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Credit Repair Don’t: Dispute Everything On Your Credit Report

Posted on September 21, 2010

When you repair your credit, there are steps you must take to ensure your credit history is correct and always up to date, otherwise it can reflect poorly on your credit score. In order to keep accurate information contained in your report, you may need to file a dispute to the credit reporting bureaus to correct the error. But be cautious – if you try to dispute data by yourself, make sure that is in fact true or your dispute may be dismissed as frivolous.

How Investigations Work

The credit reporting bureaus receive data from creditors on a monthly basis. The information shows how you manage your credit, pay your bills, the amount of credit you are extended and have used, and the type of account you have. The credit bureaus take this information and compile it into a history report. Because the data is managed by humans, there is always a chance some of the information may be reported incorrectly. A consumer has a responsibility to check their information and make sure it is correct. They can do this by order a copy of their credit report and reviewing each detail.

Once a consumer notices errors, they should complete the credit bureaus form for filing a dispute. The information that is incorrect should be reported to the bureau which will then lead to an investigation by the credit reporting agency. The bureau will then contact the creditor with questions about the information being reported. During a 30 day period the creditor must respond with the corrected information, prove the information is being reported as accurate, or they may not respond at all. If corrected information is provided, the credit bureau will change it on the report for the consumer. If the information is accurate, the consumer will be alerted. If the creditor does not reply at all, the information will be eliminated from the consumer’s report. Consumers will receive written correspondence with the results of the investigation that details any action taken. Truth be told, it can be a tedious process.

In the event you were denied credit due to incorrect information being reported, the consumer credit bureau will send a corrected copy of your credit report to anyone that had received a copy of your report within a two year time frame. In order to instigate this action, a consumer must request this be done in writing by the consumer.

Disputing Real Issues

There are some inexperienced agencies that will attempt to file disputes on all of your credit information in the hopes some creditors will not respond and the information will be eliminated, which is discouraged. Only a handful of credit repairing agencies have the expertise and experience to be able to decipher what should be disputed and what should be left alone.

If doing it yourself, remember that the credit reporting agency has the right to refuse an investigation if they feel the dispute is frivolous, so you should be well informed before attempting. If you have several legitimate disputes, you should file them as soon as you have discovered the inaccurate information. However, keep in mind that filing too many disputes in an effort to have information removed can be detrimental to your credit repair success.

Once a dispute is filed, be sure to follow up regularly to ensure the information is correct. Many consumers will make the mistake of doing the initial work and letting the rest fall by the wayside. If inaccurate information remains on your credit report, your score will not improve.

Too Many Disputes Could Be “Frivolous”

If you send too many disputes at one time, the credit bureau can decide these disputes are frivolous and refuse to process the disputes. The law allows them to do this. When this happens, none of your disputes are processed and nothing is removed from your credit report.

The only exception is when you’ve been a victim of identity theft and none of the accounts on your credit report belong to you. Even then, you should have documentation, like an ID theft report or affidavit, showing that the accounts were fraudulently opened.

Disputes Could Clean Your Credit Report

Let’s say you dispute everything from your credit report and it all gets removed. Your joy at a clear credit report will be short-lived when you find out that having nothing on your credit report is just as bad as having negative information on your credit report. This is not the goal of credit repair.

If you don’t have anything on your credit report, you can’t get a credit score. For FICO to calculate your credit score, you need to have at least one account that’s been open for six months. So until you open an account and have it for that length of time, you’ll be out of a credit score.

Good luck getting a credit card without a credit score. One of the reasons credit card applications are denied is because the card issuer can’t get your credit score. Having brand new credit makes it hard to get a credit card.

A Better Way

If you’re going to clean up your credit report by disputing things from your credit report, don’t dispute everything. You should leave at least one account, but preferably a few, on your credit report so you won’t have such a hard time getting new credit.

Send your disputes a few at a time when you’re disputing several things on your credit report. Two or three disputes at a time is a good idea. That way, the credit bureau won’t have a reason to think your disputes are frivolous. Include as much supporting documentation as you can to help the dispute process. Always send copies of your documents and keep the original for yourself.

The credit bureau has 30 to 45 days to investigate your dispute and give you an answer. Sending your disputes via certified mail with a return receipt request will give you the proof you need to file a complaint when the bureau doesn’t return the dispute within the required time frame. Whenever you have trouble with a credit bureau, you can file a dispute with the Federal Trade Commission.

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