Accurate Credit Bureau – Your Credit Report – How to Dispute Errors

What information is contained in a credit report, how is it used, and how to dispute inaccuracies.

Your consumer credit report contains various information about where you work and live and your credit history. This information includes how you pay your bills, your current credit cards and charge accounts as well as your history of repaying loans. The report also provides information about whether you have ever filed for bankruptcy or have been sued for not paying money that you owed. It may also show if you’ve ever been arrested. Credit reports are useful in many situations. When you apply for credit, the credit grantor (for example, a bank or credit card company) may obtain a copy of your credit report to determine whether to grant you more credit. Landlords obtain credit reports when you  apply to lease or rent a home. Credit reports are also routinely used by businesses to evaluate employment, insurance, credit, or other purposes allowed by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

Accurate Credit Bureau


Accurate Credit Bureau accesses credit reporting information from the largest wholesalers of consumer information in the country, Equifax and Experian Corporation.  Experian (formally known as TRW), and Equafax, receive their information from credit grantors, such as banks or credit card companies. These Credit Reporting Agencies then compiles and stores this data, evaluates your credit worthiness from a set of standards devised jointly with Fair Isaac Corporation or Beacon 96, and wholesales this information to businesses like Accurate Credit Bureau who are required to legally abide by the laws of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. In turn, Accurate Credit Bureau then resells this information to prospective employers, and prospective landlords. It is illegal for anybody to receive a consumer credit report who is not entitled to it, and for anyone to supply a credit report to someone who is not authorized to receive it. Some of the people who receive reports from Accurate Credit Bureau with applicant permission and proper qualifications are Landlords, Real Estate Agents, Property Managers, Apartment Managers, and Employers.

Credit Reports basically contain four types of  information.
Identification. Your name, birth date, Social Security Number, employer, and spouses name are routinely noted, as well as possibly your employment history, home ownership, income, and previous address.
Payment history. Your accounts with different creditors are listed, showing how much credit has been extended and whether you’ve paid on time. Overdue accounts, collections, and charge offs are also noted.
Inquires. A record is maintained of all the creditors who have asked for your credit report in the last year, and those persons or businesses who have asked for it in the last two years.
Public information. Events that are a matter of public record, such as liens, judgments, foreclosures, and bankruptcies may also be included.

You can be denied credit, insurance, housing, or employment due to the information contained on your credit report. Most financial advisors recommend that you check your credit report periodically for inaccuracies or emissions. Obviously, it is important that the information on your credit report be complete and accurate.

How to Dispute Credit Report Errors

If you’ve been denied credit, insurance, or employment because of information on your credit report, the FCRA says the company you applied to must give you the Credit Reporting Agencies name, address, and telephone number. If you contact the agency for a copy of your report within 60 days of receiving a denial notice, the report is free.
The three Credit Reporting Agencies (CRA) are:

EXPERIAN, CONSUMER ASSISTANCE, P.O. Box 2002, Allen, TX 75013-0036 Telephone (888)397-3742
EQUIFAX, CONSUMER ASSISTANCE, P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241 Telephone (800) 685-1111
TRANS UNION CORP, CUSTOMER RELATIONS, 2 Baldwin Pl., P.O. Box 1000, Chester, PA 19022 Telephone (800) 888-4213.

Correcting Errors
Under the FCRA, both the CRA and the organization that provided the information to the CRA, such as a bank or credit card company, have responsibilities for correcting inaccurate or incomplete information in your report. To protect all your rights under the law, contact both the CRA and the information provider.

First, tell the CRA in writing what information you believe is inaccurate. Include copies (NOT originals) of documents that support your position. In addition to providing your complete name and address, your letter should clearly identify each item in your report you dispute, state the facts and explain why you dispute the information, and request deletion or correction. You may want to enclose a copy of your report with the items in question circled. Your letter may look something like the sample below. Send your letter by certified mail, return receipt requested, so you can document what the CRA received. Keep copies of your dispute letter and enclosures.

CRAs must reinvestigate the items in question–usually within 30 days–unless they consider your dispute frivolous. They also must forward all relevant data you provide about the dispute to the information provider. After the information provider receives notice of a dispute from the CRA, it must investigate, review all relevant information provided by the CRA, and report the results to the CRA. If the information provider finds the disputed information to be inaccurate, it must notify all nationwide CRAs so they can correct this information in your file. l Disputed information that cannot be verified must be deleted from your file.

