Consumer Reports Must Be Accurate
The FCRA requires that consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) utilize reasonable procedures to ensure maximum possible accuracy of the information in a consumer report. This includes not only information that is patently incorrect, but also information that is out of date, misleading, or incomplete. Inaccuracies can take the form of showing an incorrect payment history, balance, or payment status; or attributing an account to the wrong person.
How to Dispute Information on a Credit Report
A dispute of information on a credit report should be made in writing, and mailed to the credit reporting agency. Making a written dispute is preferable to using the internet forms provided by the national CRAs, which limit the information that the consumer can provide to show that the report is inaccurate.
The written dispute should include the consumer’s name, address, date of birth, and social security number; a description of the specific item of information that is being disputed; and a copy of the report showing the inaccurate item. The dispute must provide the reason why the consumer contends that the information is inaccurate, and should include copies of documents supporting the consumer’s dispute. Finally, the dispute should request that the CRA delete or correct the information.
The dispute should be mailed to all CRAs that are reporting the inaccurate information. Addresses for the three national CRAs, to which disputes can be mailed, are as follows. However, you should confirm the correct address, as they are subject to change.
P.O. Box 740256
Atlanta, GA 30374
P.O. Box 4000
701 Experian Parkway
Allen, Texas 75013
TransUnion Consumer Solutions
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022-2000
Reporting Debts Discharged in Bankruptcy
Failure of a CRA to show an account as having been discharged in bankruptcy is a common problem. Accounts that continue to be reported as past due on a credit report, instead of showing as discharged, will hinder the consumer’s fresh start after bankruptcy.
In addition to violating the FCRA, reporting a discharged debt as past due may also violate the discharge injunction under the Bankruptcy Code. Consumers in this situation may be able to make application to the Bankruptcy Court to reopen their bankruptcy case, in order to enforce the bankruptcy discharge.
A Note About Credit Repair Organizations
Beware of claims by credit repair organizations that they can remove negative information from your credit report. Information that is accurately reported, and which is not obsolete, cannot be legitimately removed from a credit report. In addition, under the FCRA, CRAs can refuse to investigate disputes that do not come directly from the consumer.
Andrew M. Doktofsky, P.C. | New York Fair Credit Reporting Act Attorney
Contact Andrew M. Doktofsky, P.C. at 631-812-7020 for a free consultation about how to dispute information on your credit report.