How to dispute an error with a creditor

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How to dispute an error with a creditor

By JENNIFER MICIELI

If you've found an error on your credit report, you can choose to either dispute it with the credit bureau or with the "data furnisher," the company that provided the information to the bureau (for things like your credit card information, this would be your creditor). Your data furnisher may allow disputes online, but since this can vary from company to company, we'll cover a step-by-step process for disputing via postal mail.

Get to the point.

Companies get letters with lots of venting in them, but if you want the process to go as quickly as possible, focus on the relevant details of the dispute so they can get right to it. Norm Magnuson, Vice President of Public Affairs at the Consumer Data Industry Association (CDIA), says, "Put that information at the top of the letter. The less they have to sift through, the faster your dispute can be resolved."

Also, if you're disputing multiple items, make sure that's really clear in your letter.

Know what to include.

The FTC has a sample dispute letter that you can use as a starting point but you'll need to modify it for your specific situation. Make sure to include the following items.

  • Identifying information - Include your full name and which account you're referring to.
  • The purpose of your dispute - Be clear about what you're disputing and why.
  • Copy of your credit report - Circle the error on your credit report and make copies of your report.
  • Documentation that supports your dispute - Send copies of original documents that can prove that you paid an account on time, such as your credit card statement. Or, for example, if the year that you opened a mortgage account is being incorrectly reported, find documentation that proves when you actually got the mortgage.

Find the right recipient.

You can usually send your dispute to an address designated for consumer complaints. There may also be contact information for the data furnisher listed on the credit report itself. If there isn't one you can find, you can contact the company to find out the best address to use. Make sure you keep a copy of all the information that you send, and send it by certified mail, marked "return receipt requested."

The company is required to investigate your dispute. If they refuse to correct your inaccurate information, you can take further action.

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.

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All Comments

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1 Contribution
17 People Helped

Helpful to 17 out of 17 people

I keep reading in your article "file a dispute"- how about providing an actual link to the credit report agencies so we can file a dispute letter-that would be hepfull.

I have paid off previous collection accounts for over 3 months yet the credit agencies are still reorting these as "open" accounts.

Top Contributor

Reply by
TeamCKJen

366 Contributions
641 People Helped
Helpful to 1 out of 11 people

You can dispute the status of those accounts. Here's an article that outlines the dispute process - https://www.creditkarma.com/article/dispute-credit-report-errors. 

Reply by
wmtbill

4 Contributions
23 People Helped
Helpful to 10 out of 11 people

YEA...THAT'S RTIGHT...WHERE IS THE LINK...ANYONE CAN GIVE ADVISE,,,BUT WHERE IS THE HELP!?

Reply by
soberjulz

5 Contributions
6 People Helped
Helpful to 4 out of 4 people

Seems to me all this person is doing to telling us things we ALREADY know for a so called expert then HELP US not send us on a wild goose chase , EXPERT AT BULL**** 

Reply by
droptheloan

2 Contributions
5 People Helped

It makes no sense whatsoever that creditkarma furnishes RESULTS of one's credit and information HOW to file a dispute on an errored account, but NOT the link OR further information such as addresses of the collection agency AND creditor!  Not having that capacity TO complete one's credit monitoring via creditkarma feels absolutely incomplete, inettective and just an annoyance although is supposed to be-and TO A DEGREE, IS- helpful. But without being unable to DO something about it asap via creditkarma feels like a pestiness and annoyance.

4 Contributions
23 People Helped

Helpful to 10 out of 10 people

Jennifer Micieli, CFP® is Credit Karma's Financial Expert???

YOU ARE NO HELP...AND YOU CALL YOURSELF A FINANCIAL EXPERT...ALL YOU HAVE PUBLISHED IS EVERYDAY KNOWLEDFGE...WHERE IS THE REAL HELP...THE DETAILED STEP BY STEP HELP PROCESS TO FILE A DISPUTE...WHERE IS THE DISPUTE FORM??? WHERE IS THE COVER LETTER?

WHERE IS THE HELP???

Reply by
droptheloan

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

I absolutely AGREE!!!!!!   Three of my debtors duplicate each other...one collection agency sent debt to another then to another. ALL three are listed on my report and the ONLY WAY to contact them was via mail-WHICH I DID but the mail was returned to me. Going to the three bureau's cost $. There must be a better way!!!

Reply by
soberjulz

5 Contributions
6 People Helped
Helpful to 1 out of 1 people

AMEN , AND THIS PERSON IS AN EXPERT AT WHAT ............... GIVE OF GAB 

1 Contribution
2 People Helped

Helpful to 2 out of 2 people

i agree" there is no help, people don't  have time to write letter to all credit bureau that take so long to resolve your issues.

there must be a better way

Reply by
soberjulz

5 Contributions
6 People Helped

THE ONLY WAY IS TO PAY SOMEONE GO FIGURE 

1 Contribution
2 People Helped

Helpful to 2 out of 3 people

How do I get my credit score changed if all my accounts are up to date and the creditor has not changed the reporting in several months?

Top Contributor

Reply by
TeamCKJen

366 Contributions
641 People Helped
Helpful to 1 out of 9 people

You can try disputing the errors by contacting the credit bureau. Here's an article about that - https://www.creditkarma.com/article/dispute-credit-report-errors. 

1 Contribution
0 People Helped

I need a link to dispute!

Credit Karma Team
Top Contributor
2949 Contributions
5283 People Helped
Helpful to 0 out of 2 people

Here's a link to a sample dispute letter that you can use: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0485-sample-letter-disputing-errors-your-credit-report-information-providers. You can use Google to find the contact information for the credit bureau of your choice. 

1 Contribution
0 People Helped

I have paid off my VISA & Lowe's account why have my credit report shown this & gone up

3 Contributions
3 People Helped

Helpful to 3 out of 6 people

There are (2) ways to resolve!!!! 1st., wait the 7yrs. , and it will drop off.. The best way is- you ready for this- just leave this stinking country!!!!

Reply by
soberjulz

5 Contributions
6 People Helped
Helpful to 1 out of 1 people

MY ONE IS OVER 7 YEARS AND IT IS STILL NOT OFF , UNLESS WE HIRE SOMEONE TO DO IT FOR US BUT THEN AGAIN WHO IS THERE TO HELP WITH OUT ASKING FOR THE ALMIGHTY BUCK 

1 Contribution
0 People Helped

On my credit information there is an address listed that I never lived at. I have never even been to that state. How do I fix that? 

1 Contribution
0 People Helped

This is just useless and extremly frustraing!!! You hint at having a way to help me by providing all these links that seem like I can solve the problem, and when I click the link you take me to a completely differn't page that has nothing to do with what I'm trying to do!!!!!!!

Credit Karma Team
Top Contributor
2949 Contributions
5283 People Helped

I'm sorry for your frustration. There is a bit of work involved in removing errors from your report. Please complete the sample dispute letter above and send it to a credit bureau to begin the process. 

2 Contributions
0 People Helped

How do you ge a bankruptcy off your credit report?  It is way past 7 years.

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