Correcting Errors on Your Credit Report

Once you have your credit report from Equfax, Trans Union, or Experian, there is a specific procedure for removing and correcting items, or adding your own "consumer statement."

Know What You Are Disputing

To indicate exactly what needs to be corrected and why, you need a copy of your credit report. You can order your credit report here, or in cases where you were recently denied credit, you may qualify for a free credit report by mail (from the credit reporting agency that was used in the decision to deny you credit.)

Call or Write the Credit Reporting Agency

Each credit reporting agency is a big company with many offices, and multiple local affiliates. For fastest service in correcting errors, you should contact them using the address or phone number provided with your credit report or adverse action letter. If you are unable to find the address and phone numbers, you may use the following:

Experian, P.O. Box 2104, Allen, TX 75013 or call 1 888 EXPERIAN
Trans Union, P.O. Box 2000, Chester, PA 19022 or call 1 800 888-4213
Equifax, P.O. Box 740256, Atlanta, GA, 30374 or call 1 800 685-1111

Clearly identify each disputed item, state the facts, and indicate why it should be deleted or corrected. (Include a copy of the credit report on which you've circled the disputed items.)

If you are contacting Experian, Equifax, or Trans Union by telephone, send a follow-up letter  with copies (not originals) of documents backing your claim. It is best to use certified mail, requesting a return receipt. 

Keep a record of all your conversations and correspondence, and keep copies of all documents. 

How Your Claim is Investigated

Within 30 days, the credit reporting agency (Experian, Trans Union, or Equifax) is required to forward your dispute with all relevant data to the the company that provided the information to them.

It is not sufficient to simply say "I disagree". You must provide reasons (and evidence, if possible) why you think the items on your report are incorrect. Frivolous claims can be rejected without investigation.

Duties of the Information Provider

The company that provided information to the credit reporting agency must investigate and review all relevant information provided by the credit bureau and is required to report its findings to them. 

If the information provider finds that your claim is correct, it must make corrections to your credit file, and it must notify the other credit bureaus, if any, to which it reported the same incorrect information.

An Example: 

  1. You find an item from ABC Finance in your Equifax credit report, that is not yours.
  2. You notify Equifax.
  3. Equifax notifies ABC Finance.
  4. ABC Finance investigates, and finds that it was incorrectly reported under your name.
  5. Assuming ABC Finance only reported it to Equifax and Trans Union, ABC Finance tells Equifax and Trans Union (but not Experian) to make the correction. 

How the Credit Bureau Must Correct Your File

The credit reporting agency must delete all disputed items that the information provider cannot verify. It must make corrections in your credit report for all items that were reported incorrectly, and it must update the status of your account accordingly. Items belonging to someone else must be deleted.

You are then entitled to a written copy of the results. If any changes were made, you are entitled to a new copy of your credit report.

Upon your request, the credit reporting agency must send correction notices to any credit grantor who received your credit report in the last 6 months, and a corrected report to any employer who received your credit report to evaluate a job application in the past two years.  

What if you disagree with the findings?

If you disagree with the findings, you may write a statement and ask that the credit bureau include it on all future reports. The creditor can also add a statement to tell its side of the story.  Statements of dispute are added only after you've officially disputed the status of your account, the account has been reinvestigated, and you and the creditor cannot agree about the account status.

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