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Reporting Credit Report Errors—and How an Attorney Can Help
Our credit reports are important in almost every aspect of our lives. They determine whether or not we can get a line of credit, if we can rent an apartment, and even sometimes whether or not we get our dream job. That’s why errors on our credit report can be so damaging. A single misreported delinquent account or unpaid debt can have huge ramifications. In fact, about 20 percent of credit report errors actually end up with a denial credit at a later time or higher interest rates.
With such clear consequences, it becomes obvious that reporting credit report errors is a must. In fact, they should be quickly removed. Unfortunately, there are two challenges to reporting credit report errors. First, few people know that these mistakes even exist. While you should be checking your credit report regularly, most people only check sporadically. When they do check their credit report, they often do not look too closely at the individual debts listed and miss potential errors. We assume that our credit reports will be accurate, yet studies indicate that this is not true. As much as one-fourth of all credit reports contain errors that should be corrected.
Even when we do notice errors on our credit reports, it can be challenging to successfully file a dispute. Although credit bureaus are required to remove errors on your credit repot, it is difficult to file this documentation correctly. A letter must be sent to each credit bureau reporting the error in the correct Federal Trade Commission format with accompanying documentation to prove that the error is, in fact, not a true debt. Then you must follow through and assure that the dispute is resolved. Often getting a lawyer to do this paperwork can make the process go more smoothly and quickly, as they are prepared to draw up the appropriate documents easily. If the credit bureau corrects the report, you are done and may not need the lawyer’s services any further; if the credit bureau refuses, though, you are likely to need a lawyer’s help for a lengthier battle.
What Your Options Are When Reporting Credit Report Errors Becomes a Challenge
While it should be a relatively straightforward process to report a credit report error, in reality, this process can be challenging and lengthy without assistance. If the correction you requested is not made, that means that the credit reporting agency has either found no evidence of a mistake or that the creditor listed has verified the debt. This doesn’t mean that you are wrong that the debt does not belong on your credit report. It simply means that further legal action will need to be taken in order to get the correction.
At this point, a consumer debt lawyer will know what steps to take next. Sometimes it can be a simple as knowing whom to contact at the credit reporting agency or the creditor’s organization. When it is made clear that you are serious about pursuing a legal claim, sometimes you are taken more seriously. In other cases, a formal complaint to the Federal Trade Commission or another consumer protection agency will get you the results you desire. In still other cases, you will need to bring a lawsuit against the credit bureau or the creditor under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which will not only clear your debt but also allow you to recover punitive damages and your lawyer’s fees.
If you have an error on your credit report, it could be seriously costing you, even more than you realize. That’s why it is always worth pursuing a claim to get the mistake corrected. If you have found a discrepancy on your credit report consider contacting the experienced consumer law attorneys at Luftman, Heck & Associates. Call us today at (888) 726-3181 to set up a free consultation and find out what you can do to fix your credit report.