Some recent surveys have found as many as 80% of all credit reports contain inaccuracies (Motley Fool, April 2008). Those inaccuracies could range from a minor blemish to a major mistake that could prevent you from getting a loan you should rightly qualify for.
So how do you know if you have something that shouldn’t be on there? Your first step is to pull all three of your credit reports. Experian, Equifax and TransUnion all collect credit information and it is important to check them all. All three can be obtained once a year for free at AnnualCreditReport.com. Once you pull your reports, if you find any mistakes you will need to do the following to remove those problems.
1) Keep good notes of any phone calls, letters or any other evidence you can find to support your claim and also your dispute.
2) Send a letter to the proper reporting institute to notify them of the inaccuracy. An example letter can be found on the Federal Trade Commission website. Within 30 days they will investigate and let you know of their findings.
3) Let the creditor/company that is reporting the error know of the mistake and ask them to fix the problem.
4) Finally if you are unsuccessful in removing information from your credit file you can contact a lawyer and take legal action. If that is to much you can always write a letter to the reporting agency and attach a letter of explanation to your credit file.
One final tip I like to use. There are three reporting companies and each will provide you a free report once a year. I like to pull one report every four months, that way if something major does pop-up I can address it quickly.