Errors on your credit reports can derail your finances, and sometimes prevent you from obtaining the credit you may need. By checking your credit reports regularly with the three main bureaus — Transunion, Experian and Equifax — you can make sure negative entries and inaccurate listings don’t stand in your way of getting the car loan, mortgage, job or apartment you deserve. Take these steps to work towards your financial freedom.
TRUE STORY from Flitter Milz
Our client purchased a new car after trading in his old car. The finance company failed to report to the credit bureaus that his old car loan was paid in full, and reported him late for several months. The credit bureaus refused to correct their reporting, despite the client’s dispute letters. After hiring Flitter Milz to help sue the credit bureaus. The credit bureaus paid a confidential settlement for slandering his credit.
Step 1: Write for your credit reports
Request a current report from each of the three main credit bureaus –Transunion, Experian, and Equifax. You will need to enclose two forms of identification, such as a current driver’s license and utility bill, with your letter. CLICK HERE: Obtain credit reports from Transunion, Experian and Equifax.
Step 2: Identify problems on your report
Credit reports show the history of credit accounts and illustrate whether a consumer is a good credit risk. Consumers must review their reports for accuracy and take steps to correct inaccurate information. Common credit reporting problems are:
- Mixed Files
Someone else’s information on your report. For example, family members or people with similar names could be mixed with your file. CLICK HERE: Is your Credit Report mixed with someone else’s information?
- Ex-spouse’s information
It’s a common misperception that a divorce decree changes contracts with lenders. Actually, the divorce decree is only an agreement between you and the court. After divorce if an ex-spouse’s information is listed on your credit accounts, you must write the creditor to have his or her name removed.
CLICK HERE: How to maintain good credit during divorce.
- Incorrect notations for Closed Accounts
A closed account on your credit report is an account that is no longer active, meaning it was either closed upon your request or automatically closed by the creditor. The effect of a closed account on your credit report may differ depending on the account standing. An account in positive standing won’t have any negative payment history. Should an account appear to be closed by the creditor when you closed it, this notation could carry negative weight on your credit report and the notation must be corrected.
- Public Record Errors
Judgments, tax liens, bankruptcies, and lawsuits must be listed accurately on credit reports. If a public record is listed incorrectly, or does not belong to you, a dispute letter must be sent to the credit bureau with documents that explain the error.
- Bankruptcy listings
Accounts discharged in bankruptcy need to be identified correctly on your credit report as “discharged in bankruptcy”. In some cases, a bankruptcy can appear on your report because of mistaken identity, identity theft, administrative mistakes, or a completely random error.
- Identity Theft
Accounts opened fraudulently in your name or used without your authorization could appear on your credit reports. Specific steps to stop the theft need to be taken. CLICK HERE: What to do if your Identity is Stolen
- Strange Inquiries
You must provide permission for someone to access your credit report. If there are entries you do not recognize, letters must be sent to the credit bureau to request who obtained your report and for what reason.
- Obsolete Information
In most cases, a credit reporting agency may not report negative information that is more than 7 years old, or bankruptcies that are more than 10 years old. When outdated information is listed on credit reports, a dispute letter must be sent to the credit bureau with documents that support your request for the information to be corrected.
Incorrect payment histories, payment status, closed accounts, etc. must be listed accurately. When credit reports list incorrect information, written disputes must be submitted to the bureaus with documents that support your dispute and illustrate why the error is to be corrected. CLICK HERE: Learn how to read a credit report
Step 3: Have a No Cost Legal Review
Flitter Milz attorneys are nationally recognized consumer protection lawyers with the experience to evaluate your credit reporting problems.
To provide a no cost legal evaluation, we will request that you provide a current copy of your report from each of the three main bureaus — Transunion, Experian, and Equifax, plus documents that illustrate why the information must be corrected. If it appears that you have a valid problem, we may request that you send disputes to the credit bureaus and/or credit furnishers in an attempt to get the problem corrected. Should the error remain, there may be a violation to your consumer rights.
CLICK HERE: Learn to Dispute Credit Report Errors Effectively
Flitter Milz Attorneys (pictured above):
Cary Flitter (center), Andy Milz (left), Jody López-Jacobs (right).