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Fixing Credit Report Errors

Unfortunately credit reporting has become a very large part of everyone's lives. What is even more unfortunate is the number of errors that most credit reports contain. Tens of thousands, and probably more realistically, hundreds of thousands of credit reports contain errors every year. With that said, you would think the easy solution would be to make credit agencies and creditors more responsible for their actions. However, that solution probably would be way too easy for our great system to figure out so they would rather just continue to let companies fraudulently make claims on the incorrect person's credit, incorrectly list items with the credit bureaus or simply allow for no one to be held accountable for the millions of dollars credit report errors cost consumers every year. So if you do obtain a copy of your credit report, which you should do every year, and you notice some errors or inaccuracies reporting to your credit what should you do to fix your credit report errors? Read on to find out more about fixing credit report errors.

You have the right, under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, to dispute the completeness and accuracy of information in your credit file. When a credit reporting agency receives a dispute, it must reinvestigate and record the current status of the disputed items within a "reasonable period of time," unless it believes the dispute is "frivolous or irrelevant." If the credit reporting agency cannot verify a disputed item, it must delete it. If your report contains erroneous information, the credit reporting agency must correct it. If an item is incomplete, the credit reporting agency must complete it.

If you decide to fix errors on your report you should send in your proof to all 3 agencies. Don't expect an overnight fix.

Here are the names, addresses and Phone numbers for the Three major Credit Bureaus.

Equifax Credit Bureau
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta GA 30374-0241
(800) 685-1111

Experian (Formerly TRW Credit Bureau)
P.O. Box 949
Allen TX 75013-0949
(888) 397-3742

Trans Union Corporation (Credit Bureau)
Consumer Disclosure Center
P.O. Box 390
Springfield PA 19064-0390
(800) 916-8800
(800) 682-7654
(714) 680-7292

The FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) requires each of the 3 consumer credit reporting companies, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months. This is a new law that was imposed in December of 2004. It was started in phases depending on what state you lived in so that everyone would not overload the credit bureaus all at once. The law is not fully implemented throughout the nation. It is highly recommended that you should obtain a free credit report from each of the 3 main bureaus once per year to check for any errors or false information. You can obtain a free credit report by calling 1-877-322-8228, by completing the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mailing it to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281 or by visiting any of the 3 credit bureaus online. This free report will not provide a credit score for you but will be instrumental in providing you with the information that is contained in the credit report. This is the first step to fixing your credit report errors. Also, anytime that you apply for anything and are turned down for credit reasons they will provide you with a letter that explains how you can go about getting a free copy of the credit report used in the credit decision. Again this is the first step to correct errors on your credit report. The next step is to contact the credit burea(s) with the errors listed and ask them what needs to be done next and they will explain the necessary steps for you to take. You can also do this all online after you obtain your free annual credit reports. When obtaining your free annual credit reports it is best to do each report separately so that you are able to dispute erroneous information with each credit bureau properly and expeditiously. Consult your personal mortgage professional if you should need any further help with fixing credit errors.

Don’t Ignore the Problem. If you just hope the problem of errors on your credit history will disappear, then be prepared to wait a long time. Credit information can remain on your report for as long as seven years and up to ten years in cases of bankruptcy.

The credit agencies update every 30 days. If you Dispute an account on your credit report, the agency is obligated to respond to your request with in 30 days. With accurate proof of a faulty account, you will be able to remove that from your credit report

You can allowed a copy of your credit once a year from each credit bureau. Along with your credit report will be a dispute form.

If there is incorrect information on your credit report such as a payment that was reported late that should not have we will be able to correct the information within 3-5 days by going directly through the 3 major credit bureaus and get a rescore to reflect what your credit score should be.

If you are unable to spend the time to write the letters yourself then you might want to hire a credit repair company to do this for you. They will act on your behalf to write the necessary letters to the 3 credit bureaus. There are many companies to choose from these days and it might be in your best interest to consult with your Mortgage Broker as to which company will give you the best service.

The best thing to do to keep an eye on your credit report is to join a Credit Monitoring service such as they even provide a $1 trial for 2 months. You get all three credit reports with the scores included.

Often fixing the credit issues are simply too much for the average homeowner to handle. That's where I step in. Allow me to help you.

Improving your credit score can be as simple as spreading a large amount of debt on one credit card, over three or four different credit cards.

Prior to applying for a mortgage fixing all credit report errors will optimize your chances of obtaining the best financing terms available.

Some errors you believe are important to fix, will have no bearing on your refinance one way or the other.

If you find an error, the Fair Credit Reporting Act requires credit bureaus and organizations that provide information to them to correct the mistake. But you have to get the ball rolling by requesting an investigation.

It is very important when dealing with credit report problems to document everything. Document every conversation you have. Make sure you write down what you spoke about and who you spoke with.

It has been estimated that over 65 per cent of all credit reports contain errors. The key is to finding the errors on your report before you need to use the report to qualify for a mortgage or other important loan transaction.

If you are having issues with your credit and need help fixing credit report errors, or would like to know what you can do to improve your score, then do not hesitate to contact me.

