How to Use this Resource

We hope the articles below help you understand your rights as a consumer. You can scroll through the titles, or sort by Practice Area or Topic. You can also use the search feature to locate information by keyword.

Flitter Milz represents people with a variety of problems involving consumer credit and collections. If you have a particular question or believe your consumer rights have been violated, Contact Us for a no cost consultation.

How to Dispute Errors on Your Credit Report

Because your credit affects so many aspects of your life, it’s important to check your credit report regularly to make sure all information is correct and up to date. Correcting negative listings on your reports can seem like a long and complicated process. But you have the right to dispute credit report errors if any of the listings are inaccurate.

The Dispute Process

  • Request current credit reports from Transunion, Experian, and Equifax

You can request a free copy of your credit report from Transunion, Experian, and Equifax once every twelve months. You can get a free report more often if certain events occur, such as denial of a credit application or identity theft.

You should request a copy of your credit report from each bureau to make sure that your information is accurate with all three. The bureaus report similar information, but listings can still differ from one report to another. Review all of your reports for accuracy.

WRITE to Transunion, Experian, and Equifax for a copy of your report.

Although you may be able to obtain your report online annualcreditreport.com, we recommend that you request them through the US Mail.  Online, you must accept the terms of a “click” agreement which has language that could affect your ability to bring a lawsuit if the credit bureaus violate your consumer rights.

  • Identify credit report errors

Review each credit report for errors.  You many need to locate documents such as account statements, invoices, cancelled checks, court dockets or correspondence from a creditor or collector that proves why the listing is incorrect.  Gather your documents and attach them to your dispute letter.

Five Common Credit Reporting Errors

  1. Inaccurate payment history
  2. Incorrect information, such as your name, address, birth date, SSN
  3. Someone else’s information on your report.
  4. Duplicate information: two listings for the same account.
  5. Unauthorized accounts: accounts opened without your knowledge
  • File a credit report dispute

Send your disputes to the credit bureau through the US Mail, and preferably by a traceable means, such as Certified Mail, Return Receipt.  You need to have proof that your dispute letter was received.

Tips for an effective credit report dispute

  1. Keep your letter concise and to the point. State why the information is incorrect.
  2. Dispute only one  item per letter. If there are two errors, send two separate letters.
  3. Include the credit report date, report number, and page listing of the disputed item on your letter.
  4. Enclose supporting documentation.
  5. Clearly state the action you would like the credit bureau to take.
  6. Keep a copy of your complete dispute letter with supporting documents and mailing receipts.
  • What to do if the inaccurate information remains

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the bureaus are responsible for correcting inaccurate information. If the credit bureau has not corrected the information detailed in your dispute letter, you may need to:

  1. Re-dispute with the bureau
  2. Send a dispute letter to the creditor
  3. Contact a qualified credit report lawyer to evaluate your credit reports, disputes, and responses from the bureaus.

Seek Legal Help

Flitter Milz is a nationally recognized consumer protection law firm that represents victims of credit reporting errors.  Contact us for a free legal evaluation of your credit reports and dispute correspondence, and determine whether your consumer rights have been violated.

Improve Your Credit Health

Make your credit health a priority by assessing your credit and determining where you can make improvements. Set yourself up for success. Identify financial goals and outline clear steps to achieve them.

Resolve to Make Payments On Time

Set up a system and strive to pay your bills on time and in full. 

  • Set up automatic payments on  accounts 
    Payments will be automatically withdrawn from your account, meaning you never run the risk of a forgotten bill.
  • Align payment dates with pay check dates
    Review payment due dates for your accounts. If an important bill is due right before you receive your pay check, contact the creditor to see if your due date could be adjusted to coordinate with your pay check date.
  • Set reminders for bill payment due dates
    Mark your calendar for dates when your payment must be made.  If you send your payment through the mail, note the mailing date so that your payment is received by the creditor on time.
  • Contact the creditor to request deferment
    If you know that you won’t be able to make a loan payment on time, contact the lender before the due date passes. The lender may allow you to defer payments until your financial situation improves. A deferment still appears on your credit report, but a deferment doesn’t reflect as negatively as a default.

Resolve to Reduce Debt

Determine a set amount that you can put toward debt payoff each month.

Identify a set time period to pay off specific debts. With focus and discipline, small manageable payments will help achieve your goal. Also, these regular on time payments show responsibility to creditors.

Improve Your Credit Score & Credit Report

A credit score is derived from a formula of your payment history, length of credit, type of credit and credit usage.  It is an indicator of how likely you are to pay your bills on time.  Scores range from 300 to 850.  A lower score means that you may be a higher risk to a prospective lender, resulting in a credit denial or unfavorable credit terms for a loan.

