Repairing Your Credit – Your Rights Are Important!
All Federal Laws are in the consumer’s favor. This means you have the advantage. The specific law used here is the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act.
One part of this law states that when you dispute any information contained on your credit file, the Credit Bureau must verify the accuracy of the information with the creditor who reported the information within 30 days. If they are unable to verify the information within 30 days, it must be removed.
Congress passed The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) because they felt we all deserve a second chance. This act gives you the right to correct, update, amend and tell your side of what happened to the credit community. These laws do not work though unless you initiate and use them. A copy of the FCRA is included for your review.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act sets certain guidelines which credit bureaus and your creditors must follow when reporting your credit file, as well as giving the consumer certain rights.
Your Six Basic Rights under The Fair Credit Reporting Act
- You, the consumer, have the right to challenge the accuracy of your credit report any time.
- The credit bureaus must reinvestigate anything you challenge without a charge.
- The credit bureaus must reinvestigate within a reasonable amount of time. 30 days constitutes a “reasonable amount of time” unless the bureau notifies you otherwise (so keep accurate records).
- If the credit bureau finds an error in the challenged item, they must delete or correct that information in your files immediately.
- If the credit bureaus cannot or do not confirm the challenged item within 30 days, they must delete that information from your files immediately.
- You have the right to submit a Consumer Statement of your view of the problem. If you, as a credit consumer, dispute the accuracy of certain information in your credit report and it is verified by the creditor as correct, then the credit bureau is required to include your explanation of your dispute, if you request, in your credit report. Limit your explanation to no more than 100 words.
Important: You do not want us or any other company to file a dispute for you because if the dispute is sent from anyone other than you, the credit bureau will suspect that you have paid someone to repair your credit and this will not work as well as it could have if you sent it directly.
As the Credit Bureaus did not lend you money, they are not as concerned as you if the information they have is correct or not. They are only paid to store the information.
Consumers working on their credit reports say many times their letters are ignored by the credit bureaus. It is believed the credit bureaus try to discourage consumers from working on the reports by making it difficult. Consumers say even with proof an item is not theirs, its removal from their report can take three or four challenge letters. When the credit bureaus say they have verified or confirmed an item, it seems all they have done is verified it is in their computers. THIS IS NOT ENOUGH PROOF!!! They need to provide greater proof, so read on.
Sending your dispute letter by CERTIFIED RETURN RECEIPT MAIL greatly increases your chance of a response. This should not be done with the first attempt. Keep a record of when you sent the dispute letters and what date you should expect a response. If you have received no answer to your dispute after 30 to 37 days, attack the credit bureau with a certified return receipt letter, for an updated credit report demanding the disputed items be deleted. If the bureaus do not reply within the 30 days, it must be that the information was either inaccurate, or it could not be verified. In either case, according to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the items must be immediately deleted.
Consumers have found it possible to eliminate negative marks on credit reports simply by going through this process of disputing items over and over again. Since many creditors won’t take the time to defend the negative item, eventually you can “repair” your credit through default by your creditor not responding to the credit bureaus request to verify the item. This commonly occurs. The creditors do not always have time to deal with a bothersome piece of paperwork and that is your advantage. We’ll go into this more later.
When you get the updated report carefully review it to see if you have lost the negative items and to see if anything else has changed. Consumers working on their credit report have found while disputing one negative item, for no apparent reason, another negative item or two disappeared. Usually some progress is made each time you challenge, but do not get discouraged if you don’t get results each time. Remember, the credit bureau would like you to quit bothering them because if you aren’t disputing the report, they can legally continue selling it as profitable information.
After you have received your response, repeat the process all over again. Consumers who have successfully cleaned their credit report say that they have denied a bankruptcy or judgment and have received verification from the credit bureau that it was in public record. They denied a second time and some even a third time, and finally the credit bureau deleted the bankruptcy from the report. So do not get discouraged! Patience and persistence are important keys to incredible success in repairing a damaged credit report.
The creditors who reported the items to the bureaus must be the ones to provide information to verify the dispute. These creditors do not always have the staff and proper records to verify all disputes within 30 days to keep the item from being removed. So you can see how possible it is to remove negative information from your credit file. How well will this work for you? The only way is to try. However, our research has shown that certain items are easier to remove than others.
Easier Items To Dispute And Have Removed
- Items older than 2 years
- Discharged bankruptcies
- Late payments
- Accounts that were late but are now paid off
The reason these items are easier to remove is simple; when you dispute an older account or an item that is now charged off, the creditor is not too concerned with the account any more. They may not even be able to find the necessary information to verify the dispute. Even if the account was once seriously past due, but now is paid off, they usually will not take the time to verify the dispute since they have already been paid.
More Difficult Items To Dispute And Have Removed
- Accounts that are currently past due
- Recent Bankruptcies
- IRS or State Tax Liens
- Current collection accounts
These are more difficult because creditors keep these types of accounts in their current files and they are expecting you to pay them. That is why it will be much easier for them to verify the information and keep the item on your credit file. However, it is always worth a try.
Important: It is completely legal for you to dispute items on your credit file even if you know they are correct. You are simply testing to see if your creditors have maintained the proper records to verify the dispute. You have a very bad memory and forgot that the negative accounts on your credit file are really yours. Federal Laws require that the Credit Bureaus verify all disputes. If they are unable to verify your dispute, the law says it must be removed from your file.
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