I just read an excellent article by Elizabeth Fisher entitled You Have a Right to Dispute Your Credit Report. It is a quick and highly informative read. Ms. Fisher notes that her credit bureau contained a pile inaccuracies that painted her as a deadbeat. Clearly, she is not. She is not alone. Approximately 80% (yup..you read that right…80%) of all credit reports contain errors.
As consumers, we are so daunted and bullied by big business and their computers, we simply take it for granted that what they are telling our potential credit grantors MUST be accurate. I am here to tell you, that it ain’t all true and it is affecting your financial condition. Here are some of the most common errors:
1. Mismerge – Your name is Jim Smith. The credit bureau might merge another Jim Smith’s informaiton into your bureau. Forget that he has a different social security number. If he has derogatory information on his bureau, it gets posted to yours.
2. Debts that are out of statute. – You may have debts that are no longer collectible because they are out of statute. The credit bureau may still report this debt as owed even though it is not supposed to do so. Bad debts can be reported for up to 8 years. Prior bankruptcies are reported for up to 10 years.
3. Late payments that were not late.
Disputing these debts is easy. You can dispute any debt on your bureau on line with the credit reporting bureau. Once you dispute the debt, the bureau has 30 days to verify the debt with the credit reporter. If the bureau is unable to get verification of the debt, then it must remove the debt from your bureau. If the bureau gets a confirmation of the debt from the credit reporter, you can then sue both the credit reporter and the credit bureau. DO NOT LET THE CREDIT BUREAUS bully you into thinking its a long and arduous hassle to get a debt removed from you bureau because it is not. They are governed by the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the recent update called Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA).
You have credit and you have rights. Don’t be afraid to use either of these.