Fixing Your Credit Report
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a federal law that regulates everything as it pertains to credit reports and credit reporting. The dispute process within the FCRA must be precisely followed to correct your credit report. Having incorrect information on your credit report can impact obtaining credit and employment.
There are several steps to take to correct the information on your credit reports.
First, get your credit reports in writing from annualcreditreport.com. Use the mail in form on the site to get your credit reports from the three credit reporting agencies: Trans Union, Equifax, and Experian. Include a copy of your driver's license and a utility bill for identification purposes and to tie you to the mailing address you are providing.
It is very important not to get the reports directly from the credit reporting agencies so as to not lose rights due to binding arbitration.
Review your credit reports thoroughly upon receipt. If you find any incorrect information on the reports, you will need to write a dispute letter to the credit reporting agency with the wrong information and mail it in. The dispute must be made with the credit reporting agency and not with the credit furnisher, otherwise the errors may remain on your report.
Mail your dispute letter by certified mail with return receipt requested. Save a copy of the dated and signed letter along with proof that the agency received your letter and all documentation that you've included. With your letter include a copy of the report with the erroneous items highlighted. List same items in your letter and explain the inaccuracy. Include supporting documentation. Request that documentation be forwarded to the credit furnishers. If the documentation is not going to be forwarded to the credit furnishers you should do so yourself. Mail your letter to the physical addresses of the credit agencies, not PO Boxes.
After you have mailed your dispute letter, wait 45 days for a response. If your credit report has been fixed, you are all set and don't need to do anything further.
If your credit report isn't corrected after your first dispute and you subsequently have applied for credit and have had adverse consequences such as credit denial or higher rates because of the incorrect report, keep proof of all problems with getting credit. The first dispute triggers liability on the part of the credit reporting agency.
If your credit report isn't corrected as you think it should be after 45 days, it's time for a second round of disputes. Your second letter should essentially be the same as your first. Clearly indicate that it is your 2nd Request and that it is urgent. Include the new date and again explain your dispute and this is the second time you're disputing the erroneous information. Further state that you need it corrected as it is damaging to you.
After your second dispute, if the reports are still incorrect, again keep proof of any credit that has been denied or any associated problems. You may have to dispute the reports a couple more times if they are still not fixed.
Keep your communications with the reporting agencies very simple and basic with a lot of detail and supporting documentation.
After disputing your erroneous credit reports and waiting the requisite amount of time if your reports still aren't corrected and you are suffering damages you have the right to file a lawsuit against the credit reporting agencies and the credit furnisher. The Fair Credit Reporting Act can be confusing. If you want help correcting your credit reports, contact Shoffner & Associates. Benefit from their extensive experience and expertise.
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