How to dispute an error on your credit report

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How to dispute an error on your credit report

By JENNIFER MICIELI

Are you one of the 35 percent of Americans who has never checked his or her credit report? If so, you could be missing a costly error.

 

According to @FTC, 1 in 4 people found credit report errors that could affect their scores. How to dispute errors: bit.ly/1NoFIcY [Tweet this]

 

A 2012 Federal Trade Commission (FTC) report discovered that about one in four Americans found at least one potentially significant error on at least one of their credit reports. While credit report errors aren't uncommon, what's most important is that you have a right to dispute the inaccurate information. Here are some important steps to consider when filing a dispute.

Step 1: Learn how to spot an error and what it could mean.

What is an error?

Simply put, an error is information on your credit report that shouldn't be there. This could be because it isn't yours, it's incorrectly reported or it's against the law to be listed. Common credit report errors can include:

  • Account-Related Errors
    • A late payment that's more than seven years old
    • Having a credit card or loan account listed that doesn't belong to you (or that you're not a co-signer or an authorized user on)
    • An account was closed by you, but it's listed as closed by the provider

  • Derogatory Mark Errors

    • A paid-off collections account is still showing as unpaid
    • A paid tax lien that is more than seven years past the date of payment
    • An account that was discharged in bankruptcy is still showing up as active with a balance (account history can still be reported)
  • Personal Information Errors
    • Wrong name listed
    • Addresses you've never lived at or used as a mailing address
    • Inaccurate employer information

*If your credit report is missing information, that doesn't necessarily mean there's an error because your information doesn't necessarily have to be reported to all of the credit bureaus or the latest changes to your credit haven't been reflected in your report yet due to normal processing times.

What effect can an error have?

Account-related and derogatory mark errors could affect your credit score, which could then affect whether you'll qualify for a financial product such as a credit card or loan and what terms you can get. Personal information errors typically don't affect your credit score, but they could alert you to a reporting issue -- or even fraud.

Step 2: Review your credit reports.

How are credit reports created?

Certain companies, including credit card issuers, loan providers and debt collection agencies, may choose to report your information to one or more credit bureaus. Credit bureaus collect that information and may also seek out court or other public records to put together the information that can be shown on your credit report.

The three national credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) can then share your credit report with you and with people or companies who have a legal reason to ask for it. Credit bureaus and data furnishers are subject to regulations, such as the Fair Credit Reporting Act, to ensure the data on your credit report is accurate.

How do you get your credit reports?

You are entitled to receive one free copy of your credit report from each of the three national credit bureaus each year at AnnualCreditReport.com. If you've already used up your free reports for the year, you can still gain access to them directly through the credit bureaus, but you'll likely have to pay a fee. You can also view your Equifax and TransUnion credit reports for free anytime through Credit Karma.

You may also be able to access an additional free report for the following reasons:

  • You're denied credit because of information on your credit report.
  • You're not working and want to apply for a job in the next 60 days.
  • You receive public welfare assistance.
  • You believe your report contains inaccurate information because of identity theft.

Once you have your reports, you should review them for errors. In some cases, an error may not be reflected on your reports from all three credit bureaus, so make sure to check each credit report carefully.

Step 3: Notice an error? Determine what you should do next.

You found an error on your credit report. What you do next may depend on the type of error. Is there an account or late payment that shouldn't be there? Have you talked about it with your credit card company or loan provider? If the error is easy to resolve by contacting your creditor directly, that might be all that's needed. If not, you can file a dispute.

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.

You can also dispute incorrect information with each credit bureau or directly with the data furnisher, or the company that provided the information to the bureau (though they don't have to investigate certain types of disputes). Here are some pros and cons to weigh when considering either option.

You could dispute with both the credit bureau and data furnisher, which could speed up the process. Also, if you're unsure of which method to use, filing a dispute online usually requires less documentation since your account information is more accessible.

Step 4: Follow up on your dispute.

When will my dispute be resolved?

