Reporting disputes under the Fair Credit Reporting Act

A consumer’s credit report in Vadnais Heights, Minnesota, includes bankruptcies, court records and how they pay their bills, which employers, landlords and insurers may use to hire or approve applicants. When applicants are declined jobs or other business deals, the Fair Credit Reporting Act gives them a right to learn why, and they may dispute denials.

Common errors on credit reports

One important protection under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is that consumers can learn what information was used against them and when, and it helps to know some common errors. Many errors involve personal information, such as incorrect names, addresses or mix-ups with another person who has a similar name.

Payments commonly get reported as late when they got paid on time, an ex-spouse remains listed on credit cards, and incorrect balances get listed. Accounts may get charged off when they have been paid in full, and old debts get reported as new. Identify theft often causes unrecognized accounts to appear on the report.

How consumers can dispute

To file a dispute, consumers need to check their report, which they can get free from all three major bureaus annually. However, checking a dispute does not count toward the free report limit.

People who think there are mistakes in their report should write a dispute letter listing the errors they found and enclose original documents, not copies. Some needed documents may include bank statements, birth certificates, loan statements, government IDs and ID theft reports.

The credit reporting agency has 30 days to investigate the claims when someone initiates a dispute. Then it must send the consumer’s documents to the service that issues the information. The furnishing service must notify all credit reporting companies of the error, correct errors and respond to the consumer in writing. If it detects fraud, or the information is accurate, the credit reporting company will close the case.

An error on a credit report can negatively impact people, but they can use the FCRA to dispute. If someone feels that his or her case was unfairly closed, he or she may seek an attorney for assistance.