It is critical when fixing errors in credit reports to first contact your loan officer and ask that a report be run calculating which items would result in the most improvement to your credit score if they were fixed. Do not pay off or attempt to fix anything before discussing the strategy with the loan officer and credit specialist, as paying for things like old collection accounts or contesting old accounts can actually reduce your fico score in the short run, jeopardizing your loan approval and potentially increasing your costs and monthly mortgage payments for your new program. Fix only the items specified in the strategy developed by the credit specialist and discussed with your loan officer, and your scores will increase, you will qualify for the program, and enjoy lower payments.

In response to consumer outcry regarding the discrepancies in credit scores from agency to agency, the three major credit agencies have created a uniform scoring system. The new system will mean that differences in credit scores are attributed to differences in the data each agency has in a consumers file, not in the way the agency generates the score.

Be very careful when dealing with collection agencies, as they often give factually incorrect information while attempting to collect money.

Most brokers work with someone that repairs credit, make sure to ask for a reference. Most credit Bureaus are offering mortgage brokers a program that will tell them how to improve you credit score quickly in order to get the borrower their desired loan.

Obtaining authorization signatures from a borrower can help you access the information you need to clear bad credit records.

Under The Fair Credit Reporting Act effective October 1, 1997, a credit reporting agency has 5 days from the date of receipt of a written investigation request to contact the appropriate credit grantor about investigation the complaint(s) and receive a reply back within 30 days of the original notification date. Within 5 business days after the completion of the investigation, the credit bureau (ie: Equifax, Transunion, Experian) must send a written report to the consumer with its findings with a copy of the revised report if there were any changes made.

If a credit bureau can not verify that a disputed item is correct as reported, it must modify or remove it from the consumers' file. If the tradeline confirms at a later date that the information was indeed correct, the credit bureau will add the information back into the consumers' file. It will notify the consumer in writing as to the changes, within 5 days of the change.

DO NOT expect information to be deleted just because a collection account or debt has been paid. Derogatory items will remain on your report for 7 years. The 7 year clock on a derogatory item falling off your report does not start until the item has been satisfied.

The consumer must write a letter of dispute regarding the erroneous information reported by a specific credit reporting agency. The letter must reference;
Your full name
Social Security number
The tradeline
Account numbers
Brief statement of what is incorrect.
Copies of supporting documents (if any)
The letter MUST be sent by overnight mail, with return receipt requested. This verifies when the 30 day clock starts ticking.

Always keep copies of everything you submit and receive from the three credit bureaus in case you need to re-submit them in the future.

If you decide to let a credit repair company do the work for you make sure you research them completely. Ask for past client references and check with your states better business bureau for any complaints filed against the company. It is also important that you receive a contract that says exactly what the company is offering to do and any dates the work is quoted to be done by.

When disputing questionable items in a credit report, always remember to dispute with all three major credit bureau agencies. When applying for a mortgage, all lenders look at items reported by all three credit bureaus.

Credit Bureau errors are very common. The important thing to remember is to check your reports regularly to keep them accurate.

Make sure to keep the "acknowledgment" letters that the bureaus send to you at about 2 weeks. There is a date they have officially acknowledged they received your letters in which the 30 days in the FCRA should start.

Rapid rescoring services are an effective, legitimate & growing sector of the consumer credit industry. The good news is that they work. But you can’t use these services directly. Companies that offer rapid rescoring work directly with mortgage lenders and brokers, not with consumers. If you are serious about fixing errors on your credit report, contact your mortgage broker or lender and talk to them about credit repair today.

The credit bureaus are not government run agencies, but are for profit, multi billion dollar industries that make money off of selling your personal information. It is proven that they make more money off of you with bad credit, rather than good credit, so don't believe everything that they tell you in results you receive back. Make sure to spend time, in detail, looking at your results and ensuring things like the date of verification have the current date. 50% of Transunion's verified accounts have old verification dates, which means they never investigated that account, yet put verified as a result anyway.

It is up to the consumer to keep a close watch on their credit. You are allotted one free report a year. But checking your credit once a year is not enough. Experts recommend that you check your credit report before you go out looking for a loan. That means before buying that car or refinancing your home. Also, just as a rule of thumb, you should check your credit at least twice a year in addition to the times listed above. If you are not shopping for any loans, it would still be wise to check your credit every four months. Be sure to utilize the one free report from each of the credit scoring bureaus.

If a creditor verifies a previously deleted item after the 30 day window, they can add it back on. A notice of this Reinsertion must be sent the consumer within 5 days.

The "30 day rule" is a credit repair myth and is not used by knowledgeable credit repair companies or consumers. This 30 day rule only causes reinsertions if not used properly. If the bureau is forced to delete an item at day 31, then most likely most of those accounts will reappear later, with proper reinsertion notification.

The very next line in the FCRA states that if the creditor or credit bureau verifies an account late, or after the 30 day timeline, they can simply add it back on.

Your credit picture is very important and should be kept up the entire time. Do not wait until the last minute (I.E. you want to apply for a mortgage next month). Credit repair is a process and you should allow appropriate time to remove items from the bureaus

Credit reporting is an imperfect system and there are times when you're credit is tainted and it's not your fault. Equifax, Experian, and Transunion don't always report the same information.


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