There are two kinds of subscribers that furnish information about you to a credit bureau.

Credit Grantors (banks, finance companies, etc.) are the businesses that lend you the money. Credit Users (car dealers, mortgage brokers, etc.) use the credit report to qualify you for a loan from the Credit Grantors.

Credit Grantors are the only ones that are supposed to report the information about you in your personal credit report. However, “Instant Update,” a subscription service available to reporting agencies, makes it possible for any subscriber to report negative or unverified information about you in your credit report.

Credit bureaus are required to maintain maximum accuracy with regard to the information they report. The only time data in your credit report will be verified is if you dispute an item in the report. Once an item is disputed, it is up to the credit bureau to prove that the information is correct.

It should be noted that credit bureaus are interested in selling as many reports as possible. They know each time a consumer is denied credit, the consumer will most likely apply somewhere else and the credit bureau will be paid again for selling the same information, even if it is inaccurate.

Finding Out About Your Credit
It is recommended that consumers review their credit report for missing or inaccurate information once a year or before making a large purchase. You should immediately contact and inform the credit agencies of any discrepancies found in your credit report. The following are some guidelines to help you:
Request a copy of your credit report from each of the major credit agencies and specifically ask for your credit score. Make sure that you include your full name, birth date, social security number, current address, previous addresses for the last five years, and a copy of identification with your current address. Send all information via certified mail, return receipt requested, and if you do not receive the report within two weeks, send a follow-up letter along with the date  you sent your information.

The major credit agencies are:
Experian
(888) 397-3742
PO Box 2104
Allen, TX
75013-2104
TransUnion
(800) 916-8800
PO Box 2000
Chester, PA
19022
Equifax
(800) 685-1111
PO Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374

Analyze the reports closely when you receive them to make sure that they are accurate. Verify that each account listed is yours and check the account number, status, balance, pay history, all dates, the spelling of your name, and the number of late payments.

Write a letter to the credit agency describing the inaccuracies and inconsistencies. Do not lie. If there is something inaccurate, say so. If you are not certain, let them know. Send the letter via certified mail, return receipt

requested.

Clearly state what you want the credit agency to do. If you want an item removed, tell them. If you request your report from more than one agency, compare them.

Do not give up if you do not receive the desired response with your first attempt. Keep trying and send a follow-up letter with the information you first sent and the signed certified mail receipt. If you receive a response that they refuse to research your claim on the grounds that it is “frivolous” or “irrelevant” pursuant to Section 611 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and if you feel strongly enough about the inaccurate information, you may wish to seek the advice of a lawyer. You should advise the credit agency of your intent to do so.

Keep complete and accurate records. Track all correspondence and if no response is received within 60 days of each communication, send additional requests. Maintain copies of all documentation sent and attach signed return receipt notices to them.

Patience and persistence are the keys to successfully improving and correcting your credit report.

When you dispute something on your credit report you are entitled to information regarding the verification. You are entitled to know who verified the information, and the phone number and address of that person. If the credit agency does not provide the information regarding who provided them with verification, write them again and ask them to provide the information to you.

Do not forget to send your request via certified mail, return receipt requested. Once you receive the information, you should contact the person who verified the information and ask them to send you documentation that proved the reporting, such as account history, statements, copies of judgments, etc. If they refuse to comply with your request or if they fail to provide the information within a reasonable time frame, put your request in writing and send it via certified mail, return receipt requested. Ask for the supporting documents or the deletion of the inaccurate information. Send a certified copy of your request to the credit agency. If they fail to provide the requested information within 60 days of your request, send a new request to the credit agency to remove the information based upon the creditor’s failure to provide proof of the inaccurate information, and request that they send you a copy of the corrected report. If the creditor supplies the documentation, review it for any inconsistencies, inaccuracies or mistakes. Follow the basic guidelines for disputing an item on a credit report until you achieve the desired result.

DMCC is a 501 (c)3 nonprofit organization committed to educating consumers on financial issues and providing personal assistance to consumers who have become overextended with debt.  Education is provided free of charge to consumers, as well as personal counseling to identify the best options for the repayment of their debt. To speak to a certified credit counselor, call toll-free 866-618-3328 or email contact@dmcconline.org. DMCC is located at 3310 N. Federal Highway, Lighthouse Point, FL 33064.