The credit bureau and data furnisher are generally required to investigate your dispute within 30 to 45 days of receiving notification of the dispute and should notify you of the result.

"With the credit bureaus, about 70 percent of disputes are resolved within 14 days," says Norm Magnuson, vice president of public affairs at the Consumer Data Industry Association (CDIA).

How are disputes handled?

You filed your dispute with the credit bureau

If the error is related to your personal information, public records or inquiries, credit bureaus can look into the issue themselves. About 15 percent of the time, the credit bureau doesn't need to involve the data furnisher, Magnuson says. Otherwise, the bureau will send information about the potential inaccuracy to the data furnisher, or the company that provided the information, such as your credit card issuer or mortgage lender. The data furnisher will investigate the dispute and report back to the credit bureau. If your credit report is requested while a dispute is happening, the information involved in the dispute should be marked to reflect that.

You filed your dispute with the data furnisher

The data furnisher will investigate the dispute and report back to you. If your credit report is requested while a dispute is happening, the information involved in the dispute should be marked to reflect that when the furnisher sends their reporting updates to the bureaus.

What happens if your dispute results in a change?

Regardless of who you filed your dispute with, if the data furnisher is involved, they must update their records and notify the credit bureau of the change.

If you filed your dispute with the credit bureau, they have to include a free copy of your credit report if it was changed because of an investigation. Also, at your request, the credit bureau can send notices of corrections made to your credit report to anyone who received it in the last six months (two years for your places of employment).

What if you disagree with the result?

Once there's a decision on your dispute, you may agree or disagree with the result. If you disagree, there are more steps you can take.

Bottom line

It's important to dispute incorrect information on your credit report because it may have a significant impact on your credit health and financial future. In some cases, it's also one of the quickest ways to make an impact on your credit score. You can detect errors and address them faster by keeping an eye on your credit with Credit Karma.

About the Author: Jennifer Micieli, CFP® is Credit Karma's Financial Expert. She worked as a financial planner for five years before joining Credit Karma in 2014. Jennifer works with the content and product teams to help members learn how to better manage their finances.

Editorial Note: The opinions you read here come from our editorial team. While compensation may affect which companies we write about and products we review, our marketing partners don't review, approve or endorse our editorial content. Our content is accurate (to the best of our knowledge) when we initially post it, but we don't guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information provided. You can visit the company's website to get complete details about a product. See an error in an article? Use this form to report it to our editorial team. For questions about your Credit Karma account, please submit a help request to our support team.

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All Comments

Results 11-20 of 1927Results per page: 5 | 10 | 25Page 2 of 193   Previous | Next
1 Contribution
118 People Helped

Helpful to 118 out of 174 people

I need to dispute the public records that I have on my report.  Not sure what they are for please help.

Reply by
SANDIR1

2 Contributions
94 People Helped
Helpful to 94 out of 137 people

WELL I HAVE A PUBLIC RECORDS PROBLEM ON MY REPORT AND CALLED ALL OVER THE PLACE TO FIND OUT THAT IT WAS A $62 STATE INCOME TAX BILL THAT I HAD PAID AND THAT IT WILL STAY ON MY RECORD 7 YEARS FROM WHEN IT WAS PAID. SO IN DECEMBER IT WILL FINALLY BE TAKEN OFF. IT IS HARD TO FIND OUT THESE THINGS WITHOUT FOOTWORK

Reply by
bayleibug

2 Contributions
7 People Helped
Helpful to 5 out of 12 people

were you served papers to go nto court by the creditors/

Reply by
jillianleigh3

1 Contribution
21 People Helped
Helpful to 21 out of 34 people

i have a public record on my report and i never owed any money. it is still considered a bad mark, even though i never owen. the amount is $0 and it says paid. the number to call is disconected... help

Reply by
OklaChic3

1 Contribution
43 People Helped
Helpful to 43 out of 53 people

I paid off some doctors bills , they show their closed but their still on my account,, do i need to call them to get them removed completely? Also i have credit cards that i have paid off and closed in the past , that are still showing up, do i need to call and have them taken off or does it hurt my score with them still being there but closed and paid off? Thanks and God Bless

1 Contribution
94 People Helped

Dispute

Helpful to 94 out of 127 people

Where can I find a dispite form to have something removed from my credit file?

