Learning and Remedying Common Credit Report Errors

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While you may do all you can to improve your credit score, errors may drag it down and dampen your efforts. Coast Tradelines wants to help educate you on common credit score errors and how to respond to them. A single mistake may persist and harm your score for longer than you realize.

Prevalent Credit Report Errors

What slip-ups should you keep an eye out for when reviewing your credit score and report? Examples of identity errors include noticing an inaccurate phone number or physical address and having another person’s accounts or other information appear on your credit report because the two of you have similar names. If someone stole your identity in the past, you may have fraudulent accounts on your credit report.

Mistakes in data management include accounts appearing several times with multiple creditors listed and information reverting to inaccurate information after being corrected. You may also encounter improper account status listings such as a closed account listed as reopened, debts listed multiple times, accounts incorrectly noted as delinquent or late, and incorrect dates. Your report may also list you as an account owner when you’re only an authorized user.

Reports may also list balance errors, such as accounts with the wrong credit limit. Another balance error is accounts with the incorrect current balance.

Correcting Credit Report Errors

If you notice a mistake on your credit report, no matter how small, take immediate action to dispute and correct it. Even if you do not apply for financing or something similar soon, correcting an error may take longer than you anticipate. If you must apply for emergency financing, you don’t want mistakes to become hurdles to getting the financial help you need.

The first thing to do is determine which credit bureau created the report with the error on it. Then, you may send a letter through certified mail requesting the credit bureau to remedy the mistake or wipe an inaccurate account from your report. Depending on the extent of the error, you may need to send three disputes to all three credit bureaus, Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. 

One primary reason to take quick action on credit report mistakes is it can take time for the bureau to process your request. Thankfully, you do not have to pay to correct or dispute errors. After submitting a request, credit bureaus have 30 days to look into the matter and update you on the investigation.

That said, there are some situations in which credit bureaus may take 45 days to make things right. During the standard 30-day waiting period, you may need to send supplemental information related to the dispute, which extends the investigation timeline. You may also have to wait longer if you request a free credit report and then submit a dispute letter. 

During the investigation, credit bureaus contact the organization that provided the inaccurate information. The investigation torch then passes on to the data furnisher, and it may take a month for them to look into the matter and report back. Sometimes, the data furnisher verifies the information you dispute, in which case, the details remain on your credit report as is.

After the investigation concludes, you’ll get an update on the findings. If the credit bureau determines wrongdoing occurred, you’ll receive a complimentary copy of your updated credit report. Depending on the overall effect of the negative item, you may notice a bump in your credit score.

Once you change the disputed item, you can ask that the credit bureau submit a corrected credit report to lenders or creditors who requested a copy of your report within the last six months. If an inaccurate credit report cost you a job, or if you were in the middle of a job search when you noticed the error, you may request the credit bureau to send an updated version of your report to employers who ran a credit check on you in the last two years.

Navigating Unsatisfactory Dispute Results

Hopefully, you successfully clear up credit report mistakes to your satisfaction. If not, you have a few options. One is to submit a follow-up dispute with the proper credit bureau, and another is to send a complaint to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. You may also cut out the middleman and directly contact the party responsible for the error to see if they’re willing to work with you to make things right.

Perhaps a credit report error severely impedes your financing options or harms your credit score. If so, you can work with a reputable and experienced consumer protection legal representative. Do not let a credit report error derail your efforts to increase your credit score and improve your financial health. For more insights on common errors and how to respond to them, and to learn tips to boost your credit score, reach out to a Coast Tradelines representative by calling 619-363-1473 or submitting an online form.