Building Healthy Credit - Day 2

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The Lowdown on building healthy credit....

Building Healthy Credit – Day 4

We hope you’re doing well! We wanted to send you some information about how to dispute errors on your credit reports. Errors can cause severe damage to your credit scores, so before you make a major purchase that requires a loan, it’s important to try to have any negative marks removed.

By Federal law, both the Credit Reporting Company (CRC) and the information provider (your creditor who is reporting data to the CRC about you) are responsible for correcting any inaccurate or incomplete information that you find in your credit reports. But, you’re the one who has to take action. I have included some contact information and resources at the end of this email for your convenience.

Getting Started
I trust you’ve already done this: Request copies of your credit reports through This web site is operated by Experian, Equifax and TransUnion in compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and it is endorsed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Make sure you request reports from all three agencies at the same time.

Once you have those in your hand, make copies of all three credit reports. Put your original copies in a safe place where you can find them again later. (If you have items to dispute, you will need more copies to send out with your dispute letters, if you chose to do this by mail. Keep your original copies intact.)

Go through your “working” copies from each credit bureau line by line. Highlight the things that you feel are questionable and take notes. You may find one agency has errors that the other two don’t. So, you have to look at all three reports very carefully.

If you find charge accounts that are absolutely not yours, you may be a victim of identity theft or information is being reported to your name that doesn’t belong there. If that is the case, you can place a “fraud alert” on your file with each CRC. Do it immediately.

Make a decision as to what items need to be addressed. Then, you want to create a paper trail to resolve each issue individually.

What Next?
The most common way to dispute errors is dealing directly with the CRCs. You can do this online, via US Mail, or by phone. To do this by mail, make copies of your original credit reports from each CRC. On each report, clearly circle the items you are disputing. Then, you’ll write a cover letter to each CRC with a detailed explanation of each  disputed item. (Or, use the CRC’s dispute form if applicable. See Additional Information & Resources below.)

Send the letter with a copy of that respective company’s credit report attached via certified mail. For example, your letter to TransUnion will include your credit report from TransUnion, and so on. Your certified mail receipt provides you with verification of the date you sent the letter out and proof of delivery.

Each CRC is required to follow up with the creditor that provided the information in question within 45 days. The CRC is also required to put a notation in your credit report marking it “in dispute”. Even if the same error is on all three reports, you still need to file the dispute with each individual agency, because they don’t communicate with each other. If you see an error that only shows up on your report from Equifax, then obviously, you only have to talk about that problem with Equifax.

The company that reported the information about you is then required to research the problem and report their findings back to the CRC. If they find the disputed information is inaccurate, they have to report their error to all three CRCs to confirm that it must be removed from your credit reports.

Other Options
The second way to dispute an error is to write a letter directly to the company that provided inaccurate information to the CRC. This is called a “Direct to Furnisher” dispute.

Send a letter of dispute via certified mail to track the date of your correspondence, including:
•    Your name, address and account number to identify you;
•    The name of the CRC the information was reported to, along with the portion of your credit report that is in question;
•    Any supporting documentation (copies of receipts, etc.) to support your claim.

Since there is sensitive information in your letter, make sure you have the correct mailing address. The company may have a specific address that handles only disputes, or you can use the mailing address listed on your credit report.

The information provider has to investigate the issue in a timely manner and notify the CRCs to mark that item “in dispute” within your file. This may help to fast track the process of having errors corrected quickly.

The third course of action is to file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). This relatively new agency is the watchdog to enforce Federal consumer protection laws.

Additional Information & Resources

Cleaning up errors on your credit report can be a frustrating experience. Don’t let it get you down! Here are some reliable resources to help you.

•    Federal Trade Commission
Disputing Errors on Credit Reports:

Fixing Credit Report Errors – What to Do:

This website includes an extensive FAQ section, and you can get free copies of your credit reports here.

•    Placing Fraud Alerts:
If you feel you may be a victim of identity theft, here is the direct contact information you need for each CRC:
Equifax: (877) 576-5734;
Experian: (888) 397-3742;
TransUnion: (800) 680-7289;

•    Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
File a Credit Reporting Complaint: This government resource lets you report incorrect information on your credit reports or comment on other issues, such as how the CRC handled the investigation, improper use of credit reports, and more.

•    Experian
File a dispute online:
By mail: Use the address provided on your credit report or mail your letter to: Experian, P.O. Box 4000, Allen, TX 75013
By phone: Phone number provided on credit report or (888) 397-3742

•    Equifax
File a dispute online:
By mail: Click here to download the dispute form
Mail the dispute form with your letter to:
Equifax Information Services LLC, P.O. Box 740256, Atlanta, GA 30374
By phone: Phone number provided on credit report or (800) 864-2978

•    TransUnion
File a dispute online:
By mail: Click here to download the dispute form
Mail the dispute form with your letter to:
TransUnion Consumer Solutions, P.O. Box 2000, Chester, PA 19022-2000
By phone: (800) 916-8800

We know this is a lot to take in. Please give us a call if there’s anything I can do to help. Our goal is to help you make your dream of home ownership become a reality.

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