How To Fix Errors On Your Credit
by Brandon Cornett
Errors within your credit reports
can negatively affect your credit
score, making it lower than it really
In turn, this makes it harder to
qualify for a home loan, a car loan,
or obtain any form of financial lending
for that matter. And if you do qualify
for financing, you will almost certainly
pay a higher interest rate because
of that score. So errors on those
reports must be identified and correcting,
no matter how long it takes you.
Before we go any further, I want
to point out an important distinction.
In this article, I am not offering
tips on how to improve a credit score
(one that is low because of bad financial
habits on the part of the consumer).
Instead, I'm focusing on plain old
mistakes on your reports, such as
a line of credit that should not
be there, or a documented bankruptcy
that never happened, etc.
In other words, I'm telling you
how to fix things that aren't your
fault. So with that clear, let's
The "How" of Correcting
The first thing you
need to understand is that you
have three different
reports, and they contain exclusive
/ proprietary data as opposed to "shared" data.
This means that you could actually
see different information on all
three of them.
It also means that you could encounter
a mistake on one particular report
(the one from TransUnion, for example),
while the data provided by Equifax
and Experian appeared to be correct.
So if you ever have to dispute a
mistake on your information, you
must contact the company that produced
the erroneous report, as the information
provided is specific to that company.
All three of the
companies mentioned above have
a "Disputes" section of
their website. That's where you need
to go in order to get the ball rolling.
Filling out a dispute form is a way
of saying, "Hey, this information
is incorrect, and you need to fix
it because it's affecting my financial
So, you found an error on one or
more of your credit reports and you
have diligently submitted a dispute
/ correction form through the appropriate
website above. That's all there is
to it, right?
You Are Not a Preferred Customer
Here's something else you should
take away from this article. When
you first begin contacting a credit-reporting
company about a mistake within your
information, you will quickly realize
that you are not their customer.
You will realize this because they
will probably treat you in a fashion
that suggests the same.
The mortgage company who pays to
obtain your credit information is
their customer. The car dealer who
pays for this information is also
their customer too. But you are not
their customer. You are a number
... a piece of data to them. And
when you start demanding their review
of a potential mistake, you become
a nuisance as well.
Is this right and fair? Of course
not. Personally, I don't think a
private company should even be able
to collect such information. And
if they do collect such information,
they should be proactive about safeguarding
the data and ensuring the correctness
of it. But this is not the case.
I just want you to understand the
reality of the situation before you
become involved with it. When you
go into the process understanding
the dynamic, you'll be better prepared
for what you must do next, which
is to stay on top of them until things
are sorted out!
Weak Legislation to the Rescue
As you have probably
guessed, the three credit-reporting
regulated by Congress. However, "regulation" in
this context just means there are
some rules on paper -- it doesn't
mean those rules are actually enforced.
Specifically, the Fair Credit Reporting
Act dictates certain obligations
these companies have, with regard
to maintaining credit information
on consumers. (and correcting that
information when it is clearly in
The law was created back in 1970,
and it has been more recently amended
(2003) to try and force the credit-reporting
companies to be more responsive.
Still, many consumer advocates argue
that the act does not go far enough
to protect consumers, that it is
lazily enforced, and that the core
problems that prompted the creation
of the act are still very much around
The credit-reporting companies are
not governmental organizations, as
many consumers believe. They are
companies driven by profit. In other
words, it's in their interest to
make as money as possible (as with
any other company), but it's not
necessarily in their interest to
look after consumers.
As a last resort -- if you're previous
efforts to correct reporting errors
have proven unsuccessful -- you can
sue the company who has produced
the erroneous information. If you
can prove that certain information
is false, and that the report has
thus caused you financial harm, you
could be entitled to damages (monies)
paid by the company.
About the Author: Brandon
Cornett publishes a blog about mortgage
loan refinance as well as several
other real estate websites. Visit
the author online at http://www.mortgage-refinance-advice.com/blog/