Errors on credit reports are not unusual. Some estimates state that approximately 79% of all credit reports have some kind of an error on them. If an error is serious enough, you may be unable to get a car or student loan, refinance your home, or even get a credit card. Some errors are quite easy to fix through the three credit bureaus, while others can result in several years of letters, phone calls, faxes, and even lawsuits. The best way to avoid errors that hurt your credit rating is to stay on top of your credit and check your credit report often for potentially damaging errors. To fix easy errors, try following these simple steps.
Stay on top of your credit report. Request a copy of your credit report from each of the three credit bureaus (Equifax, TransUnion and Experian) at least once a year.
When you find an error on your credit report, make a notation. You can circle the item, put a star beside it, or anything else that will remind you that this item is a mistake.
Contact the creditor with any mistakes you find on the various credit reports. This should be done in writing so there is some documentation to the disputed material. Any paperwork you have supporting your claim can be sent along with this letter. Make sure you send it by certified mail with a return receipt request.
Contact the reporting agency with any mistakes you find on their report. Again, initial contact should be in writing with documentation. Send by certified mail with a return receipt request.
If the credit bureau(s) will not remove the disputed items, request the name, address and phone number of the creditor who made the report. Start back at the beginning and initiate a second investigation, if necessary.
When an error is acknowledged and corrected, ask that anyone who has requested to see your credit report in the last six months gets a new corrected copy.
When an error is not acknowledged and remains on your report, ask that you be allowed to add a remark on your credit report explaining your side of the dispute.
If an error is serious enough, seek legal council. You may have to file a lawsuit in order to get anything corrected.