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To dispute a credit report error, send a letter to the credit reporting agency reporting the inaccurate information and tell it specifically what entries on the report you dispute. Ask the credit reporting agency to conduct an investigation to verify the entry, to remove the entry and if it does not remove it, to report it as disputed. When identifying the entry or entries that you dispute, be very specific, identifying the creditor/furnisher of the information and any account number associated with the entry. In your letter, you should also say exactly why you dispute the entry. For example, it reflects an account that you have never opened. Or perhaps it shows a balance on a credit card that you know was paid down months ago. Certain entries should be removed because they are too old, for example a debt that went into default more than 7 years ago and the creditor never got a court judgment on.
The Credit Reporting Agency has 30 days from receipt of your dispute letter to investigate your dispute, which is actually called a "reinvestigation" under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. If you send the CRA more information during this 30 day period, it then has an additional 15 days, making the total 45, to respond to your dispute. During this reinvestigation, the CRA sends your dispute to the furnisher of the information and asks it for a response. The CRA then makes its determination of how it is going to report that entry on your report. The CRA then reports back to you the results of its reinvestigation and typically sends you a new report showing how it is now reporting your information. If any information remains inaccurate, you have the right to have your statement included with the entry on the report if you send another letter requesting the CRA to include it. Below is a sample letter you can use to demand your consumer statement be included with any reporting that continues to be inaccurate after a reinvestigation.
If the CRA unreasonably continues to report inaccurate information after your dispute, you may have a claim under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. If you suffer any damages, economic loss or emotional distress, you may also be able to recover these losses. In the absence of actual damages, you may be able to recover an amount, not to exceed $1,000, as determined by a judge upon a successful lawsuit.
You can also send a dispute letter directly to the furnisher of the inaccurate information, following these same procedures. Do not rely on a dispute made only with the furnisher. Do this as an extra step, not in place of the dispute to the credit reporting agency.