Because a credit reporting error could affect your credit score and how much you pay for credit when you apply for a loan or a credit card, it’s important to monitor and maintain an error-free credit report. Depending on the nature of the errors, your credit scores could take a significant hit if they aren’t corrected. (You can see how credit report errors affect your credit by using Credit.com’s Free Credit Report Summary.)
According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, both the credit reporting agency and the lender providing the inaccurate information are responsible for correcting the error.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act lays out the steps you need to take to prompt a credit reporting agency and the company providing the disputed information about you to investigate the error.
Starting an Investigation
Put your dispute in writing. In your dispute letter to a credit reporting agency, clearly explain why the item on your credit report is not accurate and request that the item be removed from your credit report. Include copies of any supporting documents.
Send the letter by certified mail with a return receipt requested so you will know when a credit reporting agency has received a dispute letter. In most cases, a credit reporting agency will investigate your complaint within 30 days.
Send a similar dispute letter to the creditor that is supplying inaccurate information about you to the credit reporting agency.
How an Investigation Works
A credit reporting agency will forward information about your complaint to the company providing the disputed information. And once the company receives a dispute notice from the credit reporting agency it must investigate and report back to the credit reporting agency. Much of this interaction between a credit reporting agency and a furnishing company is automated.
After an investigation is complete, a credit reporting agency must send you the results in writing and supply a free copy of your credit report if a change has been made and a disputed item has been corrected.
If You Are Not Satisfied With an Investigation
If the error is not corrected, you can request a statement of dispute to be included in your credit file.
You can also file complaints with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Better Business Bureau and the office of the attorney general in your state about the credit reporting agency and the company furnishing inaccurate information about you.