The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) of 1970 requires credit-reporting agencies, including the “Big Three” –Equifax, Experian and TransUnion—to correct or delete inaccurate, incomplete, or unverifiable information on your credit report, usually within 30 days.
Here are some tips for getting satisfaction:
- Communicate in writing. Never try to solve a major dispute on a credit-bureau website or by phone. And always send correspondence by registered mail or certified mail.
- Keep all documents until the dispute is resolved.
- Have your letter notarized before you send it.
- Send a copy of your complaint to the company that generated the mistake.
- Provide complete identification. Include your full name and your driver’s license, a utility bill, and other identification. Credit-reporting agencies will often reject a complaint because they conclude that they need more identification.
- Know your rights. Under the credit-reporting law, creditors and credit-reporting agencies must conduct meaningful and detailed investigations of complaints. If they don’t, consumers may have a claim for actual damages, statutory damages, and punitive damages.
- Complain to our state’s consumer affairs office or attorney general’s office, or to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (help.consumerfinance.gov/app/
creditreporting/ask). The CFPB tries to investigate all disputes. An analysis of CFPB data by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group in 2013 found that the bureau was able to get the credit-reporting agencies to provide consumer’s relief—either a monetary payment or a correction in a report – in 30 percent of the cases.
- Consult a lawyer. If your efforts and those of government staffers aren’t getting anywhere, you may have to sue. Contact a consumer-protection attorney through the National Association of Consumer Advocates (naca.net).
- Don’t do business with credit-repair companies. They’ll charge you to do things you can easily do yourself. In some cases, the advice they give is downright dangerous. Nathaniel Lewis of Richmond, VA., says the companies he went to charged him almost $1,000 but didn’t get incorrect information erased from his credit records. Worse, one recommended that he declare bankruptcy, an inappropriate step.
Attorney Joseph F. Madrigrano, Jr. studies the real estate market in order to provide value to his clients. He has assisted real estate clients in taking advantage of opportunities and solving their problems for over 38 years. As in all business matters: Experience is the Difference. Joseph F. Madrigrano Jr. has the experience to help you succeed.