Disputing Credit Report Errors: An Overview

Most people know that maintaining their credit score in good standing is crucial to their financial health.  After all, their credit score can have a significant impact on key aspects of their financial life. Credit scores can affect a person’s ability to buy a home, car, insurance, and may even affect their ability to obtain employment. Many consumers, however, are unaware that inaccurate credit reports are a common problem . These mistakes often remain uncorrected despite the credit bureaus (consumer reporting agencies or “CRA”) being informed of the error.

If your credit report contains an error, you are entitled to dispute that inaccurate information with the CRAs and data furnishers (often the original creditor or a debt collector) in order to have them correct any errors that may be present. In order to begin the dispute process, you must first collect all relevant information that supports your position that the information on the credit report is inaccurate. Make copies of all of these relevant documents and send the copies to the CRAs and credit furnishers along with a dispute letter outlining the nature of the error. You should receive a letter from the CRAs stating that they are in the process of conducting an investigation into your matter and will notify you of the results within thirty days as required by the bureaus.

The dispute process is not perfect, however, and whatever investigation the CRAs and furnishers will conduct may be unavailing. This means that consumers are usually left with the same errors for years.  

When the dispute process has failed, a consumer attorney may be able to help.  The Credit Report Law Group focuses on representing consumers with credit report errors.  In most cases, the consumer is not responsible for attorney’s fees.  In litigation, consumers may be entitled to sue for both a corrected report and compensation for any financial and emotional harm suffered.  In addition, a consumer can recover punitive damages — at times substantially larger than their compensatory award — to recover for willful violations of the FCRA.  More information is available at www.nyconsumerlaw.com.