How to dispute a mistake
If you do find a major mistake, order your credit report from all three bureaus. Doing so can help you figure out if the problem is limited to just one report. The next thing to determine is if you need to take your dispute up with the credit-reporting bureau or the lender.
If there's a case of mistaken identity, such as someone else's information on your report, or accounts listed that aren't familiar to you, contact the bureau. All three bureaus have online dispute forms, which Sweet says is a faster method of resolution than snail mail.
"Taking things up with the bureau is easier because they have one set process," says Bucci. "There's a dispute process in place so you can dispute any account with the same process, whereas when you contact the creditor, every one's a little different. It's not as neat and simple."
In the case of negative information more than seven years old or a report of an outstanding balance that has actually been paid off, try contacting the lender directly.