The best defense is usually a good offense. Everyone should run a credit report at least once a year to make sure they are not a victim of identity theft, fraudulent reporting by debt collectors, or negligence of the credit reporting agencies. If the first time you find out about a mistake on your credit report is upon denial for that house or car loan it may be too late. Fixing errors on your credit report often prove to be a nightmare. In 2013, a federal jury in Oregon awarded a woman 18.4 million in punitive damages due to incorrect information on her credit report after repeated attempts to fix the problem. If possible contact the creditor first to get them to correctly report information to the credit bureau.
According to reports the credit reporting agencies receive 10,000 disputes a day. Much like the mortgage modification debacle they simply don’t have the staff to keep up. The result is usually multiple form denial letters hoping to frustrate individuals into giving up. Most consumers do. The few who sue usually get a settlement that the bureaus accept as the cost of doing business. The Fair Credit Reporting Act gives consumers the right and remedies to ensure their credit report is accurate. If there is a problem- what should you do?
The Credit reporting bureaus must investigate any disputes you make, usually within thirty (30) days. Upon completion of their investigation they must give notify you of the results in writing and provide a free copy of your report if the dispute results in a change. If their investigation results in no action you may ask that a statement of the dispute be included in future reports.
Where to write the 3 Major Credit Bureaus:
P.O. Box 7404256
Atlanta, GA 30374-0256
P.O. Box 9701
Allen, TX 75013
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022-2000