Tuesday, November 27, 2012

How to Dispute Your Credit Report Online

Webnotes taken by: Theresa Payton, Fortalice, LLC. Content taken from actual consumer question submitted to America Now, for which Theresa serves as a cyber expert. http://www.americanownews.com/story/16190165/theresa-payton 

Question:  If I want to dispute a couple of things on my credit report, how can I do it online?

Many people do not realize that you have rights that allow you to dispute credit report errors.  You can do some of the legwork online but you may also need to make a few phone calls and / or even send a letter for more complex issues.

Everyone's credit report contains critical information about where you live now, where you used to live, and tells people if you pay your bills on time.  It may even include an arrest record.  If you have previously filed for bankruptcy, that will definitely follow you on your credit report.

The important fact to note is that the credit report must be 100% accurate.  You are protected under the Federal act called the "Fair Credit Reporting Act" or FCRA.

Step 1:
Order a free report.  Go to www.annualcreditreport.com

Step 2:
Look for and correct errors online.

The FCRA states that both the credit card company and the credit report agency must fix any inaccurate or incomplete information in your report. 

You can change address information and some minor inconsistencies.  If you are trying to remove a late payment history or dispute a bankruptcy or other financial judgments, this will require an extra step offline.  Each credit reporting company has it's own form and it's own process so you will need to dispute an item on every site.  

You will need to go separately to each site to file a dispute:

You will need to detail in a written letter, the information you think is inaccurate. Include copies of any document that supports the change you are requesting.  Make sure you keep a copy of all correspondence both online and offline for your records.

A great resource for understanding your rights to an accurate credit report and how to fix your credit is at the Federal Trade Commission's site.  Go to "Building a Better Credit Report" at ftc.gov/credit.

If you still have issues, you can go to the Federal Trade Commission and seek their assistance.  Go to www.ftc.gov or you can call them toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP .

They even provide a video, "How to File a Complaint' at www.ftc.gov/video .

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