Often lenders, debt collectors and companies make profitability and efficiency their top priority. We cannot fault that. But if greed and sloppiness take over and those efforts come illegally and improperly at your expense, you should assert your rights.
If you believe that a lender has improperly refused to take items off of your credit report,
a debt collector has harassed you or treated you unfairly,
or if a company has lied to you or attempted to collect an amount that you did not owe,
Please call us for a free consultation. We are committed to fighting for Texas consumers and we strive every day to obtain the very best results possible.
FCRA – The Fair Credit Reporting Act
Credit reports are rarely accurate. When a business inquires into or “pulls” your credit report, a search program or algorithm pulls information from a database of your “personal identifiers.” That database contains all your information saved with everyone else’s information. The search algorithm is supposed to filter out obsolete information and information that doesn’t belong to you. But, that often does not work, and so there are errors and innacuracies.
The 3 Steps to correcting inaccuracies on your report
First Step: Get Your Credit Report & Read The Report to Identify Errors
Go to www.annualcreditreport.com and request your complimentary Equifax, Experian and Trans Union profiles. Note: please be careful if you type in the web address, for example, the website “free” credit report.com costs money… When you get your credit report, the credit reporting agency may include a pamphlet or similar paperwork explaining how to read their particular format. Read through your report carefully and identify any errors using some of the common errors listed in step 2 as your guidepost.
Second Step: Locate The Cause Of the Mistakes
Errors In Credit Reports Occur Often: fraud, data entry mistakes, improper merging of information by the CRA all lead to errors and inaccuracies. The errors can be caused by the creditor, the CRA, an identity thief, or a collection agency, or public record. The following are some categories of common errors:
Creditor error. The creditor or “furnisher” of information to the CRA provides the information in a database format that allows the CRA to bring the information right into its database without entering everything again. The individual pieces of data are known as “fields”. The current format is “METRO 2″. This new format can create many problems in providing correct consumer information, especially regarding
Incorrect Names: An incorrect name or social security number input by the creditor can go to the wrong consumer’s file (e.g. incomplete consumer’s name such as “J.Smith” could either be “John Smith” or “Jay Smith.” This frequently happens with common names or where there is a junior/senior relationship.
Collection Agency Error. Some companies intentionally (and illegally) place collection accounts on credit reports to get the victim to pay. Collection agencies know some people will pay amounts, even if they don’t owe, in order to improve their credit report. You can proceed against the collection agency that improperly reports such information.
Public Records Error. The CRAs pay companies to go through court files and official records to obtain information. Judgments, bankruptcies and tax liens are the most frequently reported public records. If the reporting agency does not have the company check often enough, the fact that a judgment or bankruptcy was later vacated or satisfied may not get reported.
FYI: Charge Off: Federal regulations provide that a delinquent account is to be charged off 180 days after the date of delinquency. 64 Fed. Reg. No. 27, 6655 “Uniform Retail Classification and Account Management Policy”
Third Step: Document Everything in Writing & Send Dispute Letters CMRRR
Documents are important. Many credit card companies, banks and even credit reporting agencies provide toll free numbers and websites you can use to dispute credit errors. NEVER use those. Always, document your credit error or dispute on paper, in writing by sending a letter in the mail by certified mail, return receipt requested. The obligations of some credit companies under some laws are not triggered unless you provide a written dispute. Send Credit Disputes By Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested.
Provide the information necessary to have your dispute investigated and convey what is happening to you as a result of the false credit reporting. The minimum information is: 1) Name of the company reporting the inaccurate entry; 2) credit account number; 3) a statement that the account was in error; 4) why you believe the credit report is in error; 5) what you want done (i.e. whether you want the entire account deleted or corrected in a certain way); 6) that you want a statement from the CRA of the manner in which it investigated the claim including the name and phone number of anyone contacted in connection with the reinvestigation; 7) your name, social security number, address and date of birth; attach relevant documents to your dispute. Further, you may want to attach a copy of your credit report from that company or a copy of your drivers license or utility bill that shows your current address if you moved recently. You might also add requests for verification if you are dealing with a collection agency, statement of billing error if you are dealing with a credit card company and demand to send corrected information directly to a company that pulled your report if you were denied credit based on an error in a report. Credit dispute letters should be tailored to the type of recipient and the sender’s situation.