Please read the article above for information on how to dispute items on your credit report. All of our credit report information comes straight from your TransUnion credit report. Check your full credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com for more information.

Review by
CK Moderator

Reply by
proudmema

2 Contributions
56 People Helped
Helpful to 56 out of 81 people

In all the years I have been using credit cards and charge

accounts I only have one marked late.  That was SEARS

and the reason it was late I had a massive heart attack.

was in the hospital four times in five months and then was

sent to a skilled nursing facility for five months.  SEARS

waived the late charge but I don't feel it should effect my

credit score.

Reply by
fearful2008

2 Contributions
6 People Helped
Helpful to 6 out of 8 people

They're 2 things on my credit report that I have no idea where they came from and that is Verizon and T Mobile. I do not have accounts with these people and I do not owenthem money. I want these off my report immediately.  I am sick of getting errors on my report. Somebody is not paying enough attention to what they are doing. I lost my husband in 2009 and also my job so I do not work and am not old enough yet to get Social Security so how am I suppose to pay for something I don't have money for?  I think its unfair when you have to file bancruptcy when your spouse gets sick and dies but then when you get insurance money from the death you pay off thebancruptcy and still are penalized for soo many years. That is NOT right.... I could had just filed chapter 7/and not paid anything back.

Reply by
vlherrera

1 Contribution
4 People Helped
Helpful to 4 out of 8 people

there was a name that came out on my account and it's not me the spelled it Zelva that's not me.  So how can I find out what was Zelva being billed for

Reply by
Tibee

1 Contribution
2 People Helped
Helpful to 2 out of 5 people

Martin Memorial Hospital Foundation paid. Credit Company was suppose to talk with them.  I called the agency and gave them the information.

Reply by
BigDee40

1 Contribution
0 People Helped
Helpful to 0 out of 1 people

This is over seven years old and I asked to have it removed

1 Contribution
115 People Helped

Helpful to 115 out of 161 people

how can i dispute things on my credit  that has been paid for many many years ago and they are still there????

Reply by
pokedbear

8 Contributions
682 People Helped
Helpful to 124 out of 155 people

Just beginning to clean up my reports.  I don't know if it worked yet but I wrote to all 3 credit agencies and the revolving credit accounts in question that have been closed since 2004 or prior.  In my case a few are in "negative" sections of the report yet my records and even according to their status as well as the 81 month history show pays as agreed.  None of them show a balance due and all of them show that they were closed by either me or the "credit grantor" in 2004 or prior.  I requested that they all be removed from my report but if they can't be removed I wanted to know why.  Also, if I don't disputer why they can't be removed I am disputing their placement in the "Negative" sections of the reports.  We'll see what happens.  It is interesting to look at how all the "store" cards that I really thought I needed to have so many years ago and just plain old stopped using is hurting my credit.  Like I said, I don't use them and haven't used them in years.  I don't owe anything on them yet they count against me...even if I can't get them removed but do get them put in the "good standing"  or "closed accounts" sections.  Crazy!

Reply by
DefortHorton54

1 Contribution
35 People Helped
Helpful to 35 out of 48 people

i have things on my credit report an have know ideal what it is especially something in public record

Top Contributor

Reply by
jsimpson1249

68 Contributions
116 People Helped
Helpful to 10 out of 43 people

i jasmine simpson never stolen no one information from no one. they are taking mines. can you please tell me who is the persons and what they have on and what time and what day was it. can you please let the FBI know this. can you please remove it and flag it .can you please come pick up the persons and the vehicles and others stuff they have. thank you.
i jasmine simpson never had a loan to purchase for a home. i never in my life ever had a license. i never had no vehicles  if this persons have vehicles under me you need to get those vehicles back to the dealerships and the keys.if this person checks even school checks or thing else with my name on it you need to lock them up

Reply by
Genie66

8 Contributions
123 People Helped

After 5-7 years by law they have to come off your report. 

