Credit Repair Program -- Step 3.
Step 3: Dispute Incorrect Information on Your Credit Report
Now that you evaluated your credit report and marked all the information that is incorrect, false, obsolete or incomplete, it is time to contact the credit bureau(s) and notify each of them that you want your credit report corrected.
The easiest way to dispute the accuracy of your credit report is to do it online using the instructions given to you when you obtained copies of your credit reports. If you ordered your credit reports by mail or telephone, use the form that the credit bureau should have sent along with your credit report entitled, "Re-verification Form" or "Dispute Form" or something similar in name. If you didn't receive such a form, you can call each credit bureau and request one, you can visit their websites where you should be able to file a dispute online, or you can send a dispute letter (links to relevant letters below).
How to File a Proper Dispute: If you dispute information on your credit report online, they will ask you to complete a form where you must state a general reason why you are disputing information. When you dispute the accuracy of your credit report by mail, you can be more specific as to why you are disputing certain information, and you need to include certain information every item you dispute information on your credit report:
1. State the reason it should be updated (e.g., it is incomplete, incorrect, obsolete or false);
2. Offer any proof you have as to why it is incorrect (e.g., correspondence, cancelled checks, contracts, bills, etc.).
- "This account was paid in full on 00/00/00. I have enclosed a copy of the check. I am requesting a notation be added that indicates this account has been paid in full."
- "My current address is 1234 Main Street, Anytown, NY. I have enclosed a copy of my driver's license as proof. Please update this information in my credit report."
- "The Acme Credit account was charged-off in 1994 and not 1997 as is stated on my credit report. Please delete this charge-off from my file as soon as possible since it is more than seven years old and is obsolete."
3. State what action you want to occur: "I want it updated"; "I want it deleted from my credit report"; "I want it changed to . . .".
4. Mail or attach a copy of the relevant page of your credit report with the item in question circled in red if you're disputing by mail in order to expedite the process.
Under federal law, a credit bureau is given between 30 and 45 days to complete an investigation and respond to your dispute. Mark the deadline on your calendar. If the credit bureau has not responded within 45 days from the day you submit your dispute, they are in violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act and you will need to send a nasty letter demanding compliance.
When the reinvestigation is complete (in about 30 to 45 days), the credit bureau must give you the written results and a free copy of your report. If an item is changed or removed, the credit bureau cannot put the disputed information back in your credit report unless the information provider verifies its accuracy and completeness, and the credit bureau gives you a written notice that includes the name, address, and phone number of the provider.
If the reinvestigation does not resolve your dispute, see Step 12, which is a follow-up to Step 3.
While you are waiting for the credit bureaus to respond to your disputes, you can continue trying to improve your credit score by completing other steps.