Correcting Inaccuracies

  • 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.
    • If your report contains inaccurate information, the CRA must correct it.
    • If an item is incomplete, the CRA must complete it. For example, if your file showed that you were late making payments, but failed to show that you were no longer past due, the CRA must show that your payments are now current.
    • If your file shows an account that belongs to another person, the CRA must delete it.

  • 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 it again.

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.

You 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
(800) 685-1111
PO Box 949
Allen, TX 75013
(888) EXPERIAN (397-3742)
Trans Union
PO Box 390
Springfield, PA 19064-0390
(800) 916-8800

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, if this letter does not get you the desired response.

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The Credit Industry

The Inaccuracies in Credit Reports

The Fair Credit Reporting Act * FCRA

The steps required to restoring your good credit

Getting a copy of your credit report

Review Your Credit Report for Inaccuracies

Correcting Inaccuracies

Collection Agencies and your credit file

How to settle a debt and negotiate a settlement

Negotiating your credit rating

Building New Credit

Dealing With Debt

Credit Scores

Sample Letters

Credit Monitoring

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