There are may companies that charge for disputing credit reported items on your behalf but this is not always necessary. The 3 bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) have made it much easier for consumers to handle this task themselves.
To initiate a dispute you must put your dispute in letter form and it must reference the exact account number shown on the credit report and should state the reason for the dispute (ie: not my account, incorrect balance, never was late etc). Keep the letter brief and without excess story. Only the information pertinent to the credit reporting should be discussed.
Some accounts report to all 3 bureaus and as a result the letter will need to be sent to each bureau individually. When looking at your credit report you will see which bureaus report on each account listed in that accounts details. You will see XP for Experian, TU for TransUnion, and EF for Equifax in each line item reported. This indicates the bureaus that show that information.
In the above record you can see that this account was reported 30 days late in 4/2005?to all 3 bureaus. It also indicates that it was late 30 days only once in the history of the loan. To dispute this information a letter would need to be sent to all 3 bureaus.
Each dispute letter requires that the bureaus addressed must investigate your claims. The law provides that this must happen in e timely manner. While it does not specify an exact time allotted it has become customary to see these resolve in about 30 days. If the bureau does not get an adequate response from the creditor they must adjust the report accordingly.
This can be easily accomplished on older derogatory info but newer accounts usually have account information more readily available. Take the time to do this BEFORE you need your credit. It can save you in interest rates and fees by helping you qualify for a better product.
Here are the addresses and phone numbers of the 3 bureaus:
P.O. Box 2104
Allen, TX 75013-2104
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
P.O. Box 1000
Chester, PA 19022
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