If these time frames have run and they’re still haunting your reports, you can use the dispute system to nudge them off.
While this doesn’t happen very often, sometimes accurate accounts are listed more than once. When they are, it might appear that you owe double what you really do, and that will surely affect your score.
Student loans are the biggest culprit because they are sold and resold many times through their lifespan and mix-ups do happen. Collection accounts can be troublesome too. If it appears that your debt is listed twice, it’s eligible for a dispute.
Although you can petition to have the duplicate removed, the one that’s correct will stay until it must be removed by law.
The dispute process
Now that you know what you can dispute, you’re ready to jump in and do it. You have a couple of choices. The first is to go to one of the credit reporting agencies websites and use its online dispute form. It’s fast and easy, but you have to agree to an arbitration clause. That means you give up your option to argue your case in front of a jury if things don’t go your way. Which is why I recommend the second way. Dispute them by mail – as you do not have give up this right. It’s a little more laborious but for extra protection it’s a good idea.
Use the Federal Trade Commission’s letter as a guide. Send it to one of the credit reporting agencies: TransUnion, Experian, or Equifax
Oh, and you don’t have to notify all three credit reporting agencies. You can choose just one and it will alert the others:
P.O. Box 7404256
Atlanta, GA 30374-0256
P.O. Box 9701
Allen, TX 75013
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022-2000
However you file the dispute, the agency has 30 days to investigate. After that you’ll receive notice of the outcome, and hopefully it will be in your favor. The more proof you have that you’re in the right, the better. Some will be easy. Dates don’t lie, so if an item should have aged off six months ago, you’ll probably have no trouble. But if it’s a matter of a collection agency that says you still owe, you may have to provide a lot of supporting documents and really press the matter.
Why go to all that trouble to be in the 800 Club?
Credit scores that are 800 all the way to 850 are the best in class. Achieve it and it shows the business world that you are a credit master. It indicates that you’re an extremely low credit risk. When you are, the very best financial products will be available to you. Want credit cards with the most premium of rewards and loans with incredibly low interest rates? Join the 800 Club. And if that means making the effort to dispute everything that you can, do it. Just don’t try to remove something that must, by law, be there. Either fix the problem or wait it out.