A person’s financial situation rests largely on their credit score, which is based on their credit report. Having too low of a score can prevent people from applying for much-needed loans, credit cards, and can even prevent them from certain job and housing opportunities.
There are a number of reasons someone could have a low credit score. Perhaps they got into trouble with debt back in college, or maybe there are mistakes on their credit report that are dragging their score down. The latter of these two scenarios happens more often than people think. In fact, a study done by the Federal Trade Commission showed that approximately 25 percent of all Americans found errors on their credit report.
One of the most unfortunate things about this is that many of those people think there’s nothing they can do about credit report errors. However, that’s not true. Taking the right steps to dispute the errors is a crucial step in credit card defense.
The first thing to do is to put your dispute in writing. You should first send a letter to the furnisher of the debt. This is typically a bank or credit card company. They will look into the dispute and may clear it up without requiring any additional action from you. However, furnishers of debt do not always comply so easily.
When that is the case, you’ll need to send letters to the credit bureau that reported the error. This is likely Equifax, TransUnion, or Experian. These bureaus all offer ways to dispute errors online, but you should speak to an attorney before doing so. You will need to submit personal and confidential information, and doing this online always poses some risk. An attorney can ensure that you do this safely.
The credit bureau has an obligation to investigate any disputes. They will begin their investigation by contacting the debt furnisher but will take additional steps if necessary. When sending a letter to either the furnisher or the credit reporting bureau, always include any supporting documentation, use certified mail if you’re not submitting the dispute online, and always keep a copy for yourself.
Know the Deadlines
It’s easy to think that a credit bureau will simply shrug off your request and that they’ll never look into your dispute. It’s important to remember, though, that they have certain legal obligations as well. One of those is to investigate the dispute within 30 days of becoming aware of it. Once the investigation is complete, they must also report back to you with their findings.
If you have also reported the dispute with the furnisher, they must also investigate within 30 days. If they stand by what they originally reported, though, or find nothing to back up claims of the error, they are not required to update or remove it.
It’s also important to know that a credit reporting bureau may deem your dispute as frivolous. This most often occurs when you haven’t submitted all the information, or when some of the information is incorrect. If you’ve already tried several times in the past to dispute the error, and you are disputing it again with no additional information, the bureau retains the right to deem your dispute frivolous.
Once the bureau has established that your dispute is frivolous, they are no longer required to investigate it further. However, they must still tell you within five days of their decision, and the reasons for it.
Reviewing the Results
Once the investigation is complete, the furnisher or the credit reporting bureau must write a report with the results of the investigation and send it to you. If they have made changes to your credit report based on your dispute, they must also send along a free copy of that. The credit reporting bureau must also include the name, address, and phone number of the furnisher that provided the incorrect information.
Even in cases when the furnisher is adamant that the information they provided is correct, and even if the credit bureau has deemed your dispute frivolous, you can still request that they include an explanation of the dispute in your file. This can help show future creditors or housing agencies that you are not in agreement with all the information listed.
Check for Updates
Often when people are successful in a dispute, or when they’re waiting for information to be included on their file, they want it to happen automatically. However, it rarely does. Making changes to a person’s credit report takes some time. The credit reporting bureaus have certain cycles in which they perform large updates, and the furnisher could drag their feet on giving certain information to the credit bureau.
For these reasons, it’s important to not become too upset if the change isn’t made immediately. Do check your credit report shortly after the dispute is resolved to see if updates have been made. If not, check back in several months, as it should be done then. If it’s still not, contact an attorney who can make it clear to the furnisher and the credit bureau that you mean business.
Let a Debt Defense Lawyer in Florida Help with Your First Line of Defense
Too many people are content to allow incorrect information to sit on their credit report. Many think it won’t go any further because, if the furnisher tries to sue for the debt, they will have to back up claims of a debt that doesn’t exist. However, errors that remain on your report are going to continue to ruin your credit. Additionally, disputing these errors is really your first line of debt defense. A Fort Lauderdale debt defense lawyer can help you with it.
If you’re in debt and constantly receiving harassing calls or even threats from creditors, call Loan Lawyers today at (954) 523-HELP (4357). We’ll make sure your information is accurate, help you dispute it if it’s not, and prepare a defense to help your case against the creditors. Debt is extremely stressful. We’re here to try and make the situation a bit easier. Call us today for your free consultation and learn more about what we can do for you.
Loan Lawyers has helped over 5,000 South Florida homeowners and consumers with their debt problems, we have saved over 2,000 homes from foreclosure, eliminated more than $100,000,000 in mortgage principal and consumer debt, and have recovered over $10,000,000 on behalf of our clients due to bank, loan servicer, and debt collector violations. Contact us for a free consultation and find out more about our money back guarantee on credit card debt buyer lawsuits, and how we may be able to help you.