Credit reports are notorious for errors. These errors may be impacting your overall FICO score and need to be removed as soon as possible. Here are steps you can take to have damaging entries removed from your credit report:
1. Make a list of inaccurate or untrue entries that you find in your credit report.
2. Call the credit bureau and tell the appropriate person that you want to dispute an entry you have noted on your credit report.
3. Don’t allow any credit bureau employee to talk you out of proceeding with your appeal. To avoid a distracting confrontation, don’t even tell them you want to challenge. They won’t initiate any action on your behalf anyway until they receive your appeal request in writing.
4. To initiate the proper appeal procedure, ask the person you speak with to send you a “Dispute Form.”
5. Complete the “Dispute Form” and return it to the credit bureau by certified mail.
6. When the credit bureau receives your written dispute request they will then attempt to verify the dispute you have indicated with the bank, lender, or creditor responsible for having the damaging information listed.
7. You will be notified of their decision within 30-45 days.
This technique challenges creditors to document proof of your credit card usage. While I do not suggest you attempt to defraud the credit card companies, you have the right to demand proof for charges made against your card. Also, if you have ever made a late payment through a collection agency, the original charge may still be reflected as “overdue” on your credit report. Collection agencies are notorious for not informing the credit bureaus of successful collections. Save all your documentation when dealing with a collection agency.
Several years ago credit repair agencies based their success rates on creditors’ inability to document proof of your purchases. Therefore, items that went into dispute had to be written off by the creditors. In my experience, credit agencies have vastly improved in this area, but may still offer some loopholes to the consumer’s advantage. Be wary of working with a credit repair agency, however. They typically charge large upfront fees, based on the amount you owe, and cannot make guarantees of how much of your debt will be removed.
Go to Google to search for the FTC (www.ftc.gov) and visit their site for information prior to hiring a credit repair or counseling service. Any government site should use the .gov extension.