An accurate credit report may raise your credit score.

You can get a free credit report from each of the three main credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion, every twelve months. Check your report regularly to ensure that all information is accurate and up to date. If there are errors, dispute them by sending a letter directly to the credit bureaus. Your letter should include documents, such as an account statement or cancelled check, that proves why the error should be corrected.

In addition, you may want to write to the creditor to dispute a credit report error. Show a copy of your report and state why the listing is incorrect.  Request the creditor write the credit bureau to correct the listing.

Seek Free Legal Help

Flitter Milz is a nationally recognized consumer protection law firm representing victims with credit reporting accuracy and privacy issues. Contact us for a free legal evaluation to determine whether your consumer rights have been violated by the credit bureaus, debt collectors or lenders.

How Credit Reports Affect your Job Search

Your credit report affects many aspects of your life, which is why it is important to check your reports regularly to ensure that all of the information listed is up to date and accurate. You likely already know that your credit report and credit score indicate your creditworthiness to lenders. This information impacts whether or not you can secure a loan or get approved to finance a car or a home. It may also have an effect on your ability to get a job.

Employment Screening Report

Your credit report and another type of consumer report, called an employment screening report, are sometimes used by employers when reviewing applicants for open positions, or when an employee is being considered for a promotion. These reports have frequently been used by companies within banking and financial services, government, or jobs that require security clearance, but have come to be standard for other industries as well. Trucking, nursing, food, and retail services are using screening reports more and more frequently during the applicant review process.

Inaccuracies Can Hurt You

Screening reports may contain inaccurate information about your past employment, medical or financial history, criminal and public records, or education. These inaccuracies can prevent you from getting a promotion or securing a new job.

Employers Need Your Permission

An employer needs your permission before accessing your credit report or performing a background check. Third party firms that prepare background reports, such as HireRight, Intelius, or CheckMate, may have exemptions.

The employer must receive your written permission before obtaining the report, and also inform you when the report may be used in the hiring process or for consideration of a promotion.

Screening Services Must Inform You of Negative Information

Employment screening report services are also obligated to tell you about any negative information that is reported to an employer. Frequently, negative information is not relayed to an applicant until days or weeks after the employer received the information.   At that point, the job opportunity may be lost.

When an employer obtains the report and decides not to hire, keep, or promote you as a result of the information, they are obligated to provide you with a copy of the report, along with contact information for the company that provided it. If any of the information is inaccurate, you can send a written dispute letter to the company and request that the information be corrected or removed.

When a credit reporting company doesn’t correct inaccurate information, the consumer may have a claim under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Get a Free Legal Evaluation

Flitter Milz is a nationally recognized consumer protection law firm that represents consumers who have inaccurate information listed on credit reports or employment reports.  Contact us to discuss whether your consumer rights have been violated.  There is no cost for the legal review.

Someone Else’s Information is on my Credit Report

Credit reports impact many aspects of  your life — from getting approval on loans to purchase an automobile or finance a home, to being hired for a job or renting an apartment.  Therefore, the accuracy of a credit report is extremely important as this information impacts credit decisions.

Errors on credit reports are common.
The Federal Trade Commission released a report indicating that 1 in 5 consumers that examined their credit reports found mistakes.  Sometimes those errors occur due to someone else’s information appearing on your report.  Common errors include misspelled names, wrong or outdated addresses, wrong birth date, incorrect social security number, outdated or incorrect employment history, or reporting you as deceased when you aren’t. These errors may occur because of:

Human Error:
Sometimes data is entered incorrectly
Identity Theft:
Someone open accounts in your name
Confusion: 
Your name may be similar to someone else; you may share other common information, such as a birth date or a similar social security number, or you may have the same name and address but are a Jr., Sr., III.
Your Error:
Sometimes incorrect information is filled out on an application, or you may have used a different variation of your name, such as calling yourself “Jon” instead of “Jonathan”.

Errors that appear on credit reports must be corrected. 

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires the credit bureaus and creditors to accurately report your information and preserve your privacy.

Steps to Correct Credit Report Errors

Request a Current Credit Report
Every twelve months you can request one free credit report from each credit bureau – Transunion, Experian, and Equifax.  You’ll need to provide proof of identity, such as a current driver’s license, pay stub or utility bill, for security purposes. You can also access your credit report online at: annualcreditreport.com.

