The credit bureaus and financial institutions must comply with over 200 legal provisions when reporting information on your credit reports. They commonly fail to follow Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. When this happens, you can demand the removal of information that was illegally added to your credit reports. When the credit bureaus and creditors realize that they have been caught violating these laws, they would rather change the information on your reports than risk a lawsuit or a fine.
You have the right and privilege to dispute yourself, just as it is your right to represent yourself in court. However you may also hire a company that specializes in credit repair. The bonus to hiring a company is less work for you and the specialty of having a knowledgeable professional.
Pull your report
• Everyone is entitled to one free credit report a year If you’re unemployed and plan to look for a job within 60 days; if you’re on welfare; or if your report is inaccurate because of fraud, including identity theft.
• Each of the credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion are required to provide you with a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months, if you ask for it. The three companies have a central website, a toll-free telephone number, and a mailing address for consumers to order the free annual credit reports the government entitles them to. To order, click onAnnual Credit Report Request Form and mail it to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
Evaluate negative items
• Once you have obtained your credit report you will want to evaluate what is bringing your score down. Most credit reports have Potentially Negative Items or items for further review these are the ones bringing your score down.
• The items here are listed in order of descending importance with the first item being the “most damaging” to your credit.
Past due payments
• No one can legally remove accurate and timely negative information from a credit report. The law allows you to ask for an investigation of information in your file that you dispute as inaccurate or incomplete. There is no charge for this. Some people hire a company to investigate on their behalf to save time and frustration.
• Mistakes do happen, and when they happen on your credit report it can be costly!
• Check for outdated information the majority of states allow the credit bureaus to report your negative items for seven years with the exception of Bankruptcy and Judgments which are reported for ten years. You can check the statue of limitations for more information.
Contact the Credit Bureaus
•Tell the credit bureaus, in writing, what information you think is inaccurate. Include copies (NOT originals) of any documents that support your position. Your letter should identify each item in your report you wish to dispute; state the facts and the reasons you want to dispute the information, and ask that it be removed or corrected. You letter should include your full legal name, current address, and social security number. You will also want to include documentation proving your identity to the bureaus so they cannot stall identification is as follows: a copy of your photo id, a copy of your social security card, and a proof of address (such as utility bill).
• Send your letter by certified mail, “return receipt requested,” so you can document that the consumer reporting company received it. Keep copies of your dispute letter and enclosures.
Po Box 740256
Atlanta, GA 30348
Po Box 9701
Allen, TX 75013
Po Box 1000
Chester, PA 19022
• The credit bureaus then have thirty days to investigate your dispute. Once you receive your response you will want to evaluate what has been removed or corrected. Once that is evaluated you will want to make note and send out additional letters tell desired results are achieved.
Get New Credit
• After you have cleaned up your report it is time to re-establish. If you have loans or revolving credit already being reported on time keep it up! If you do not you will want to reestablish credit by opening some new accounts. Don’t forget to keep your balance at half or less than the available limit.