Equifax, Experian and TransUnion are the three major consumer credit reporting companies responsible for collecting and encoding information – such as employment history, payment history, addresses, liens, judgments, and debts – on most credit holders across the nation.
As large and systematic as these credit reporting companies are, there may be instances where they make errors, which in turn could unnecessarily lower an individual’s credit rating. Anyone who notices a discrepancy in his/her reports can choose to dispute such an item by requesting that the companies review the dubious entries.
The first step an individual needs to take is to request a credit report from all three companies. According to the Federal Trade Commission, every individual is entitled to one free report (from all three agencies) per year.
Obtaining these documents online should be done through annualcreditreport.com. It’s the only portal with legal authorization to send these reports. Alternatively, these documents may be obtained by calling the companies, or mailing them an annual credit report request form (available at annualcreditreport.com).
Upon receiving the report, consumers are advised to thoroughly examine every detail, while paying special attention to items such as fraudulent accounts, expired records, and data errors.
Once legitimate errors have been detected, the credit reporting agencies should be contacted immediately. While filing a dispute online is a convenient option, credit repair specialists recommend making the complaint in writing, and sending it through registered mail. It would also be helpful to get a return receipt, just to be sure that the letter is successfully delivered.
Moreover, the report should be sent with the letter of dispute. Complainants should also highlight the erroneous details in the report. Supporting documentation should also be included.
When experiencing confusion on how to go about the entire process, a good credit repair specialist can help ensure that all inaccurate details are identified, and that ample documentation is included to substantiate every disputed item highlighted by their clients.