Credit Reporting Problems
Good credit is critical to the modern consumer. Maintaining a high credit score means paying bills on time, honoring your financial commitments, and making responsible decisions. Your efforts, though, can be undermined by the mistakes of others when inaccurate information appears on your credit reports. We are experienced in assisting consumers resolve their credit disputes.
Inaccurate Information. Credit reports need to be accurate. Even small errors are in not acceptable. A credit reporting agency needs to fix errors that you bring to their attention.
Identity theft. If your identity has been stolen, there are limits on the reporting of information once you’ve notified credit reporting agencies. The agencies must also take specific actions to ensure that you’re protected.
Post-bankruptcy collections. Once a debt has been discharged in Bankruptcy, it must be reported that way.
Old debt. Generally, a debt that is more than seven years old is considered obsolete and may not be reported. Bankruptcies can be reported for ten years.
Mixed or merged credit reports. A mixed or merged credit report happens when a credit reporting agency merges the credit information of one consumer with another.
What You Can Do
If you find an inaccuracy on your credit report, you may be able to resolve the issue without an attorney. You have the right to dispute any errors with the credit reporting agencies and furnishers of information.
The first step is to obtain your free credit report. The three nationwide credit reporting agencies have set up a central website, www.annualcreditreport.com, for consumers to obtain a free annual report. You may also call 1-877-322-8228 and follow the prompts to request a free credit report. Use your free annual report to determine which entities are reporting false or inaccurate information.
Once you figure out which credit reporting agencies are reporting inaccurate information, you need to dispute the inaccurate information in writing. Once the credit reporting agencies receive a dispute they must forward the dispute, and any relevant data, to the person or entity that provided credit information to the reporting agency. After the information provider receives the information, it must investigate the dispute, review relevant information, and report the results back to the credit reporting agency. If the information being reported is inaccurate, the information provider must notify all three credit reporting agencies. This whole dispute process generally must be completed in 30 days.
To dispute an inaccuracy, send a letter in writing via certified mail – to be sure the credit reporting agencies receive it – and describe the error in detail. Include your name, current address, date of birth, last four of your social security number, name of creditor and account number of the dispute item. You can send the dispute letter to the three national credit reporting agencies at the following addresses:
P.O. Box 740256
Atlanta, GA 30374-0256
P.O. Box 9701
Allen, TX 75013
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016
Once you send the dispute, the credit reporting agencies generally have thirty days to respond. When they respond, the reporting agency must give you the written results of their investigation and a free copy of the results. Review the results to determine if the inaccuracy remains.
If your dispute does not resolve the inaccuracies, consider taking legal action. In the last three years, our office has successfully helped numerous individuals correct their credit reports and obtain approximately $1,000,000* in combined relief for our clients from the credit reporting agencies and information providers.
*This amount represents the total value of all settlements or other amounts combined for all of our clients. These results are not intended to be representative or predictive. Outcomes vary based upon specific circumstances of each case.