Review Your Report

Review your report and check for any inaccuracies. Make sure that your name, address, and social security number are correct. Look for any listings that you don’t recognize. Unfamiliar accounts could be someone else’s information or a mis-merged file.

Dispute Inaccuracies

If you see someone else’s information, you need to write and dispute the credit report directly with that bureau. Include a copy of the incorrect report with the disputed item highlighted. Briefly state the reason why this item is incorrect and attach any supporting documentation that explains the error. Send your letter to the bureau by Certified Mail, Return Receipt. The bureaus have 30 days to respond to your dispute. Be sure to keep copies of all dispute correspondence to and from the credit bureaus.

Seek Legal Help

Flitter Milz is a consumer protection law firm that represents victims with credit reporting errors.  If the credit bureaus have not corrected inaccurate information on your report, Contact Us for a free legal review.  We will evaluate whether your consumer rights have been violated under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

8 Steps to Better Credit

Your credit report isn’t just for loans anymore! Job offers, promotions, security clearances, and insurance quotes are now routinely affected by your credit report or other types of consumer reports.

Follow these steps to rebuild and improve your credit.

Request Current Credit Reports

You’re entitled to a free credit report from each of the three credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion, every twelve months under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), and more often if you are the victim of identity theft or on public assistance. Request your credit report regularly and check that all information is accurate.

Address Any Credit Inaccuracies

Credit report errors are fairly common. If there is inaccurate information on your credit report, it’s important that you address it. Write and dispute directly with the bureaus. Include a current copy of the report with your dispute. It will be helpful to highlight the disputed item. Your dispute letter should briefly state why this item is listed incorrectly. Attach any supporting documentation that illustrates your claim. Send your letter to the credit bureau by Certified Mail, Return Receipt.  The bureaus have 30 days to respond to your dispute. If the bureaus don’t correct the error, you may need to send a second dispute.  Be sure to keep copies of all dispute correspondence.

Pay Bills in Full and on Time

Falling behind on payments will have a negative impact on your credit history. Always pay your bills in full and by the date listed on the statement or invoice.

Review Current Accounts

Pay down balances on existing credit cards or loans and pay off delinquent accounts. Be strategic about closing cards; consider keeping cards that you’ve had for a long time that show a consistent payment history and consider closing those with high interest. You should only maintain credit accounts that you can afford.

Maintain Stable Employment

A lapse in employment history can harm your credit. A high debt to income ratio will also negatively impact your credit history.

Do Not Max-out Credit Cards

Part of your credit score is based on your credit utilization, or the percentage of your available credit you use. Never use the maximum amount of available credit. Doing so will hurt your credit score. It’s best to not exceed fifty percent of your available credit.

Do Not Co-sign Loans

When you agree to cosign on a loan, you are liable for payment of the loan, despite any side agreement you may have with the other borrower. If the borrower defaults, you will be responsible for making payments. Co-signing brings a significant risk that you likely don’t want to take on as you rebuild your credit.

Building Credit Takes Time and Discipline

Remember that you must be responsible with credit. Always pay on time and maintain the terms of the credit agreement.

Seek Legal Help

Flitter Milz is a consumer protection law firm that represents victims with credit reporting problems, harassment from debt collectors, and wrongful vehicle repossessions.  Whether you fell behind on payments or not, the credit bureau, debt collector and lender must follow the law.  Contact us for a free legal review to determine whether your consumer rights have been violated.

Does Divorce Hurt Your Credit?

Getting divorced can come with plenty of heartache, paperwork, and even financial burden. But one of those struggles does not have to include a dip in your credit score just because you signed divorce papers

Be proactive.  Take the following steps to evaluate your personal credit and those accounts that are shared jointly with your ex-husband or wife.  If there are errors on your report, dispute them by sending a letter to the credit bureau(s).  It is important to maintain a report with accurate information. 

Obtain current credit reports

Write to Transunion, Experian and Equifax for a current copy of your credit files.  You are entitled to one free copy every twelve months.  You may have to pay a fee if you want to receive a copy more frequently.

Review your credit reports

Although the credit bureaus share information about your credit history, the actual information reported from one bureau may differ from another.  Obtain a copy from each bureau and review the listings.

 Dispute Errors on your report

Send a written dispute to the bureau(s) that list inaccurate information on your credit file. Be sure to enclose documents that support your claim of an error on the report.  The credit bureaus have 30 days to respond to your dispute.  If the information is not corrected, you may need to send a second, or sometimes third, dispute to the credit bureau.

Get Legal Help

Flitter Milz is a consumer protection law firm that represents victims of inaccurate credit reporting.  Contact us for a free evaluation of your reports and correspondence you’ve had with the credit bureaus.  If your consumer rights have been violated, you may have a lawsuit to bring against the credit reporting agency.

