Many people are not aware that their credit reports could contain false information that could lower their credit scores. Credit reports listed with any credit bureau, including well-known as Equifax, Transunion and Experian, can be at risk.
Credit reporting agencies, or CRAs, are not infallible; and anything from identity theft to illegitimate accounts, and more, can make their way into your credit reports and generate lower credit scores. As a result, you could be denied any type of loan; you could be subjected to higher interest rates; you could be denied job opportunities – the list goes on. The bottom line is, if your credit score has been unknowingly lowered due to inaccurate information on your credit reports, you need to take action, as quickly as possible.
A sobering statistic comes from a 2012 report from the Federal Trade Commission: almost 25% of Americans discovered at least one problematic error on at least one of their credit reports. It is imperative you obtain a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major CRAs. Go to: www.annualcreditreport.com.
The Dispute Process
The Fair Credit Reporting Act was enacted by the Federal Government to offer protection against false information on credit reports. If you believe you have errors on any of your credit reports, you must act quickly.
Handling Disputes with CRAs
Errors on any of your credit reports could be in the form of incomplete data, outdated information that should have been updated, credit card accounts that were not opened by you, etc. You have the legal right to dispute any errors with one or more CRAs. The dispute process follows certain protocol:
*** Send a dispute letter to the CRA. A sample of this letter can be found in the FORMS and RESOURCES section of my website.
*** The dispute letter must include full identifying information concerning yourself and account details. Include your first, middle and last name as well as account number(s), social security and driver's license numbers, and any appropriate documentation.
*** The dispute letter would need to be sent by certified mail, with 'return receipt requested'.
Disputes can, also, be handled online. Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion provide online options for dispute claims; or, disputes can be handled by phone or mail. When dealing with a CRA, be aware that delays are possible since the CRA may need to contact data furnishers to verify disputed information; and the furnishers would, then, need time to get back with the CRAs.
THE CRA must do its own investigation and not merely rely on what the furnisher says, further more they are required by law to consider every document that was included with the dispute.
While you are certainly free to do your own disputes, in the event of an inaccurate item on your credit report, I actually prefer to handle the dispute for you. I know what to say, where to send it, what documents to include. All letters are sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, and on my letterhead.
If CRAs do not provide a satisfactory reinvestigation, you would want to consider pursuing a cause-of-action against the CRA, as you may have a claim, as stipulated in the Fair Credit Reporting Act.Call me now for a free consultation.
Call Today for a Free Consultation
If you have information on one or more credit reports that you believe to be false, call James Foley today. We will provide a complimentary credit consultation as well as a free credit-report review. If any discrepancies are found, I may be able to dispute them as well as bring a possible suit against the CRAs and/or furnishers.
James Foley PLLC ~ 817-738-1633 ~ Fort Worth, Texas