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Checking Your Credit Report

Credit reports are free to anyone denied credit, insurance, or employment within 60 days of receiving a denial notice. Otherwise, a credit bureau can charge you up to $8.00 for a copy of your report. You can request your credit report from the three national credit bureaus.

Disputing your Report

By law, both the credit bureau and the organization that provided the information to the credit bureau have legal responsibilities for correcting inaccurate or incomplete information in your report. To protect your rights under the law, contact both the credit bureau and the information provider.

Tell the credit bureau, in writing what information you believe is inaccurate. Include: your complete name and address, identify each item in your report you dispute, state the facts and explain why your dispute the information, request a deletion or correction, and send copies (NOT originals) of documents that support your position. Send your letter by certified mail, return receipt requested and keep copies of your dispute letter and any supporting documentation.

The credit bureau must then investigate the disputed items unless they consider your dispute to be frivolous. The credit bureau then forwards the information that you provided to the information provider. The information provider must then investigate its files and review all relevant information provided by the credit bureau. If the information provider finds the information to be inaccurate, it must notify all nationwide credit bureaus so they can correct this information.

Possible Consequences of Dispute

  • Disputed information that cannot be verified must be deleted from your file.
  • If your report contains erroneous information, the credit bureau must correct it.
  • If an item is incomplete, they must complete it.
  • If your file shows an account that belongs to another person, they must delete it.

Also, upon completion of the investigations, the credit bureau must give you written results and a free copy of your report if the dispute results in a change.

Tell the information provider/creditor in writing that you dispute an item and include copies (NOT the originals) of documents that support your position.

Generally, accurate negative information stays on your report for 7 years, except for: bankruptcy (10 years) and in cases for application for more than $150,000 (no limit).

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