|Correcting credit reports
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of which route you take, you're going to want to back up your work with a paper
or electronic trail. Make folders (plain manila or in your computer) with copies
of all correspondence. If you fill in an online form, take a screen grab and save
it to this folder. If your contact was via phone, either dump the digital recording
in your computer folder or store the tape. You're going to want to keep track
of how much time you put into resolution in case it escalates. You can keep your
logged hours in the folder.
|5 ways to dispute errors
Contact the creditor, too
Your chances of getting this resolved in one go improve
if you contact the creditor directly as well. Just
as with the credit agency, any request you make should
be sent certified mail. And make a copy. Never assume
based on a conversation you've had with a customer
service representative that things have been resolved.
And ask them to send a letter back confirming what
has been done. File that, too, and verify the resolution
in the free report you are entitled to by virtue of
Checklist for DIY credit dispute:
- Report to one CRA (keep records).
- To expedite, contact lender (keep
- Mark calendar for 30 days, then follow
- Check your free report (you're entitled
to another free report) to make sure the changes
- If not cleared up, escalate. Consider contacting
If things get nasty dealing directly with
a creditor, you may need to contact a lawyer; but it is hoped you won't get to
that point. To escalate you'll need to either introduce new information or contact
Once you resolve issues concerning a credit report
and your score, go back to your insurer and creditors to ask for a better rate
based on your improved score. This may or may not work, but asking the question
could save you big bucks each month.
Hire a credit repair agency
If you see ads promising debt relief, be mindful that
some may just be offering bankruptcy, Rebecca Kuehn
of the Federal Trade Commission, or FTC, warns. You'll
want to know what exactly it is they're offering.
"There are legitimate debt management companies,"
she says, "but you can only repair credit to
the extent that you are disputing incorrect information.
And you can do that for free yourself."