Remember, Credit Bureaus do not grant nor deny credit. They simply maintain and report your credit file as on record.
CREDIT REPORTS – What you should know
1. Get a copy of your Credit Report!
Under Federal Law, each and every person is entitled to one (1) free credit report each year from each of the credit reporting agencies. (See link at right) Additionally, some states provide that their citizens are entitled to a free copy of their credit report each year, in addition to the Federal Law granting the same. I urge you to check your own credit report with each of the three major credit reporting agencies at least once per year. Not all creditors report to all three credit reporting agencies. One may report only to Experian and another may report only to Equifax. Accordingly, it is entirely possible that your credit report will vary from one credit reporting agency to the next.
2. Review your Credit Report for Accuracy!
It is not unheard of to find errors on your credit report. Timely dispute any such error you discover, or other questionable matter, with each of the three respective credit reporting agencies. YOU MUST DISPUTE EACH ITEM WITH EACH RESPECTIVE CREDIT REPORTING AGENCY! Generally, the Credit Reporting Agency has thirty (30) days beginning the date the agency receives the dispute to reasonably investigate the matter. Extensions of the 30 days may be applicable in certain instances. Don’t bother with frivolous and repeated disputes of the same item. Credit Reporting Agencies are not required to re-investigate repetitive disputes relating to the same matter.
3. Contact the Creditor
If you feel they have made an error in submitting information about you to the credit reporting agency. Their contact information should be listed in the credit report. Follow up with a formal letter. Remember, you are trying to get them to do something helpful to you so be nice! Threats, cursing and the like will likely end up with little if any positive outcome.
4. What if the information you are disputing is investigated and deemed correct?
You can still add a “Note” to your credit report that will become a part of your credit report. Use this “Note” to provide information to potential creditors who might view your report in the future.
5. What if the information you are disputing is investigated and:
a) the creditor doesn’t respond to the reporting agency’s investigation?
Answer: The information should be removed by the credit reporting agency.
b) the creditor responds to the investigation that the information is accurate when it is not?
Answer: Provide the Credit Reporting Agency with documentation that the information is not accurate and “Note” the matter as discussed above.
6. What if the information in the Credit Reporting Agency’s file is wrong and they absolutely will not make changes to your credit report?
This is difficult. Most credit reporting agencies want to provide accurate and factual information in all of their files. However, occasionally, you may need some help. The answer to this question is better suited to being answered by the following:
Who can I sue…?
Persons should not engage in litigation unless all other remedies or possibilities of settlement have failed and there is no other recourse. If it gets to this point, you need an attorney.
BANKRUPTCY AND YOUR CREDIT REPORT
Bankruptcy will have an impact on and may remain on your credit report from 7 to 10 years depending on the type of bankruptcy. Also, Credit Reporting Agencies deal with this matter differently.