Disputing Bad Credit Entries With the Credit Bureaus
Once you receive your credit reports, be prepared to see errors. It's well-known that credit reports contain errors over 50% of the time. When you dispute a derogatory item, your creditor has 30 days to respond by either providing proof or removing the derogatory status. "PROVE IT OR REMOVE IT!" For instance, your creditors must be able to prove that you had a late payment. Many large companies, like major department stores, actually lose information about late payments. If you call to dispute a late payment, the creditor is required to send a deletion letter to the credit-reporting bureau. If your credit report shows late payments to a company that is no longer in business, dispute them in writing because the information is no longer verifiable or available. If you dispute these items in writing, the credit-reporting agency will automatically remove them. Don't forget to look for any missing entries or information. You may have several "good credit" entries that were NOT reported by one of your creditors or lenders.
SUMMARY:(1) Make a list of any debts you wish to challenge as untrue.
(2) Use the sample letters that can be downloaded here.
(3) Send your letter via Certified Mail.
(4) When the credit bureau receives your dispute letter, they will attempt to contact the bank or credit institution responsible for reporting the negative information to your credit file.
(5) After 30-45 days you will be notified of the result, issuing a decision and an updated credit file.
COMMON RESULTS of DISPUTES:Negative entries are permanently removed from your credit report for the following reasons:
(1) Creditor did not keep proper records to verify their entry on reports.
(2) Creditor did not respond within their time period of 30 days, therefore the negative entry was removed. (This is why it is important to send the dispute form via certified mail. Not only to insure its delivery, but to have documented time of when it was received. Your creditors are usually so overloaded with disputes, they almost never respond within the time frame required by law.)
(3) Debts were not significant enough to waste their time.
Disputing Debts with Creditors and
Taking the Credit Bureaus to Small Claims Court