A credit report is vital because it features key information that is helpful in credit-based decision-making. Due to the fact that the information in a credit report is so important, it is crucial that the report is completely correct. When this is not the case, disputing an inaccurate credit report can be complicated.
The Dispute Process
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a federal law that covers how consumer credit report information is utilized. The law grants consumers the right to access their credit report information and dispute inaccuracies.
Consumers have the right to one free credit report from each credit bureau per year. After obtaining the report, consumers are encouraged to review it completely. If an error is discovered, the FCRA supports the dispute procedure by providing the suitable legal avenue.
The first act in disputing an inaccurate credit report is to contact the credit bureau responsible for issuing the report. This should be done in writing. The information provider of the credit report should also be contacted.
Evidence to support the claim of inaccuracy, such as bank statements or cancelled cheques, should also be included with the written dispute. A copy of the inaccurate credit report should be included, with the erroneous information highlighted.
The credit bureau has approximately 30 days to respond to the dispute.
Associated Issues in the Dispute Process
There is some potential for difficulty in the dispute process.
The information chain represents one problem area, as the credit bureau and the information provider rely on precise, succinct communication in order to process the consumer’s credit report accurately. If there is a communication breakdown or other related difficulty, the consistency of the credit report could suffer.
Incomplete information from the consumer can inhibit the dispute process, so it is important to include as much relevant information as possible. The credit bureau passes all information along to the furnisher of the credit report, making the need for inclusive and precise dispute information essential.
Another associated problem is a lack of supportive evidence. Some dispute reports do not include enough relevant information, such as statements of support from creditors or tax court verdicts, and tend to be effortlessly discarded by credit bureaus and credit report furnishers.
Always double-and-triple check credit reports for explicit errors, as some credit reports may include more than one mistake.
Some other errors associated with credit report disputes include expired records, fraudulent accounts, data errors, and crossed records. Always double-and-triple check credit reports for explicit errors, as some credit reports may include more than one mistake.
Improving the Process
Some credit report disputes are assisted by accountants or lawyers with knowledge of the relevant subjects. The process can be improved significantly through the use of an expert, especially when determining the correct reason for the error is intricate. Accountants or lawyers can also be helpful in defining key terms or issues.
The best way to improve the efficiency of the credit report dispute process is to ensure that all pertinent documents are always included. The consumer can never include “too much information,” so be sure to sort through receipts, notifications, and other applicable documents in preparation for filing the dispute.
Another way to improve the process is simply through the attitude in which the dispute is filed. A politely-worded letter to the credit report company and information provider will be greeted with far more efficiency and reverence than documents worded with contempt. Maintain civility and watch the process work itself out swiftly and successfully.
The difficulties that arise in disputing a credit report can seem overwhelming, but a little homework and organization can go a long way. Always be prepared, scrupulous, and well-mannered when filing credit report disputes, as the right approach can make all the difference in the world.