The laws in many jurisdictions give consumers the right to dispute a credit report if they believe that it contains incorrect information. The process for disputing a credit report depends both on the policy of the credit bureau issuing the report as well the laws of the jurisdiction where the credit report is issued. In many places, such as the United States, consumers may have the option to dispute a credit report online as well as by postal mail.
If you wish to dispute a credit report, you will need to first understand your area's laws on credit report disputes as well as the way in which the credit bureau that issued your report processes disputes. You should get a recent copy of the report that you believe contains errors, and you should carefully examine each entry. Check for errors in credit limits, amounts owed, as well as payment reporting dates. If you're in the United States, all three of the major credit bureaus offer the option to dispute your credit report online, by telephone, or through regular mail. Some consumer reporting companies, particularly those that offer so-called specialty reports such as tenant screening or banking behavior information, may only accept disputes via mail.
When disputing a credit report by mail, be sure that you indicate the name of the account that is in dispute as well as a detailed explanation of why you believe the information is in error. In many places, the credit bureau is required by law to begin its own investigation into your dispute, but if you can supply additional documentation, the dispute may proceed more quickly and may be more likely to resolve in your favor. Documentation may include canceled checks proving that you made on-time payments, letters showing that an account went into default on a certain date, or police reports showing that you are the victim of identity theft.
After you dispute a credit report, be sure to follow up to make sure that the dispute is completed and that you get the resolution you desire. The credit bureau may be required by law to send you an updated copy of your credit report after a dispute. If not, request one to ensure that the results of the dispute are reflected in your report. If a credit bureau claims to have verified information that you know to be untrue, dispute the report again. On a second dispute, you may want to provide more comprehensive documentation and explanation to help ensure a more satisfactory resolution.