Credit Report Disputes Credit Score

What Items Can I Dispute On My Credit Report?

If these time frames have run and they’re still haunting your reports, you can use the dispute system to nudge them off.

Duplicate information

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:

Equifax
P.O. Box 7404256
Atlanta, GA 30374-0256

Experian
Dispute Department
P.O. Box 9701
Allen, TX 75013

TransUnion
Consumer Solutions
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.

About the author

Erica Sandberg

Erica Sandberg

Erica Sandberg is a freelance editor at large, reporter, and advice columnist covering all things fundamental finance. She’s been KRON-TV’s on-air money and credit expert for over 15 years, and has appeared on virtually every national news show, from Fox to CNN. She hosts Making it with Erica, a video program highlighting ways to live adventurously on any budget.

3 Comments

  • I have been working on my credit report over 7 months now and I am so frustrated at the way its going. Before I started my score was over 620, after I started fixing problems the score dropped down 100 points,,,what’s up with that! I had collections on my report and recently made an agreement of payment with two of them for a payoff and supposed to be taken off my credit report. One account seems to be lost in space, after talking to at least 6 different people, no one can tell me where the account is or went but it still shows on my credit report. I have disputed some of the collections but the creditor does not agree, and I evidently still owe for a bogus charge, especially for a medical bill I do not owe. I have just reported a company to the CFPA for fraudulent charges and victimizing me while taking my rights as a citizen and a consumer, an investigation is going on for the company as well as Equifax and Experian, while Transunion should have also been investigated for allowing a false report on my credit. I am getting an attorney and hopefully someone is going to get sued for causing my integrity and rights to be damaged.
    I am 77 years old and trying to buy a house to live in, while my credit score given, is causing me to be unable to have a place to live. This is wrong and Unconstitutional in this country. My rights have become whatever the credit bureau decides and it does nothing but keep me down along with millions of other people. I will fight this problem as long as I am breathing, hopefully more people will do the same and someone with integrity will step forward.

    • Rule #1 Never talk to a collection agency on the phone. GET IT IN WRITING.
      Rule #2 All communications is written. This is proof of what is agreed too. Everything you want must be in writing. Just because they say their will remove something from a credit report does not mean they will unless you have it in writing. Make sure they agree to not use another classification to screw up your credit report. They say they will remove one thing but they will add another. They are tricky that way.
      Rule #3 Make sure you understand the law. FDCPA, FCRA, Statute of Limitations for the state the debt created in and don’t forget to check state laws for credit reporting, etc.

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