute Credit Report Errors section.
Step 14: Wait until you hear back.
Between 30 and 45 days, the credit reporting agencies can investigate and report back to you.The dispute will be forwarded to the creditor by the CRA even though you sent a letter.The disputed item will be removed from your credit report if the creditor can't verify the information.You should send a follow up letter if you don't hear back within 45 days.You should send a copy of the original letter as well.In the follow-up letter, ask for an update on the investigation.Return receipt requested, keep copies of your communications and mail all letters first class.