 

Why is the Same Debt Listed Multiple Times on My Credit Report?

If a creditor assigns or sells your account to a collection agency, it is possible that the creditor and collection agency will list the same debt on your credit report. Multiple negative listings for the same obligation can lower credit scores and make it more difficult to get approved for a personal loan, buy a car, or refinance a home. These duplicates are not legal. What should you do?

Correct Your Credit Report

Even if you pay the debt, the duplicates could still appear on your credit report. If you spot a duplicate entry, write and dispute the inaccurate listing on your credit report directly with the credit bureau.

Your dispute letter should include a copy of the report with the disputed item highlighted. Briefly state why this item is listed incorrectly. Attach any supporting documentation that will verify your claim. Send your letter to the credit bureau by certified mail with a return receipt so that you have proof your dispute was received. The bureaus have 30 days to respond to your dispute.

Take Action and Get Results

If you are struggling to correct errors on your credit report, seek the guidance of a qualified credit report law firm. Obtaining good advice to resolve credit reporting errors may help in reaching future financial goals.

Seek Legal Help

Flitter Milz is a nationally recognized consumer protection law firm that represents victims with credit reporting accuracy and privacy problems.  Contact Us for a free consultation to determine whether your consumer rights have been violated.

How Does Your Credit Grade Stack Up?

Good grades are not just for students. Do you know how your credit grade stacks up? You may want to buy a car, refinance your mortgage loan, or simply need a loan to pay off existing obligations. If you haven’t looked at your credit reports lately, now is a good time.

And it goes without saying, the higher your credit score, which is a numerical calculation based on your credit reporting history, lenders will offer more favorable credit terms.

When Can I Get a Free Credit Report?

You can obtain one free credit report from Transunion, Experian, and Equifax every twelve months, or under the following circumstances:

  • You have been denied credit within the past 60 days
  • You are a victim of identity theft
  • You are on public assistance
  • You are unemployed and plan to seek employment within 60 days

To request a credit report, the bureaus ask that you provide for security purposes proof of identity, such as a current driver’s license, pay stub or utility bill. It may take 10 to 15 days to receive your reports by mail. As well, you could request reports online by visiting: annualcreditreport.com, or call:  877-322-8228.

How to Dispute Credit Report Errors

Common credit reporting errors include mixed credit files, stale data, misapplied payments, reports of judgments or bankruptcies that are not yours.  After reviewing a current credit report, if you see an inaccurate listing, you must dispute it promptly in writing.  Enclose documents that will illustrate the error. Send your dispute letter to the bureaus by Certified Mail, Return Receipt so that you have proof your letter was received.  The bureaus have 30 days to respond to your dispute.  If the error has not been corrected, you may need to send a second dispute.

Seek Legal Advice

Flitter Milz is a consumer protection law firm that represents people with problems involving credit reporting privacy and accuracy issues, contact from abusive debt collectors and wrongful vehicle repossessions by banks and credit unions.  Contact Us for a free evaluation of your legal concern.

 

Does Your Credit Report List the Same Account More Than Once?

If a creditor sells your account to a debt buyer, sometimes both the creditor and the debt buyer will list the same debt on your credit report. Duplicate listings can lower credit scores and make it more difficult to get approved for a loan, buy a car, refinance a home, or get a job. Even if you pay the debt, duplicate listings may remain on your report.

Steps to Dispute Errors on your Credit Report

  • Obtain current credit reports from Transunion, Experian, and Equifax. Consumers are entitled to obtain a free credit report every twelve months from each bureau.
  • Send written disputes to the credit bureaus that show a duplicate listing. Include a current copy of your credit report with the disputed item highlighted. Briefly state why the duplicate listing should be removed. Attach any supporting documentation that will support your claim.
  • Written disputes that are mailed to the credit bureau are most effective. Additional supporting documents can be submitted with the dispute.
    Online disputes have limitations for the number of words and characters which may restrict the explanation of a complex dispute.
  • Send your dispute letter through the US Mail by Certified Mail, Return Receipt, or by another traceable means such as FEDEX.  You need written confirmation showing the dispute was received.  The bureaus have 30 days to respond to your dispute.
  • Keep a file with all dispute correspondence sent and received from the credit bureaus.

Get Legal Help

Flitter Milz is a consumer protection law firm that represents people with  credit reporting problems.  When there is an error on a credit report that the bureaus do not correct, there may be a violation of the consumer’s rights. Contact us for a free evaluation.