How do I dispute incorrect creditor information reported to the credit bureaus?
On-line- You may pull your credit reports on-line. You may obtain one free copy of all three credit reports on-line per year. There are also a host of sites that offer pay services to obtain, monitor, and perform on-line disputes. Some of the websites even offer fraud insurance protection in case of identity theft. I will list a company where you may obtain these services.
You will be asked to create a password for the site similar to e-mail and it will send you through each of the three credit bureaus. This is considered a promotional pull and doesn’t affect your scores. Keep in mind that the site will “offer” additional services for a fee or subscription. I recommend many of these services which may allow you to monitor your three bureaus daily. Many of the subscription services may allow you to have unlimited disputes on-line and streamline the credit dispute process for a fee. These companies allow you to have access to your reports.
I do not believe in paying a “credit repair company” to “fix your credit”. There is no magic fix to a better credit report and scores. Please do not get scammed into paying a company hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars for what you can do in 1/2 hour of your time.
You may print them out an have on-line access to them for 30 days. Generally after 30 days will be outdated and may remain viewable in the system without re-pulling a new report. Keep in mind that reports change daily including your credit scores. Make sure to print them out and review them for accuracy and highlight each of the items you wish to dispute. Keep in mind that the on-line dispute is limited to a few trade lines unless you opt for the additional services. You also may mail in a letter with the supporting documentation for numerous account disputes. The on-line dispute takes about 30 days and could take as long as 60 days to reflect the changes in your reports and scores. The bureaus will mail you an update of their findings.
Disputes included; removing incorrect items, correcting account balances or Paid status, or items that do not belong to you.
Dealing with collection companies-
Make sure to only dispute accounts that you know are incorrect to improve your scores. Otherwise you will re-report the derogatory item and change the reporting date which may negatively affect your scores.
Call any creditors directly to settle any outstanding accounts. I will cover how to negotiate collections in another post. Ask for a settlement letter that the company and you have agreed upon.
Very Important: Do not give the creditor your banking information and do not pay over the phone until you receive the settlement letter in writing VIA mail or fax stating the terms, and date of final payment to satisfy the debt completely. Then remit payment with a written letter stating that you want a written confirmation that the debt has been settled completely in full. This is the letter you will send into the credit bureaus. Keep in mind that these collections company’s buy your debt for $.01-$.99 on the dollar. Collection company’s will tell you what ever you want to hear to get your money. They will do whatever it takes to get your money. Do not send them a dime unless you get it in writing. If a customer service rep doesn’t help you. Call back and ask for a manager. Don’t take no for an answer. Remember get it in writing.
Collections companies can be; Third party companies, Law firms, Original creditors collection departments.
Include your information in your letter. Mail copies to all three Credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, Trans-union) have to verify that you are you. The mailing addresses for dispute are located in your printed reports. So included the following information in your letter:
Your City, State, Zip Code
CompanyAddressCity, State, Zip Code
Dear Sir or Madam:I am writing to dispute the following information in my file. The items I dispute also are encircled on the attached copy of the report I received.
This item (identify item(s) disputed by name of source, such as creditors or tax court, and identify type of item, such as credit account, judgment, etc.) is (inaccurate or incomplete) because (describe what is inaccurate or incomplete and why). I am requesting that the item be deleted (or request another specific change) to correct the information.
Enclosed are copies of (use this sentence if applicable and describe any enclosed documentation, such as payment records, court documents) supporting my position. Please investigate this (these) matter(s) and (delete or correct) the disputed item(s) as soon as possible.
Enclosures: (List what you are enclosing)
Enclose copies of settlement letters and any other supporting documentation that will help your case. The credit bureaus can only correct or remove items with supporting documentation and will verify their validity in order to make the changes. This is why the dispute process takes 30-60 days. The creditors have 30 days to prove it or remove it. Keep accurate records of phone calls, letters, etc…
Lenders may offer a pay service that allows “you” the borrower to fast track a re-score when you are in the process of a loan application. This could be crucial when it comes to a home loan and could make or break your approval. However the lender cannot guarantee that the disputed item will result in a better score or better approval. The lenders do not have control over the third parties or credit reporting bureaus.
Higher scores may be the difference of obtaining a lower rate, reduce costs, documentation type, or a better program on all types of loans. You would submit the satisfaction letters to the lender and they will send in the information with the required fee in order to fast track a re-score. many lender have this service but do not publicize it. Lenders generally don’t want to become credit repair agencies and do not want to push a service they are not making money on since the fees are paid to the bureaus, or credit reporting companies. This re-score fee is generally paid by the borrower.
Lenders may also have a quick additional report added to major bureau’s credit reports called a merge. This is when a third party will call to verify items such as; mortgage payment histories, collection account balance and status, and incorrect items. These are used strictly to underwrite the loan and do affect your actual credit report or credit scores. These reports are generally paid by the lender or may be a small fee to the borrower.
Please call Brian for details on credit reports, and credit bureau disputes. I have personally helped hundreds of people dispute incorrect information. Disputing information inaccuracies may increase borrowers credit scores and clean up their credit histories. If your collections are too large to pay them on your own. You may want to consider a refinance to pay off creditors, and collections. Then dispute them properly through the three credit bureaus in order to update the paid status, or remove them which may increase your credit scores.
Complete the on-line home loan analysis application. There is no obligation, and I will call you by phone, and E-mail you to discuss your financial & credit goals. We can review your credit report together and find ways to improve your situation.