They Messed Up My Credit Report!

They Messed Up My Credit Report!


You’ve decided to go ahead with an important consumer purchase, perhaps that new car you always wanted even a vacation home and you receive a nasty piece of information — your credit is awful. “This can’t be!,” you think but according to at least one of the credit reporting services you aren’t even fit to buy a new shirt, let alone a high ticket consumer item.

Some consumers have bad credit because of action they took which caused accurate negative information to be added to their record. But, for many other consumers inaccurate even false information could have found its way into their reports.

How To Fix Your Credit Report

Your credit report won’t fix itself, but with your pro-active work you can take care of each mistake one by one.

To get started you should:

  • Retrieve copies of each of the three major credit reports. These are available for free from AnnualCreditReport.Com, a service of the Big Three credit reporting services: Trans Union, Equifax, and Experian. By law, the companies must allow you to access your reports once annually for free.
  • Examine the report closely to make sure that your name, social security number, address and other personal information is correct.
  • Check your individual accounts as they should each be in good standing. If not, find out the reason why an account isn’t in good standing. If it is due to something you did, then you cannot correct this problem other than making future payments on time. If there is an error with the account, contact the appropriate credit reporting service and explain to them what information you found is incorrect.

Notifying the Credit Reporting Service

If you discover an error, make a copy of the credit report and circle in red what you believe to be wrong information. Then, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s site and copy their sample dispute letter and change it accordingly. You’ll be sending the letter and your credit report to the service.

The credit reporting service must launch an investigation within thirty days, contacting the creditor on your behalf. Please note that the credit reporting service can come to any number of conclusions based on their investigation:

  • Information that you dispute which cannot be verified will be deleted from your file.
  • Erroneous information must be corrected.
  • Incomplete information must be completed.
  • Information belonging to another consumer must be removed from your file.

Not all investigations will be ruled in your favor. Perhaps you overlooked an account or after correcting certain information you could still have negative, but accurate details on your report. You do have the right to attach a letter of explanation to your credit file which can help explain your position. Send a copy to the business in question too so that they have your dispute on file.

Wrong information on a credit report isn’t the end of the world, but not responding can be a problem — take control of your credit today and order your credit reports and obtain your credit score (which is an extra charge).


Check Your Credit

Federal Trade Commission

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Categories: Credit Reports

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Matt's Musings", his personal blog. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and blogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".