FACT: Credit reporting is a voluntary and for-profit enterprise.
FACT: The US government does not endorse, or promote the credit reporting industry.
FACT: Credit reporting companies (also known as credit bureaus) are not part of the federal government.
If the credit reporting agencies, (most notably Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) are no more part of the federal government than say FedEx or Wal-Mart; why are we so intimidated by them? The main reason is because they wield so much power and control over our financial futures and survival.
How to Obtain Your Credit Report
You are allowed, by law, to obtain for free one copy of each of your three credit reports every 12 months from www.annualcreditreport.com. If you would like to see your credit report on a regular basis, a very inexpensive and easy to use site is www.truecredit.com.
When Would You Want to Dispute Items on Your Credit Reports?
You are allowed to dispute any misleading, inaccurate or unverifiable information on your credit report anytime you want. The federal government does stipulate per the Fair Credit Reporting Act that all information on your credit report must be accurate and verifiable. In today’s world where identity theft is now one of the top crimes committed, it is vital that you monitor your credit report on a regular basis to ensure you recognize all of the information listed as well as to catch errors or potential fraud.
How Do I Dispute Information On My Credit Reports?
It is possible to access credit information as well as to dispute information online from the credit bureaus own websites:
You may also dispute your derogatory information in writing (I have found this method the most effective). The following is a sample dispute letter you might send to each of the credit bureaus:
Re: Disputing Inaccuracies on My Credit Report
P.O. Box 9701
Allen, TX 75013-9701
Dear Sir or Madam:
I am writing for two (2) reasons:
1. To dispute certain information in my credit file; and
2. To have you investigate and remove inaccurate information from my credit report and prevent its re-insertion.
The items I dispute are identified by creditor name and account number as they were displayed on my credit report.
GMAC MTG 743930****
HEALTHCARE FUNDING 12000121****
MEDICAL DATA SYSTEMS 62410****
These items are inaccurate. I am requesting that these items be deleted to correct my information.
Please investigate this matter and demonstrate to me that my consumer rights are not being violated. Delete these disputed items within the time frame required by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and inform me in writing of the outcome.
Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter.
I am also including copies of my driver’s license, Social Security card and a utility bill that has my name and current address on it. All in an effort to prove that I am who I say I am, and to discourage you from participating in any “stall tactics.”
The addresses of the three credit bureaus are:
2 Baldwin Place
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022
P.O. Box 2104
Allen, TX 75013-2104
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
What Do I Do After I Send My Dispute Letters?
The credit bureaus have 30 days (or a reasonable amount of time) to respond to your dispute. They typically will mail a results letter to you. This letter will explain if anything was deleted or corrected. It will also let you know if they need any additional information from you. Based on what response you get you will want to continue to update your dispute letter with the information that has not been corrected or deleted yet. Resubmit dispute letters as needed until your credit has been cleared or corrected to your satisfaction. Persistence is key when sending dispute letters to the credit bureaus.
Do not be intimidated by these companies. It is within your rights to dispute anything on your credit reports at any time. The credit reporting companies will also use strong language in order to discourage you from disputing your information. They have no law enforcement capabilities. They are just businesses. Not law enforcement or governmental entities.
Good luck and be persistent!
Remember to check you credit report often to ensure it’s accuracy using www.truecredit.com