Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era
Tips on disputing errors on your credit report
Here are some tips on how to dispute credit report mistakes and lessen the chance of unwarranted blemishes that stain your credit profile:
GET YOUR REPORTS
The first step is to get a copy of your credit report from each of the major credit reporting firms -- Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. Consumers are entitled to a free report every 12 months from each of the credit bureaus. You can get copies at www.annual creditreport.com.
It's important to review your credit history periodically. For one thing, lenders can make errors when they report client accounts to credit bureaus. And if an identity thief opens an account in your name without your knowledge, that can hurt your credit until you discover what's happened.
FILE A DISPUTE
If you believe there's an error in a report, you can submit disputes online at www.equifax.com, www.experian.com, www.trans union.com. You can also submit the dispute by mail or phone, the address or number should be on your credit report.
Once a dispute is received, credit bureaus are required to respond within 30 days. The credit bureau will contact the lender that provided the information that is under dispute. At that point, the lender looks into the matter. If a fix is made, the lender must alert all three credit bureaus of the error.
Another option: Reach out to the lender on the account where the error showed up and ask that they update the credit bureaus with correct information.
CONTACT THE CFPB
Not getting anywhere with the credit bureaus? Try the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a federal agency with the authority to write and enforce rules for the credit reporting industry and to monitor the compliance of the three agencies.
The Federal Trade Commission has warned consumers against firms that offer services claiming to improve a person's credit report for a fee.
Such firms can't do anything that you couldn't do yourself.