To dispute an error on your credit report, a good practice is to contact the consumer reporting agency (also known as a credit bureau; i.e., Equifax, Experian, Innovis, TransUnion) and the company that provided the information (called a furnisher, which is often a financial institution, service provider, or collection agency). To trigger certain rights provided to consumers by the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), you must directly dispute an error to each credit bureau that reported inaccurate information. Once Equifax, Experian, Innovis, TransUnion (or another consumer reporting agency) receives your dispute, the Fair Credit Reporting Act requires the credit bureau to perform a reasonable investigation and notify the furnisher of the dispute. The furnisher also must perform a reasonable investigation.
Dispute your credit report error in writing
A great way to make your dispute is to do so in writing. Why? Because a written dispute shows exactly what information you disputed to a consumer reporting agency and how you explained why the disputed information on your credit report is inaccurate. If the credit report error is not corrected and you choose to hire a lawyer and file a lawsuit, a written dispute can be powerful and irrefutable evidence. While telephone disputes to credit bureaus do require the same investigations under the Fair Credit Reporting Act as written disputes, telephone disputes may not be recorded and if the disputed credit report item is not fixed, the issue of precisely what was disputed and for what reason can become a matter of credibility. So it is a good idea to put disputes in writing, send disputes by certified mail, and keep copies of your dispute letter and mailing receipts!