When you’ve filed for bankruptcy, you likely are now more than ever keeping a close eye on your credit report to ensure that your credit score is growing and not suffering as you pay off debts and discharge those that are applicable.
But what happens if you find errors on your credit report? The Jones Law Firm explains how you can dispute errors on your credit report.
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the credit reporting agency and the information provider have a responsibility to correct inaccurate or incomplete information in your credit report. But when errors exist, you need to take action.
I. Write a dispute letter to your credit reporting company.
Once you’ve found a suspected error on your credit report, it is important to send a letter to your credit reporting company, including copies of documentation that support your case. Never send original documents as you likely will not get them back.
In addition to your identification (name and address) as well as supporting documentation, you need to list the items within the report you wish to dispute, the facts for dispute, and whether you are requesting its removal or correction on your credit report.
You’ll want to send this letter by certified mail with “return receipt requested,” so you can have a record of when the company received notice. Be sure to include this in your files as well.
II. An investigation must occur.
Upon receipt of your errors, the reporting company must investigate the items in question, typically within 30 days unless the dispute is frivolous. The reporting agency must forward any relevant data you have supplied to the information provider as well, and that provider must investigate, too.
From there, the information provider must review the relevant information and report back to the credit reporting agency. Should the disputed information be found to be inaccurate, they must move forward by notifying all nationwide credit reporting companies so they can correct the information in your file.
III. Results must be sent to you in writing, with a free credit report.
When the investigation is complete, you must be given the results of the investigation in writing for your own records in addition to a free copy of your report if changes occurred as a result. The free report you receive here is not the free annual report you are entitled to. The credit reporting company must provide you written notice of the results that include the name, address, and phone number of the information provider who was investigated and notified.
If your disputed items are changed or deleted, the credit reporting company cannot put that information on your file unless the information provided verifies that the original data is correct as is.
In addition, if changes occur, you can request the credit reporting company send notices to anyone who may have received your report in the last six months.
IV. But if the investigation does not resolve disputes, you have options.
In some cases, the investigation will not resolve the dispute and will need to be documented. If you ask, the credit reporting company will provide you a statement to anyone who received the report. This does require a fee.
In addition, you can request the statement of dispute be on your file for future reports.
Once you’ve taken these steps with your credit reporting agency, you must complete a similar process with the information provider.
V. Contact your information provider in writing, that you have moved forward with a dispute in your credit report.
Like you drafted to the credit reporting agency, you will also need to write and send a dispute letter to the information provider. Include copies of documents that support your case.
Once made known, the information provider must let the credit reporting company know about your dispute. If the investigation shows you are correct in the information dispute, the information provider must notify the reporting company to update your report or delete the item in question.
Remember, your credit score and errors won't be corrected overnight. But staying up to date and being on top of your investigation with proper documentation will ensure you are in the right position to move forward.
Finding errors within your credit report can be jarring, especially coming out of bankruptcy or rebounding from a recent discharge. Contact The Jones Law Firm today to discuss your credit report questions and bankruptcy needs.