Dispute Credit Report Errors
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) gives you the right to dispute credit report errors. Consumer reporting agencies and information providers must investigate disputes and correct the errors they find. If they don’t, you can continue sending disputes or sue.
To learn about the dispute process continue reading this page. If you need help, or if you believe your disputes are being ignored or investigated improperly, contact BCJ Law for help. To speak with our credit report attorney, call 1-800-997-5561 or complete our contact form.
Review your credit report for inaccuracies.
The first step in the dispute process is reviewing your credit report for all inaccuracies. Review each piece of information reported about you, and make sure each item is accurate. Note all inaccuracies that appear on your credit report.
No inaccuracy is too small. For instance, if you see inaccurate addresses, names, or phone numbers, document them. These seemingly trivial inaccuracies could mean your report is mixed with someone else. You don’t want information about another person appearing on your credit report.
Write your credit report dispute letter.
After you note each inaccuracy, the second step is writing your dispute letter. The letter should include your current name and address, and clearly identify what information you think is inaccurate and why. If possible, include documents that support your position. Finally, request the correction or removal of inaccuracies, or request whatever other relief you seek. In sum, your letter should include the following:
Address your dispute letter to the consumer reporting agency that has inaccurate information on its credit report. If an inaccuracy involves a data furnisher (like a bank, lender, debt collector, or other third party that is reporting information about you), you can write a separate letter addressed to them. Here are links to sample dispute letters for credit reporting agencies and data furnishers.
Send your credit report dispute letter.
In order to trigger your right to an investigation, you must dispute credit report errors directly with a credit reporting agency. You must dispute directly with CRAs even if an error was caused by a third party reporting inaccurate information about you. Accordingly, send all dispute letters directly to any involved CRAs. After that, to the extent necessary, you can (and usually should) send a copy of your dispute (or a separate letter) to any third-party you believe caused the error.
Credit report dispute letters should be sent by certified mail and with a return receipt. This gives you proof that your disputes were sent and received. You also should keep copies of your disputes and any supporting documents for your records.
Wait for the investigation to complete.
So long as you directly dispute errors with credit reporting agencies, they are required to investigate your dispute. If your dispute involves information reported by a third-party, like a bank or lender, CRAs must forward your dispute to the information provider, who then must conduct its own investigation.
Consumer reporting agencies and data furnishers generally have 30 days to complete investigations. After an investigation is complete, the following things must happen:
Steps to take if an investigation doesn't result in correction or removal.
Credit report investigations don’t always resolve in your favor. You don’t have to give up if a dispute does not result in correction or removal. Instead, you can send follow up disputes that either explain why an investigation was inadequate or provide additional documents and information to support your position.
If repeated disputes don’t work, you may have to initiate a lawsuit. The good news is the FCRA generally allows attorneys to recover their fees and costs from the party that violated your rights. That means you may pay nothing to get a dispute corrected in court.
Disputes can't correct or remove accurate information.
As a final note, it’s important to know that credit report disputes won’t correct or remove accurate information from your credit report. The FCRA only allows for the correction or removal of inaccurate, improper, out-dated, or erroneous information. You should not send credit report disputes to remove accurate information from your credit report.