Checking for errors:
Creditors aren’t perfect, either
Other people make mistakes too. Even banks and credit – card payment processors. Considering that about 4.5 billion pieces of data are added to credit reports every month, it shouldn’t be a big surprise that incorrect information may show up on your credit report. And won’t even get into the unrelated problem of errors caused as a result of identity theft. There have been a number of conflicting studies on what percentage of reports contain errors and of those, how many were serious enough to affect either the terms under which credit was granted or if it was granted at all. So, you may have errors on your report or not. And they may be serious or not. But unless you are feeling really lucky, I strongly suggest you find out what’s in your report.
Still, credit –reporting agencies have a vested interest in the accuracy of the information they report. Remember: They sell it, and their reputations are on the line if their information is consistently inaccurate, If credit – reporting agencies consistently provides error – riddled data, those who grant credit won’t be as eager to pay money to get or use a bureau’s credit reports.
Getting a copy of your credit report gives you a chance to check for these errors and – better yet – get them corrected! You can have inaccurate information removed by one of two methods: contacting the credit bureau or contacting the creditor.
Contacting the credit bureau
If you notice incorrect information on your credit report, contact the credit bureau that reported the inaccurate information. VA Credit Solutions can assist you with Free Credit Repair too. Each of the three major bureaus allows you to dispute information in your credit report on its Website, or you can call the bureau’s toll-free number. If you make your dispute online, you’ll need to have a copy of your credit report available; there is information on the report that will allow the bureau to confirm your identity without a signature. If you opt to call the toll-free number, you’re unlikely to get a live person on the other end – this stuff is heavily automated – but you’ll be told what information and documentation you need in order to submit a written request. After you properly notify the credit bureau, you can count on action.
Credit – reporting agencies are required by the Fair Credit Reporting Act to investigate any disputed listings. The credit bureau must verify the item in question with the creditor at no cost to you, the consumer. The law requires that the creditor respond and verify the entry within 30 days, or the information must be removed from your credit report, and the credit reporting agency has to notify you of the outcome. If the information in the report has been changed or deleted, you also get a free copy of the revised report.
Contacting the creditor
Another way to remove inaccurate information from your credit report is out – lined under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act, passed in 2003 and rolled out in pieces through 2005. Under these new FACTA provisions, you can deal directly with the creditor who reported the negative information in the first place. Contact information is contained on your last billing statement from the creditor.
I strongly suggest you do everything in writing, return –receipt requested. After you dispute the information, the reporting creditor must look into the matter and cannot continue to report the negative information while it’s investigating your dispute.
For new delinquencies, FACTA now requires that you be notified if the negative information is reported to a credit bureau. That said, you may have to look closely to even see this new notice. Anyone who extends credit to you must send you a one-time notice either before or no later than 30 days after negative information – including late payments, missed payments, partial payments, or any other form of default- is furnished to a credit bureau. The notice may look something like this:
· Before negative information is reported: “We may report information about your account to credit bureaus. Late payments, missed payments, or other defaults on your account may be reflected in your credit report.”
· After negative information is reported: “We have told a credit bureau about a late payment, a missed payment, or other default on your account. This information may be reflected in your credit report.”
The notice is not a substitute for your own close monitoring of your credit reports, bank accounts, and credit-card statements.