Saturday, June 20, 2009

What steps to take before disputing a credit error?

Credit scores and reports continue to be one of the most important factors in determining whether consumers are extended lines of credit, and the amount they are offered. Credit reports provide lenders with a consumer’s credit history, including missed or late payments. Consumers concerned about errors in their credit reports should contact the three major credit bureaus to dispute the inaccuracies.


  • Not all lenders report to the three major credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – which means a mistake could appear on one, two, or all three reports. Rather than calling or mailing a dispute letter to one central agency, the errors must be disputed separately with each bureau. Consumers may obtain free copies of their credit reports once a year at This report will only show credit history, and not credit scores. To obtain a credit score, consumers can visit
  • To dispute an error, consumers first should contact the lender that reported the information to the credit bureaus. Next, contact the credit bureaus using the numbers listed on the credit reports. This also can be done online at,, or If the report is more than 60 days old, consumers should obtain a new report, which may have a new phone number. Also, if the report was obtained from a third-party site rather than directly from the credit bureau, consumers may have to order a report from the bureau to begin the dispute process.
  • Bureaus typically have 30 to 45 days to “resolve” disputes. If it’s a simple factual error that is acknowledged by the lender, it could take as little as two weeks. Either way, consumers are notified of the bureau’s decision via regular mail or e-mail.

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