1 Contribution
1 Person Helped

Helpful to 1 out of 1 people

never did anything with them so how can they put anything on my report

1 Contribution
1 Person Helped

Helpful to 1 out of 1 people

I keep getting calls regarding a credit card I never applied for in 2001 0r 2002.  They keep insisting that I applied for this on the internet but I did not own a computer at that time and when the card was applied for I was in New York visiting my sister.  Evidently the card was used and payments were made on it for a while.  Now they are harrasing me for the balance left on the card.  I have finally gotten tired of the calls and I just do not answer the phone any longer. What can I do about them calling me constantly?

1 Contribution
4 People Helped

Helpful to 4 out of 4 people

Will a "charge off" by the credit issuer remain on my record forever?

Credit Karma Team
Top Contributor
2949 Contributions
5257 People Helped
Helpful to 2 out of 2 people

It will remain on your credit for seven years. 

1 Contribution
1 Person Helped

Helpful to 1 out of 1 people

Is there an easier way to dispute a hard inquiry?  It's too complicated that is why I can not dispute this bogus inquries that I have no knowledge of

3 Contributions
2 People Helped

Helpful to 1 out of 1 people

Im here in Florida and it is one of the largest debt buying and selling cespools in the world. I had a medical bill sold and re sold 5 times and re opened multiple times and registered as A BRAND NEW DEBT! LIKE I WENT AND BOUGHT SOMETHING YESTERDAY.......BORDERLINE CRIMINAL 

1 Contribution
3 People Helped

Helpful to 3 out of 3 people

I am hoping someone can help me with advice on what to do.  Out of three credit bureaus Transunion is the only one that does not list my mortgage and home equity loans even though my name is on the mortgage loans the same as my husband.  We are not only on time every month we are early but this doesn't show on MY credit report just his.  So I have a low score with Transunion because I don't have these accounts to add or prove my credit worthiness.  I called Transunion and they said my mortgage company doesn't report my name to them but then again why would they report to the other two and not to Transunion?  I'm going to call the mortgage company again but I really feel this is unfair credit reporting on someone's fault and I don't know what to do to get it changed.  Does anyone have any advice?

Top Contributor

Reply by
love14mr38

134 Contributions
170 People Helped
Helpful to 1 out of 1 people

Gabriellyn, though you and your husband is on the mortgage loan, The mortgage company may only use one of the credit bureau and not all three. I was on my husband  mortgagr loan, but the mortgage only used Equifax. They did not report to the other three. Creidt Karma is keeping track of all credit bureaus. The main office for all credit bureaus is located in Illinois and the name is FICO, but not open ot the public. This is where all credit information lies and the three bureaus send them information all people. There is a possibility you may not get it changred, but understand this from a widow, if your husband was deceased, then your name would be up front, but presently since he is alive only his is availabe for mointering.

2 Contributions
3 People Helped

Helpful to 3 out of 3 people

This is ridiculous that we would even have to go through all of this to dispute anything that is on our credit report that is incorrect & we should be allowed to also post a response to any disputed reports on our credit report as well. Plus if this claim made against us is not even ours, how are we suppose to produce documentation to prove that it is incorrect when we don't have any? 

Credit Karma Team
Top Contributor
2949 Contributions
5257 People Helped
Helpful to 2 out of 2 people

Hi feline911,

It can certainly be frustrating trying to correct errors made by the bureaus or creditors, but it is possible. You can add what is known as a "consumer statement" to your credit report as well. 

Top Contributor

Reply by
love14mr38

134 Contributions
170 People Helped
Helpful to 1 out of 1 people

Keep hounding them until they correct the information. I had to do likewise, but I ended up getting items notay rize and mailed with returned receipt requested and they corrected the mistakes on my credit reports. I had to filed an agreement with the Federal Trade comission also.

Results 11-20 of 1927Results per page: 5 | 10 | 25Page 2 of 193   Previous | Next

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