The laws are in place that allow for anyone to dispute their own credit. You have that right but do you know what to do with it?
The average person has so little understanding about how the credit reporting process works that they become ineffective at working through the red tape to get results. The simple truth is you CAN just write a letter to the bureaus challenging ANYTHING on the report. The key is knowing what to challenge and how to challenge it. The bureaus get paid for each account reporting and they will fight to keep them. They have a plethora of template letters designed to stall, intimidate and even scare people away from these disputes.
Still, its your right so what should you do?
The first thing you need to do is read the “Fair Credit Reporting Act” (FCRA) and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). These 2 are paramount in formatting a proper dispute that will have the appropriate ammo to warrant attention. You will want to pay attention to particular aspects of each account and a possible avenue to challenge. For example, maybe one of the creditors has been harassing you and leaving intimidating messages etc.. You would want to look closely at the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act as this will have the rules for that type of engagement.
Also, each account on your report should be accurate. It is very likely that one or more differences exist on any account between one or more of the bureaus. I have found that they report conflicting information frequently.
You are looking for mistakes, outdated information, conflicting information etc. These are the basis for your dispute. Once you have this you format a written dispute to submit to each bureau individually. Your letter should include you name, current address, date of birth and last 4 of social to authenticate you. The bureaus make it easy to submit these disputes electronically but I advise against this. It waives your rights to due process by mail within 30 days. This is part of your ammo for forcing the removal of these items. The bureaus never get anything done quickly. Mail in your disputes.
If you have done your homework and have a clear idea what you are disputing and why, your disputes will deserve attention but don’t get too discouraged when that doesn’t get the desired response. Most disputes will end with a template letter (or none at all) that has nothing to do with the specifics of your dispute. You have to be persistent and stand on the laws provided and demand action. You have to be able to state your case clearly, in writing, and be able to follow up on the bureaus lack of responses with aggressive intention. It takes research and lots of time…for the research and the follow up responses. If you are prepared to put forth the effort you CAN get the results yourself.
However, some things are better left to a professional. I used to change my own oil and brakes. Changing a head gasket didn’t intimidate me. But with todays computers I won’t touch anything under my hood. I could do some serious damage tinkering.
Your credit profile is very important and should be protected. The bureaus will do anything to cause you to validate these items and let them off the hook! They make that very easy! Getting results takes work WITHOUT these mistakes. If you are not 100% confident in what you are doing or don’t have the time to stay on top of this don’t attempt it yourself. Improper methods can cause the items to be flagged and all future disputes to be considered frivolous.
Good luck! Remember, read all the appropriate laws, format a clear dispute for each item and stay on top of it. If you would rather have a professional take the ball give us a call at (888) 514-5460.