Karen Church, your "Go To" gal at RE/MAX Integrity at www.eugenehomesgal.com discusses the question of "Disputing Errors on Your Credit Report?"
If you are in the process of reviewing your credit report, the first thing to do is make sure that the information contained within the report is correct. In June 2004, The U.S. Public Interest Research Group published the results of a survey it conducted involving 200 adults in 30 states to test the validity of credit reporting. Their finds were as follows:
25% of the credit reports contained errors serious enough to result in the denial of credit.
79% of the credit reports contained mistakes of some kind.
54% of the credit reports contained personal demographic information that was misspelled, long outdated, belonged to a stranger, or was otherwise incorrect.
30% of the credit reports contained credit accounts that had been closed by the consumer but incorrectly remained listed as open.(SOURCE: US Public Interest Group Research: One I Four Credit Reports Contains Errors Serious Enough to Wreck Havok For Consumers, US PIRG Press release, 06/17/04 http://uspirg.org/uspirgnewsroom.asp?id22=13650&id3=USPRIGnewsroom)
If you find that you have errors on your credit report, follow this procedure to correct those errors:
- Make a copy of the report and circle the item(s) you are questioning. Keep your original copy for your own records.
- Prepare a letter to the CRA that provided you with the report in question, and request to have the erroneous items(s) removed or corrected. If you have proof of payment for an item in question, include a copy of that documentation.
- Prepare a letter to the creditor reporting the problem, especially if you feel you are a victim of fraud or identity theft. Inform the creditor that you are disputing an error reported to the CRA, state why the claim is inaccurate, and include any relevant documentation to prove your point.
- Send your correspondence via certified mail.
You should receive a response from the CRA within 30-45 days. If the error has been corrected, they will send you a fresh copy of your credit report at no charge to show you that the item has been removed or corrected.
If you cannot have a disputed item removed, you have the right to include your side of the story on the credit report. Your statement should be a concise explanation (100 words or less) as to why you are challenging the item in question. From that point on, this notation will be included in your credit report as long as the item in question remains on your report.
If you need guidance, please feel free to call me. I would be happy to refer you to a lender that can help guide you through this process and even assist you in the "how to's" of raising that credit score. This information is has been obtained through the Real Estate Lending Group.
Stay tuned for Part 7: What if I have No Credit?