First, tell the CRA in writing
what information you believe is inaccurate. Include copies (not originals)
of documents that support your position. In addition to providing your
complete name and address, your letter should clearly identify each item in
your report you dispute, and request deletion or correction. You may want to enclose a
copy of your report with the items in question circled. Your letter may look
something like the one below. Send your letter by certified mail, return
receipt requested, so you can document what the CRA received. Keep copies of
your dispute letter and enclosures. CRAs must reinvestigate
the items in question within 30 days, unless they consider your dispute
frivolous. It is very important that each questionable item is dealt with individually. If you attempt to have the credit reporting agency correct several items, or even all items, at once, it will be easier for the agency to claim that your request is frivolous or irrelevant.
They also must forward
all relevant data you provide about the dispute to the information provider.
After the information provider receives notice of a dispute from the CRA, it
must investigate, review all relevant information provided by the CRA, and
report the results to the CRA. If the information provider finds the
disputed information to be inaccurate, it must notify all nationwide CRAs so
that they can correct this information in your file.
- Disputed information that cannot be
verified must be deleted from your file.
When the reinvestigation
is complete, the CRA must give you the written results and a free copy of
your report if the dispute results in a change. If an item is changed or
removed, the CRA cannot put the disputed information back in your file
unless the information provider verifies its accuracy and completeness, and
the CRA gives you a written notice of its intent to reinsert the items that
includes the name, address, and phone number of the provider.
If you request, the CRA
must send notices of any correction to anyone who received your report in
the past six months. You can have a corrected copy of your report sent to
anyone who received a copy during the past two years for employment
purposes. If a reinvestigation does not resolve your dispute, ask the CRA to
include your statement of the dispute in your file and in future reports.
In addition to writing to
the CRA, you should tell the creditor or other information provider
in writing that you dispute an item. Be sure to include copies (not
originals) of documents that support your position. Many providers specify
an address for disputes. If the provider continues to report the disputed
item to any CRA after receiving your notice, it must include a notice that
you dispute the item. If you are correct—that is, if the information is
not accurate—the information provider may not report
The specific law
regarding disputes is found in US Code, Title 15, Chapter 41, Subchapter III, Section 1681i, entitled
Procedure in case of disputed accuracy.
now need to write a letter to each credit reporting agency, requesting an investigation to verify the status of the most damaging item reported by any of the agencies, and asking that they correct the information.
Make sure your letter has a clear statement that the accuracy or completeness of specific information is "disputed" or "challenged",
otherwise your letter might not be construed as an exercise of rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
A sample letter is on the bottom of the page.
Note the addresses to which the credit reports direct you for disputes. They will not be the same as the addresses you used to obtain the credit report.
PO Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
PO Box 949
Allen, TX 75013
(888) EXPERIAN (397-3742)
PO Box 390
Springfield, PA 19064-0390
Follow the format in the sample letter, and send it in. Send it registered, return-receipt requested. Be sure to keep a copy of the letter for your records, the post office cash receipt, the registered mail receipt, as well as the return receipt, when you receive it. They will serve as your proof of mailing.
Within 10 to 30 days you will receive a letter from each credit reporting agency telling you that they are investigating your dispute. Within another 10 to 30 days, you should receive an updated credit report, indicating that the disputed item has been removed.
As soon as a credit reporting agency provides you with an updated credit report showing that the item has been deleted, you should send another dispute letter, in regards to the next most damaging item.
Repeat this process, until each and every questionable item has been deleted.
In some cases, the credit reporting agencies are slow to respond to your dispute. If this should occur, you may choose to write another letter, strongly reminding the credit bureau of their
obligations under the law. You may follow the format in the Follow up sample Letter and be sure to again send it registered, return-receipt requested. Again, retain a copy of the letter, all the receipts, as well as the return receipt when you receive it.
Should the credit reporting agencies
ignore that letter, you may follow the format in the Complaint Letter, but tailor it specifically to the
your circumstances and be prepared to contact the FTC to file your formal complaint,
this letter does not get you the desired response.
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