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4 Steps To Take In Correcting Credit Report Errors
If your fate would be decided by a set of information about you that is collected by someone else, how stupid will it be if the information negatively impacts you with inaccuracy and errors?
It would be like getting your water turned off even though you have been diligently paying off the bills. You would have become the innocent victim due to other party’s inadequacies.
The same can happen to your credit report. The same report that can potentially screw up your life big time.
And this report is tabulated by third parties who make it so simple to draw up a picture of you but makes it so difficult challenge.
This report is one that can find you guilty until you can prove yourself innocent. And you will find multiple barriers for you to collect evidence to proof your innocence.
Even when you have everything you believe will prove your case, you will still be at it’s mercy as you cannot force them to take action.
You might find this ludicrous, but that is the way it goes.
If you are one of those who believes that big corporations cannot make mistakes and everything they say should be taken literally, it might shock you to learn that errors in credit reports are common occurrences.
So much so that a research conducted by the Public interest Research Group found that at least 25% of credit reports contained errors so serious they could result in denial of credit facilities.
That is astonishing indeed.
Can you just imagine the suffocating feeling of injustice should you be a victim of these grave errors?
You won’t be able to get a mortgage to buy your dream house, you won’t be able to obtain a business loan to operate your business efficiently, you won’t even have the luxury to use a credit card in retail store and have to pay for a 3-carat engagement ring in cash.
It’s a good thing that you can file for these errors to be corrected easily. But for action to be taken on these corrections can be another matter altogether as this lady found out.
First you have to get a copy of your credit report and look out for errors.
Then the first item to check is your name, address, date of birth and social security number. Because there can be people who have the same name as you, these information will help determine if you have indeed obtained the correct report belonging to you.
Next, check all the accounts listed to ensure that they match up with what you really have. There should be no reason for double entries. Additional or missing accounts should be investigated.
Late payments adversely affect credit. So you should also check whether late payments have been wrongly recorded when you were not late.
Finally, other information like debt settlements, bankruptcy records, etc, should be properly updated.
There are many reasons why errors can happen.
It can be a case of mistaken identity where you are being confused as someone else, administrative errors where a clerk keyed your social security number wrongly, miscommunication where the lender makes a mistake when reporting to the credit bureau, typo errors from any party, or the simply due to the use of informational systems that are not up to scratch in organizing data.
When you do indeed find errors in your credit report, here are 4 steps you can take to rectify it.
Contact the credit bureaus to find contact information regarding disputes.
The big 3 bureaus are Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.
You should then be guided on the procedure you have to follow to correct the errors.
Send the required documents to the address you obtained in step 1.
The package you send over should contain any copy of documents that you feel is enough to verify the errors.
For example, if a particular card or mortgage shows a late payment, photocopy of your account statement showing the payment transactions before the due dates.
Also include a copy of your credit report underlining where the errors are.
You might also want to check with the bureau if you are required to send in a photo ID for authentication purposes.
Put your complaint in writing. This provides documented proof that you have made your request.
For some reason, this is the only method that organizations acknowledge receipt of request and instructions.
To ensure that you have a record that your package have been received by the recipient, you might want to send it via registered mail.
This is so that there is no doubt that you submitted your request on a specific date and it was received by the organization.
After which you should be able to see investigative action being taken within 30 days.
To prevent constant time-wasting communication that delays the whole process, you should include all these details in your complaint letter.
Full name, social security number, residential address, date of birth, name of the creditor in question, account number involved, specifics of why you are disputing, summary of evidence you have to prove your case, signature, and date.
If you have had experience dealing with big organizations you would know that sometimes it can take 2 or 3 days just to get a reply from an email.
It will already take up a whole week if you have 2 or 3 of those delays. And you will never be able to get the direct line of the officer who is handling your complaint.
So you want to help streamline the process as much as in your power to help them help you.
As mentioned previously, getting information edited in a credit report is a very challenging task.
There is always a chance that you do not get your way even after providing all the documentation you believe will proof your case.
If the error will cause just a temporary setback, it could be more worthwhile to let it slide.
But if it is an error that will cause permanent damage as long as it stays uncorrected in the report, you must consider taking the case to the authorities.