Credit Reporting Errors
Inaccurate Credit Reporting
Consumers are often refused credit cards, mortgages, student loans, employment and housing opportunities, and many other types of financing due to inaccurate information on their credit reports. You have a right to view your credit report and dispute any errors or outdated information contained therein. We are not a credit repair organization, but we can assist you in trying to correct these errors, and in some cases, bring claims on your behalf under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1681, a federal statute that protects the consumers from inaccurate credit reporting and unauthorized access to the information contained in your credit reports.
How to Order Your Free Credit Report
The three nationwide consumer reporting companies (TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax) have set up one website, a toll-free telephone number, and mailing address through which you can order your free annual credit report. To order your credit report, visit annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228.
You need to provide your name, social security number, and date of birth. You may have to provide additional information if you recently moved. To maintain the security of your report, the credit reporting agency may request information that only you would know, such as your monthly mortgage payment or the identity of a previous creditor, in order to gain access to your report.
You can also order your report from the three nationwide consumer reporting companies individually. The law allows you to one free copy from each of the nationwide consumer reporting companies every year. There may be certain circumstances that may also entitle you to a free report in addition to your annual report, such as being denied an application for credit, insurance, or employment based on information contained in your credit report. In these circumstances, you must request your report within 60 days of receiving notice of the rejection.
Otherwise, consumer reporting agencies may charge you for a copy of your credit report. To contact the three nationwide credit reporting agencies individually:
Experian: 1-888-397-3742 www.experian.com
TransUnion: 1-800-916-8800 www.transunion.com
Equifax: 1-800-685-1111, www.equifax.com.
Correcting Credit Errors
Notify the consumer reporting agency, in writing, what information you think is incorrect. Include copies (NOT originals) of documents that support why you think the information is inaccurate. Your letter should contain your complete name and address, each item that you are disputing in your report, the facts and explanation for why you dispute the information, and your request that the information be removed or corrected. Send your letter by certified mail, “return receipt requested,” so you can document when the consumer reporting agency received your dispute. Keep copies of your dispute letter and enclosures.
Consumer reporting companies must investigate your disputed items — usually within 30 days — unless they consider your dispute frivolous. They also must forward all the relevant data you provided about the errors to the organization that provided it with the disputed information. After the information provider receives notice of a dispute from the consumer reporting company, it must investigate, review the relevant information, and report the results back to the consumer reporting company. If the information provider finds the disputed information is inaccurate, it must notify all three nationwide consumer reporting companies so they can correct the information in your file.
When the investigation is complete, the consumer reporting company must give you the results in writing and a free copy of your report if the dispute results in a change. This free report does not count as your annual free report. If an item is changed or deleted, the consumer reporting company cannot put the disputed information back in your file unless the information provider verifies that it is accurate and complete. The consumer reporting company also must send you written notice that includes the name, address, and phone number of the information provider.
Upon your request, the consumer reporting company must send notices of any corrections to anyone who received your report in the past six months. You can have a corrected copy of your report sent to anyone who received a copy during the past two years for employment purposes.
If the credit reporting agency does not resolve the dispute in your favor, you can ask that a statement of the dispute be included in your file and in all future reports. You can also request that it provide your statement to anyone who recently received a copy of your report, but if you do so request, you can expect to pay a fee.
Notify the creditor or other entity, in writing, that you are disputing the item that it reported about you to the credit reporting agency. Be sure to include copies of documents that support your position. Then, if the provider reports the item to a consumer reporting company, it must include a notice of your dispute. And if the information is found to be inaccurate, the information provider may not report the item again.
If you believe that a consumer reporting agency has violated your rights under the law, call us for a free consultation.
Credit Repair Organizations
If you have been harmed by a credit repair company, we may be able to represent you in bringing claims under the Credit Repair Organizations Act, which is a consumer protection law. The Credit Repair Organizations Act protects consumers from misleading, deceptive, and other unfair conduct of credit repair companies. Credit repair organizations cannot, among other things:
- Lie to creditors about your credit history,
- Change your identity, and
- Ask you to pay for their services before you receive the services.