Many people living in California and around the country have negative information on their credit reports. In some cases, this information is correct, but inaccurate information can also appear on credit reports.
Negative information can have a significant impact on a consumer’s financial health and personal life. A poor credit score, as well as the appearance of collections, late payments or judgment accounts on a credit report, can keep somebody from getting a job, getting a favorable rate on insurance, buying a house or qualifying for a security clearance.
Fair Credit Reporting Act
If you are concerned about inaccurate information on your credit reports, you should know that federal law gives you the right to dispute erroneous information that is being reported by the credit bureaus. The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires credit reporting agencies to research disputes and make changes in your reports if they cannot verify the included information.
Contacting the credit bureaus
To correct credit report errors, you should first order copies of your credit reports from each of the three major credit bureaus: Trans Union, Experian and Equifax. You should do this because each bureau produces its own credit reports, and an error on one may be repeated on another.
Next, begin the dispute process. You can do this online, by mail or on the phone. You will need to indicate the erroneous information and explain why the information is in error. If you have documentation that shows the information is incorrect, such as paid invoices, copies of canceled checks or correspondence between you and the original creditor, be sure to include this with your request.
After you submit your request, the credit bureau will begin an investigation. If it determines that the information is incorrect, or if it simply cannot verify the information in your reports, the credit bureau should remove the negative reporting.
Getting legal assistance with an error dispute
If you have difficulty getting a credit bureau or original creditor to address inaccurate information on your credit reports, you might want to consider consulting with an experienced consumer rights attorney. A legal professional may help you obtain and organize all the necessary documents to support your claim.