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Florida Business Litigation & Insurance Coverage Law Blog

Monday, November 10, 2014

How to Dispute Incorrect Entries on Your Credit Report

Five Steps to Disputing Incorrect Entries on Your Credit Report

Having good credit is important.  But what happens if you find an incorrect entry on your credit report that should not be there? In this article, we'll take you step by step through what you should do to dispute the mistake in your credit report. Follow these instructions exactly, and you'll be in the best position to bring a claim should the credit reporting agency not properly remedy the mistake. 

But first, let us explain why it is so important to dispute improper entries on your credit report.  You undoubtedly know the practical reasons, including being denied credit for a house, a business loan, being denied a job, and other life-altering reasons. From a legal standpoint, however, most people do not realize that the damage from an improper denial is recoverable in court, including damages for emotional distress, humiliation, mental anguish, loss of reputation, invasion of privacy, fear of lost credit opportunities and others.  

One recent jury awarded an $18 million verdict to a consumer against Experian for improper credit reporting. Although these results are not typical, it does mean that common people like those jurors understand the frustration and damage that an improper credit report can cause a person. But, your losses are only recoverable if you follow the instructions below and properly dispute your credit report.  

1. Write a Dispute Letter to the Credit Reporting Agencies AND the Company that Reported the Error

The letter should clearly and concisely address the mistake on your credit report, explain why it is incorrect, and request that it be removed and corrected. Use this example of a dispute letter from the FTC's website as your template and enter your own information and facts. 

Address the letter to ALL of the credit reporting agencies as well as the company that sent in the error.  For example, if Comcast erroneously reported that you failed to pay a $75 bill, address the letter to all of the credit reporting agencies as well as Comcast.  The contact information for all three of the credit reporting agencies is at the end of this article.

2.  Include All Documents that Support Your Case

In the initial letter, include all documents that support your case. Include a copy of your last bill and a snapshot of your bank account or cashed check showing that the payment was made. If the bill was not yours, include a copy of your driver's license showing that the incorrect entry was for "John A. Smith" and you are "John B. Smith."  Essentially include anything that you think will help.  

3.  Keep Evidence of What You Send and Receive

You want to document everything you send and receive.  If you include a copy of your bank statement with your dispute letter, scan it and keep a copy somewhere for later. Include in the letter statements like "I'm attaching proof of payment for your review."  Ideally, send the letters via certified mail or some type of return receipt.  If you can get an email contact to send the letters, send your documents by email as well.  An online trail is the best proof that you've been disputing properly.  

4.  Be Persistent

Chances are that your dispute will not be resolved immediately.  If your dispute is reviewed and denied, but you know the information on the report is inaccurate, don't give up.  Send another letter. Then another. And send an email, and make a call, document every time you contact them.  The more egregious their denial of your request to correct the problem is, the more damages will be awarded against them in the end. 

5.  Send Your Dispute to All Three of the Credit Reporting Agencies

The three main credit reporting agencies are Equifax, Experian, and Transunion.  Address your letters to all of them. Their contact information is below.  If there is another credit reporting agency that you know is improperly reporting entries, make sure to send your dispute to them as well. 

Equifax 

Complete this form, attach your dispute letter, and mail to: 

Equifax Information Services LLC
P.O. Box 740256
Atlanta, GA 30374

Online - Also, you can dispute online here: Equifax Online Dispute Form 

Experian

Mailing address: 

Experian
P.O. Box 4500
Allen, TX 75013

Online - To dispute online, click here: Experian Online Dispute

Transunion

Complete this form, attach your dispute letter, and mail to: 

TransUnion Consumer Solutions
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022-2000 

Online - To dispute online, click here: Transunion Online Dispute 

 

 




The Davis Law Firm is located in Jacksonville, Florida and serves clients throughout the states of Florida and Georgia, including Jacksonville, Miami, Pensacola, Orlando, Tampa, St. Petersburg, St. Augustine, Fort Myers, Daytona Beach, Panama City, Destin, Melbourne, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Tallahassee, the Florida Keys, and everywhere in between.



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