According to studies, almost 1 in every 5 Americans has an error on their credit report. Having an error in your credit report can lower your credit score and make it harder for you to qualify for that mortgage or auto loan at an affordable rate.
Negative entries on your credit score can last for up to 7 years, so getting them removed can save you a lot of money on interest.
The FTC clearly states that “no one can legally remove accurate and timely negative information from a credit report.”.
However, if you’ve examined your credit report and have found a possible discrepancy, you should take action to have it removed.
The first step you should take in filing a dispute is sending a dispute letter to the credit bureaus.
Legally, the bureaus are obligated to respond to your dispute within a 30 day period.
The government requires that the bureaus keep documents and information backing up their credit report entries.
If you file a credit dispute and the credit bureau(s) are unable to find the proper documentation to validate the negative item on your credit report, they are then required to remove it.
In other words, the burden of proof rests on the credit bureaus to prove that the debt is yours. This is known as debt validation.
It is also not uncommon to have the 3 credit bureaus respond to your dispute letter with a request for more information.
This is a sad tactic bureau’s will use to try and stall your claim and you are not required to respond in any way.
If the Letter Doesn’t Work
In most cases, a dispute letter should take care of the problem at hand. If for some reason you have not received a response to your dispute letter, a letter of goodwill is another step you can take.
If you were delinquent on your payments in the past but in a better financial position now, you can explain to your creditors why and how you were unable to pay at the time. You can bring up your employment situation or even medical issues.
Essentially, you are just asking them very nicely to remove the negative item from your credit report.
Pay and Move On
If you are unable to get the negative item removed from your credit report, your other option is to simply just pay off the debt in order to get the negative mark removed from your credit report.
In this case, you can even negotiate with your lender and bring down the amount that you owe.
Many lenders will buy and sell debts, and your debt may have been sold 5 or more times to various debt collection agencies, so be sure that you are always speaking to somebody who has the ability to change your report and get that negative item removed.
Anything to do with the 3 credit bureaus will require dedication and persistence. Having a negative mark on your credit can even make it hard to rent the apartment of your dreams.
If you do not take action and open a line of contact with the credit bureaus, that negative mark will stay on your record for up to 7 years.
Filing for bankruptcy is a big step that can give you the fresh start that you desperately need. If you have questions about bankruptcy and want to speak to an attorney for FREE, CrediReady can help. Take two minutes to schedule a consultation with a free local attorney today by filling out this form.