Credit bureau errors can do serious damage to your credit score, making it more difficult when qualifying for a mortgage, car or personal loan.
Some common credit reporting errors include:
- Errors in personal information
- Incorrect account status
- Accidentally listing accounts that do not belong to you
- Expired debt
- Reinsertion of incorrect information
- Incorrect or false reporting of late pays, charge-offs or defaults
Sometimes, the error is on the part of your creditor or debt collector; you’ll need to dispute the information with your creditor or debt collector. If the error is confirmed, they’re required to update the credit bureaus with the corrected information
If you find an error on your credit reports, the Fair Credit Reporting Act gives you the right to rectify the mistake by disputing it with the bureau providing the report. You can dispute a credit report by phone, online, or by mail, asking that the error be removed. My law office always recommends disputing by letter, via certified mail. This provides the consumer with the necessary paper trail if the matter does become a lawsuit.
After receiving your dispute, the bureau in question is required to investigate and remove the error from your credit report if they determine that the disputed information is inaccurate. Unfortunately, in the case of some disputes, the credit bureaus end up claiming that the information on your report is correct and decline to remove the error.
However, filing a dispute does not have to be your only course of action if the credit bureaus won’t fix errors on your report.
What to do
If a credit bureau won’t fix an error on your report, there are further steps that you can take to resolve these types of disputes. You can continue disputing the error, but you need to provide new information.
If you continue to dispute the same error without providing new information, the credit bureaus may determine that it’s frivolous and refuse to investigate. The bureaus have to notify you of this in writing within five business days; the notification should include the reasoning behind their decision and what information you need to provide in order to restart an investigation.
If the credit bureau won’t remove the error, you have several options should you decide to register a complaint about your unresolved dispute:
- The attorney general of the state in which you reside
- The Federal Trade Commission
- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
You also have the right to sue a credit bureau that has violated any of your rights under the FCRA, including cases in which a credit bureau continues to report inaccurate information. Hiring a credit dispute attorney is often the best option to get errors off your credit record so that they no longer have a negative effect on your credit score.
Who to call next?
If you have errors on your credit report that you have not been able to resolve, The Law Offices of Robert F. Brennan, APC, FCRA attorney in Los Angeles, provides legal representation in credit reporting cases. We offer free consultations for consumers facing credit reporting issues.