Sometimes an individual needs to dispute errors on his/her credit report. This article explains how to submit the report, where and what to mail when disputing a credit report error, and how to write a dispute letter.
What Type of Credit Reporting Errors Can Be Disputed?
There are several types of errors that can be disputed. Examples are:
- When the credit report says money is still owed on an account when the debt was previously discharged in bankruptcy. Please note that the account can still be listed on your credit report for a period of 7 years, but the credit report should indicate that no money is owed on the account and that the account was discharged in bankruptcy. The bankruptcy itself can be listed on your credit report for up to 10 years.
- Zombie debt. A negative credit account entry can only be reported for a period of 7 years after the account became delinquent.
- Payments reported late when the payment was made on time.
- Accounts that are not yours.
- Inaccurate credit limit/loan amount/account balance.
- Inaccurate creditor.
- Inaccurate account status, such as when an account is reported as past due when it is actually current.
What Do I Mail When Disputing My Credit Report?
Equifax and TransUnion provide a credit report dispute form you should use, in addition to your dispute letter, when disputing with their agency.
Send a brief, clear, and to-the-point dispute letter to each of the three credit reporting agencies. If the letter is longer than one page, it is too long. Here is a link to a sample dispute letter prepared by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
You should also send copies of documents supporting your dispute. Make sure you keep a copy of the supporting document for yourself, as you will not receive your evidence back from the credit reporting agency. Evidence you should submit would be, for example, a copy of the inaccurate listing on the credit report that you are disputing (circling the inaccurate item), copies of your bankruptcy discharge, and copies of your proof of payment and credit card statements demonstrating that you made payments on the account in a timely fashion.
Do I Send the Dispute Online, Over the Telephone, or Through the Mail?
While it may be convenient to send a dispute on the Internet or by telephone, for something like this, it's best to do it the old-fashioned way: by certified mail with a return receipt requested. Keep a copy of the dispute letter and supporting documents. You will also have proof that the dispute was delivered to the credit bureau.
Where Do I Send My Dispute by Mail?
According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, here are the addresses to send a dispute:
Equifax Information Services, LLC
P.O. Box 740256
Atlanta, GA 30374
TransUnion Consumer Solutions
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022-2000
P.O. Box 9701
Allen, TX 75013
Make sure you carefully review the credit report. If your credit report provides you with a different address to mail a dispute, use that address.
What Else Should I Do?
Make sure you keep a copy of your entire dispute package, including the dispute form, dispute letter, and supporting documents. We also recommend sending a copy of your dispute to the creditor or collection agency that reported the inaccurate credit report information to the credit reporting agency. Send it to the address listed on the credit report.
As discussed on the FTC website, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau website, the credit reporting agency must investigate your dispute within 30 days and provide you with a result of that investigation in writing.
Finally, you must be persistent with your credit report dispute. The credit report dispute process can be a frustrating one. If your dispute is valid and the credit reporting agency refuses to do anything with it, you could be entitled to monetary damages under the credit reporting laws.
If you have other questions about debt or credit reporting, please contact the Nebraska bankruptcy lawyers at Steffens Law Office. We have over 50 years combined experience in the field of debtor/creditor law and can help you get your life back.