  • If your report contains erroneous information, the CRA must correct it.
  • If an item is incomplete, the CRA must complete it. For example, if your file showed that you were late making payments, but failed to show that you were no longer delinquent, the CRA must show that you’re current.
  • If your file shows an account that belongs only to another person, the CRA must delete it.

When the reinvestigation is complete, the CRA must give you the written results and a free copy of your report if the dispute results in a change. If an item is changed or removed, the CRA cannot put the disputed information back in your file unless the information provider verifies its accuracy and completeness, and the CRA gives you a written notice that includes the name, address, and phone number of the provider.

Also, if you request, the CRA must send notices of corrections to anyone who received your report in the past six months. Job applicants can have a corrected copy of their report sent to anyone who received a copy during the past two years for employment purposes. If a reinvestigation does not resolve your dispute, ask the CRA to include your statement of the dispute in your file and in future reports.

Second, in addition to writing to the CRA, tell the creditor or other information provider in writing that you dispute an item. Again, include copies (NOT originals) of documents that support your position. Many providers specify an address for disputes. If the provider then reports the item to any CRA, it must include a notice of your dispute. In addition, if you are correct-that is, if the disputed information is not accurate-the information provider may not use it again. Accurate Negative Information When negative information in your report is accurate, only the passage of time can assure its removal. Accurate negative information can generally stay on your report for 7 years. There are certain exceptions:

  • Information about criminal convictions may be reported without any time limitation.
  • Bankruptcy information may be reported for 10 years.
  • Credit information reported in response to an application for a job with a salary of more than $75,000 has no time limit.
  • Credit information reported because of an application for more than $150,000 worth of credit or life insurance has no time limit.
  • Information about a lawsuit or an unpaid judgment against you can be reported for seven years or until the statute of limitations runs out, whichever is longer. Criminal convictions can be reported without any time limit.

Adding Accounts to Your File

Your credit file may not reflect all your credit accounts. Although most national department store and all-purpose bank credit card accounts will be included in your file, not all creditors supply information to CRAs: Some travel, entertainment, gasoline card companies, local retailers, and credit unions are among those creditors that don’t. If you’ve been told you were denied credit because of an “insufficient credit file” or “no credit file” and you have accounts with creditors that don’t appear in your credit file, ask the CRA to add this information to future reports. Although they are not required to do so, many CRAs will add verifiable accounts for a fee. You should, however, understand that if these creditors do not report to the CRA on a regular basis, these added items will not be updated in your file.

If you’ve been denied credit, insurance, or employment because of information on your credit report, the FCRA says the company you applied to must give you the Credit Reporting Agencies name, address, and telephone number. If you contact the agency for a copy of your report within 60 days of receiving a denial notice, the report is free.
The three Credit Reporting Agencies (CRA) are:

EXPERIAN, CONSUMER ASSISTANCE, P.O. Box 2002, Allen, TX 75013-0036 Telephone (888)397-3742
EQUIFAX, CONSUMER ASSISTANCE, P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241 Telephone (800) 685-1111
TRANS UNION CORP, CUSTOMER RELATIONS, 2 Baldwin Pl., P.O. Box 1000, Chester, PA 19022 Telephone (800) 888-4213.

Correcting Errors
Under the FCRA, both the CRA and the organization that provided the information to the CRA, such as a bank or credit card company, have responsibilities for correcting inaccurate or incomplete information in your report. To protect all your rights under the law, contact both the CRA and the information provider.

First, tell the CRA in writing what information you believe is inaccurate. Include copies (NOT originals) of documents that support your position. In addition to providing your complete name and address, your letter should clearly identify each item in your report you dispute, state the facts and explain why you dispute the information, and request deletion or correction. You may want to enclose a copy of your report with the items in question circled. Your letter may look something like the sample below. Send your letter by certified mail, return receipt requested, so you can document what the CRA received. Keep copies of your dispute letter and enclosures.

