FindLaw KnowledgeBasePublished: 2012-04-24
A credit score affects many areas of a consumer’s life, including whether or not a consumer receives a loan and job offers. And, there are many factors that impact a credit report, including late mortgage payments and consumer bankruptcy petitions.
Unfortunately, credit scores can also be negatively impacted by false information. One consumer became suspicious after repeatedly being turned down for jobs she was well qualified for. Upon reviewing her credit report she found fraudulent loans on two cars and a home. After months of struggle, she was able to remove these false claims from her report.
Importance of Disputing Credit Report Errors
The accuracy and privacy of information contained in a credit report is protected under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act. Financial advisors and consumer advocates recommend periodic review of your credit report for many reasons, including:
- Ability to pursue a timely dispute if false information is present
- Guard against identity theft
If information is disputed, both the credit reporting company and collections agency investigate. The investigation must be completed within 30 days.
Tips on Disputing Errors
To begin a dispute, write the credit reporting company explaining exactly what information is inaccurate. In addition, documentation to support claims will help expedite the investigation.
After completing an investigation, the credit reporting company will provide results to the consumer in writing. If the investigation does not resolve the dispute, a statement of dispute can be included in both the consumer’s file and future credit reports. A statement of dispute is a provision within the FCRA that allows 100 words written by the consumer to be included on the credit report.
Another course of action is to file a lawsuit against the lender. If the court finds in the consumer’s favor, the information is removed from the credit report. If you or a loved one is attempting to dispute a credit report error, contact an attorney.