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Disputing Items On a Credit Report

Credit reports are not flawless and many people have had their credit reports and consequently scores severely tarnished through no fault of theirs.  Apart from major errors such as identity mistakes or identity theft, minor errors also can be found in the credit reports of consumers.  The errors include duplicate negative entries, omitted positive credit, inaccurate item details and dated information.  Because it is recognized that each error in a credit report has the potential to adversely affect the credit report, the FCRA allows consumers to dispute the items found on a credit report.

A consumer can report and dispute any error that is found on his/her credit report and request the credit reporting agency to investigate the dispute.  The consumer himself/herself is responsible for finding the errors and correcting the mistakes on a credit report.  The errors shall be explained in detail and include proof and a copy of the credit report to the credit reporting agencies.

Pursuant to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the credit reporting agency shall investigate any disputed items within 30 days and shall provide a notice of the results within 5 business days.  Such notice shall include a copy of the consumer’s credit report if any changes have been made to it.  The credit report can include any one of the following errors:

  • A charge for something that someone else bought using the consumer’s account.
  • A charge that is not properly identified on the consumer’s bill, such as the actual purchase price and purchase date being different than what appears on the bill.
  • A charge for something that was undelivered.
  • Charges showing arithmetical errors.
  • Charges due to failure to show payment or credit to the consumer’s account.
  • Failure to notify the correct billing address if the creditor was notified at least 20 days before the end of the current billing cycle.
  • Charges on any items on which more information is needed.

If any dispute is unverifiable, then the credit reporting agency is required to remove it from the report.  The following items also can be disputed on a credit report:

  • The account number
  • Information about a closed account.
  • Information regarding a late payment.
  • Information regarding bankruptcy.
  • Information regarding non-payment.
  • Details about time of payment.
  • Unverifiable negative credit.
  • Negative credit items on the basis of misleading information.

Pursuant to the FCRA, the credit reporting agencies are not required to investigate disputes that are frivolous or irrelevant.  Because the credit reporting agencies are for profit companies and not  official government entities, such agencies try to avoid investigating disputes as they do not make any money  from such practice.  Therefore, the credit reporting agencies deny a number of investigation requests on the ground of such disputes being “frivolous or irrelevant.”

Inside Disputing Items On a Credit Report