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How to Correct Credit Reporting Errors on Your Credit Report

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How to Correct Credit Reporting Errors on Your Credit Report

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’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.

You also may wish to consult a consumer attorney about your legal rights.

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  • Gerri Detweiler

    Unfortunately the major credit reporting agencies would consider this “self-reported” data which they don’t accept. But you can try a service like which verifies this kind of information. They work with a mortgage company that may be able to help you qualify for a loan.

  • Liz

    I’ve run my reports recently and I’ve noticed that 2 accounts that I had with a credit card company on longer listing and it appears the third party debt company that bought my account is now listing these accounts as new debt when it’s not. So not only do I lose a long standing account as part of my history; I am getting dinged for “new” debt when that’s not the case. Whom should I contact for the history since I’m certain the statute of limitations plays a factor, 6 years that they could collect on this debt. This outside collection agency is now trying to have my wages garnished after getting a judgment against me, which I also notice is not showing on history of 3 credit reports that I’ve run recently.
    Also I settled a debt with a different third party/debt buyer and noticed they didn’t show balance as being paid and BBB can’t get a response from them either.

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Liz – I am not sure what you mean by listing it as a new account. If it is placed for collection it will appear as a more recent account and to my knowledge that is not against the law. (I am saying that generally, without knowing the specifics of your situation.)

      The statute of limitations is different than the time period it can be reported: Does Your Old Debt Have an Expiration Date?

      As for the wage garnishment I am not sure how to respond. It’s unusual for a judgment not to appear on your credit reports.

      As for the incorrect balance, if you have disputed it with the credit reporting agencies directly and it was confirmed as correct you’ll have to move on to steps 5 & 6 in this article:
      A Step-By-Step Guide to Disputing Credit Report Mistakes.

      I am not saying that the collection agencies are correct, either in their attempts to collect or in the ways they are reporting. As the recent consent order by the CFPB demonstrates, there are definitely issues, even with large collection agencies. It’s just hard to advise without knowing all the facts. It might be time to talk with a consumer law attorney with experience in credit matters.

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