Below is a very helpful article written by Jay Fleischman and posted on the Consumer Ledger website:
The woman sat in front of me, ears streaming down her face as she angrily proclaimed a desire to sue the credit card company for everything from mental anguish to fraud. She talked about throwing the CEO in jail for what he’d done to her, and railed against the unfairness of the system in general.
She’d been trying to get a car loan for the past year, driving around a clunker until she could get financing sorted out on something more reliable. But the fact that one of her credit cards was showing up as being past due was holding her back.
She’d never been late on the card. In fact, the account had been closed years ago with a zero balance due.
When she first found out about the problem, she called the credit card company and told the customer service representative to correct the error.
That didn’t work, so she wrote a letter to the correspondence address.
Then she sent a letter to the CEO.
Then to the Better Business Bureau.
All the while, nothing happened. So she called me so that I could sue the pants off someone – anyone – who could make the problem go away.
No need, I said.
How To Dispute An Error On Your Credit Report
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, all errors on your credit report are subject to a dispute resolution process.
- Request a copy of your credit report. You have the right to a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies once per year, so no need to pay for it.
- Review the reports carefully. Go through each line of the report to make sure you understand what it all means. If there’s an error, don’t panic – just move onto the next step.
- Send a letter to the credit reporting agency. That letter should include your name, address, date of birth, Social Security number, and a detailed description of the error on your credit report and the reason the information is incorrect. Include a copy of your driver license. Include copies (NOT originals) of documents that support your position.Send your letter by certified mail, “return receipt requested,” so you can document what the credit reporting company received.Keep a copy of the letter, any enclosures, and the green certified mail receipt when it comes back from the credit reporting agency.
- Review the responses. The credit reporting agency must investigate the disputed items and forward the inaccuracy to the company that provided the information. That company must investigate, review the relevant information, and report the results back to the credit reporting company.If the information provider finds the disputed information is inaccurate, it must notify all three nationwide credit reporting companies so they can correct the information in your file.
If the information provider does not respond to the credit report agency within a certain time, the agency will remove the item entirely.
If The Errors Persist
You’ve got the right to sue the credit reporting agency as well as the provider of information if they continue to report inaccuracies once you’ve gone through the dispute process.
If you sue and win, the other side may be forced to pay you damages as well as your legal fees and costs.
That’s good news for you, but you’re likely far more interested in getting the errors corrected.
Follow the steps outlined in this article to maximize your chances of getting it done properly.