CRAs must reinvestigate the items in question–usually within 30 days–unless they consider your dispute frivolous. They also must forward all relevant data you provide about the dispute to the information provider. After the information provider receives notice of a dispute from the CRA, it must investigate, review all relevant information provided by the CRA, and report the results to the CRA. If the information provider finds the disputed information to be inaccurate, it must notify all nationwide CRAs so they can correct this information in your file. l Disputed information that cannot be verified must be deleted from your file.

  • If your report contains erroneous information, the CRA must correct it.
  • If an item is incomplete, the CRA must complete it. For example, if your file showed that you were late making payments, but failed to show that you were no longer delinquent, the CRA must show that you’re current.
  • If your file shows an account that belongs only to another person, the CRA must delete it.

When the reinvestigation is complete, the CRA must give you the written results and a free copy of your report if the dispute results in a change. If an item is changed or removed, the CRA cannot put the disputed information back in your file unless the information provider verifies its accuracy and completeness, and the CRA gives you a written notice that includes the name, address, and phone number of the provider.

Also, if you request, the CRA must send notices of corrections to anyone who received your report in the past six months. Job applicants can have a corrected copy of their report sent to anyone who received a copy during the past two years for employment purposes. If a reinvestigation does not resolve your dispute, ask the CRA to include your statement of the dispute in your file and in future reports.

Second, in addition to writing to the CRA, tell the creditor or other information provider in writing that you dispute an item. Again, include copies (NOT originals) of documents that support your position. Many providers specify an address for disputes. If the provider then reports the item to any CRA, it must include a notice of your dispute. In addition, if you are correct-that is, if the disputed information is not accurate-the information provider may not use it again. Accurate Negative Information When negative information in your report is accurate, only the passage of time can assure its removal. Accurate negative information can generally stay on your report for 7 years. There are certain exceptions:

  • Information about criminal convictions may be reported without any time limitation.
  • Bankruptcy information may be reported for 10 years.
  • Credit information reported in response to an application for a job with a salary of more than $75,000 has no time limit.
  • Credit information reported because of an application for more than $150,000 worth of credit or life insurance has no time limit.
  • Information about a lawsuit or an unpaid judgment against you can be reported for seven years or until the statute of limitations runs out, whichever is longer. Criminal convictions can be reported without any time limit.

Adding Accounts to Your File

Your credit file may not reflect all your credit accounts. Although most national department store and all-purpose bank credit card accounts will be included in your file, not all creditors supply information to CRAs: Some travel, entertainment, gasoline card companies, local retailers, and credit unions are among those creditors that don’t. If you’ve been told you were denied credit because of an “insufficient credit file” or “no credit file” and you have accounts with creditors that don’t appear in your credit file, ask the CRA to add this information to future reports. Although they are not required to do so, many CRAs will add verifiable accounts for a fee. You should, however, understand that if these creditors do not report to the CRA on a regular basis, these added items will not be updated in your file.


Sample Dispute Letter

Date

Your Name
Your Address
Your City, State, Zip Code

Complaint Department
Name of Credit Reporting Agency
Address
City, State, Zip Code

Dear Sir or Madam:

I am writing to dispute the following information in my file. The items I dispute are also encircled on the attached copy of the report I received. (Identify item(s) disputed by name of source, such as creditors or tax court, and identify type of item, such as credit account, judgment, etc.)
This item is (inaccurate or incomplete) because (describe what is inaccurate or incomplete and why). I am requesting that the item be deleted (or request another specific change) to correct the information.
Enclosed are copies of (use this sentence if applicable and describe any enclosed documentation, such as payment records, court documents) supporting my position. Please reinvestigate this (these) matter(s) and (delete or correct) the disputed item(s) as soon as possible.

Sincerely,
Your name

Enclosures: (List what you are enclosing)

The Federal Trade Commission enforces a number of credit laws and provides consumers with free information.

The Equal Credit Opportunity Act prohibits the denial of credit because of your sex, race, marital status, religion, national origin, age, or because you receive public assistance.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act gives you the right to learn what information is being distributed about you by credit reporting agencies.

The Truth in Lending Act requires lenders to give you written disclosures of the cost of credit and terms of repayment before you enter into a credit card transaction.

The Fair Credit Billing Act establishes procedures for resolving billing errors on your credit card accounts.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act prohibits debt collectors from using unfair or deceptive practices to collect overdue bills that your creditor has forwarded for collection.

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