An error on your credit report can damage your score, which is why it is important to inspect your report thoroughly. If you do find a mistake follow these 4 steps to get the problem resolved.
Step 1 – Analyze The Report
When you receive your credit report look it over carefully to make sure it is accurate. If you find a mistake you may be tempted to file a claim immediately.
Before you start this process, do a little research on your end to make sure it is, in fact, an error. For example, some credit cards may be stated as the parent company instead of the actual card name on your report.
Step 2 – File the Claim
Once you decide to file a claim you have two ways to do this: online or a physical letter.
The credit bureaus prefer the online method, but your options available about the reason for your claim may be limited and not what you are looking for.
The advantage of writing a credit dispute letter is that it gives you the ability to fully state and explain the error. You also can make a copy for your records.
Step 3 – Wait
This step can take a while and try your patience, but because of the Fair Credit Reporting Act you are guaranteed a response within 30 days.
It’s no wonder it takes a while to complete this step, there is lot happening behind the scene. While you are waiting, the credit-reporting agency will review your claim and turn it into a 3- digit code that specifies which category the claim fits in.
Next it is sent to the credit furnisher who will also review your claim and investigate the error. After they make a conclusion about the mistake, the problematic item will either: be changed, removed, or modified.
The updated report is then sent back to the credit agency that will make the necessary changes to your credit report.
Step 4 – Accept or Try Again
Finally, after what seem like forever, you will receive a summary of the investigation and any changes, if any. Hopefully the item has been resolved to your liking, but if not, you can always try to re-dispute the error.
However, you will have better success the second time around if you go directly to the furnishing company instead. Ultimately they are the ones responsible for the decision to change your report and they are also obligated to follow the 30-day rule.