Free Credit Report

The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT) allows you to get a FREE copy of your credit report every 12 months.

Don’t pay for your credit report unless you have to.

Some states may have a way for you to get a second free report: Colorado, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Vermont.

The three major credit reporting agencies are Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. The credit reporting agencies use public records for judgement and lien information.

Inaccurate information has to be deleted by the credit reporting agency at your request (within a reasonable period of time). This rule should apply whether or not the information is proven to be inaccurate OR cannot be verified.

Write a letter to the credit reporting agency and outline your request with proof if you’ve got it. (i.e. I am writing to dispute…Please delete the disputed item immediately…Documentation and support for my position is attached).

Under FACT, you can choose to dispute inaccurate item(s) with a creditor directly.  If they don’t comply, you could write the credit reporting agencies to add a statement to explain your side of the story in their file.

Under FACT, you can also ask about how your score was calculated, although they’ll probably charge you.

You might be able to sue a creditor for wrongfully reporting your payments as late (defamation) or for releasing your credit information without a legal reason (invasion of privacy).  They’re also supposed to warn you before (or within 30 days after) negative information is provided to a credit reporting agency.

If you are wondering how to properly resolve a dispute with a collection or a credit reporting agency, here are some rough ideas. First, gather all of the information and evaluate the laws. This website could be a starting point in your search for answers but should not replace the help of a professional.

Your next step might be to contact the agency by mail (certified with return receipt and state your complaint and the specific remedy sought.

If the agency won’t fix the problem then you could consider contacting the government agency that oversees them.  Outline the steps you took to resolve the dispute and consider formulating a letter to the main or a regional office of the Federal Trade Commission, for example.  Their telephone number is (202) 326-2222.