What to do if your credit dispute didn’t work

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Credit Karma’s Direct Dispute™ feature is temporarily unavailable. To learn about other ways to dispute credit report errors, read our how-to guide.

If you took the time and effort to dispute an error on your credit report, but it didn’t result in a corrected report, don’t be discouraged — you still have other options. Let’s explore some of the main ones.

Could the error not actually be an error?

It could be possible that what you’d like to see reflected on your report and what data furnishers and credit bureaus are required to — or have a right to show– don’t align. In Step 1 of our “How to Dispute an Error on Your Credit Report” article, we share some examples of potential errors.

If you’re concerned about negative information on your credit report, the good news is that in many cases those items can have less impact over time before they fall off completely, usually after seven or ten years (depending on what the issue is). Hard inquiries usually come off your report within two years.

Have you contacted both the credit bureau and the data furnisher?

When your dispute investigation was completed, you should’ve received a summary of what was decided and why. If you previously contacted the credit bureau, but the disputed information came from someone else, like your bank or credit card company, then it may be worth it to contact the company that reported the information directly to see if you can sort out the issue.

If you previously contacted the data furnisher, but the disputed information didn’t come from them, then the data furnisher may not have to investigate the dispute. It may be worth it to contact the credit bureau instead to make sure your dispute is handled correctly.

If you’re a Credit Karma member, you can dispute an error on your TransUnion credit report through our Direct Dispute™ tool. Here are instructions on how to do that.

Still not satisfied with how your dispute was addressed?

Do you want to add information about your dispute to your credit report?

If your dispute was filed through a credit bureau, you can provide a brief statement summarizing your dispute that will be included with your credit report (not an option if you disputed directly with a data furnisher). This can help explain what happened even if the dispute didn’t go in your favor.

Did your dispute take too long? Were you not treated well during the process? Is there still a valid error on your report that is hurting your credit?

Another step you can take is to file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), your state’s Department of Consumer Affairs or your state’s Attorney General’s office.

If you decide to file a complaint, it’s important to explain what happened as fully as you can. Is it a problem with the way your dispute was handled? Is it an underlying account issue with the company that reported the information to the credit bureau? The CFPB has an online option for filing a complaint that lets you file different forms depending on the type of product or service you’re having concerns with. They’ll forward your complaint to the company you identify and will keep you updated on responses from the company.

Are you considering credit repair companies?

Be wary of possible credit repair scams that promise fixes they can’t actually deliver on. You might be feeling very frustrated and be tempted by the quick fix they’re trying to sell you, but be careful about letting someone else take advantage of your frustration. Repairing your credit can take time. Taking the initiative to work on your own credit health could save you from more frustration and effort in the long run.