Consumers have the right to dispute incorrect information contained in their credit reports, but it is important that consumers follow the right procedures when disputing these errors to achieve satisfactory results. Many common errors that consumers make will hinder their efforts and lead to less than satisfactory resolutions.
1. Engaging Only the Lender
While it is important to directly dispute the error with the reporting creditor, it is equally important to involve the credit bureau. TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian have internal dispute mechanisms in place for consumers to utilize. It’s essential to have dispute records in place should the creditor still refuse to remove the inaccurate information from the report. Only then can the individual file a legal claim against the creditor or the credit bureau.
2. Failing to Read the Fine Print
Few people read all the fine print attached to the credit reports issued by the credit bureaus. As a result, many consumers agree to arbitration clauses and other conditions that strip them of many of their rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Fortunately, consumers can send an opt-out letter to the credit bureau, usually within 30 to 60 days. Doing so preserves the individual’s right to pursue class-action lawsuits and other legal action if it becomes necessary.
3. Failing to Maintain Accurate Records
Accurate records of payment history and communications with the creditor and credit bureau are essential for establishing errors in the record. The more evidence that is saved, the more solid the case becomes.
4. Not Supplying Enough Information
When disputing errors, it is always best to take the “long road” and supply as much information as possible. This means filling out detailed online reports and spending time on hold while waiting to speak to a customer service representative. In terms of successful credit repair, the more information that is provided, the greater the likelihood the consumer will prevail in the dispute. When it comes down to it, the time spent disputing errors is time well spent as a successful dispute can raise a credit score and save the consumer money on interest and other penalties.