Understanding Dispute Procedures with Credit Bureaus
If you have ever had charges to your credit card you didn’t make, payments that went unrecorded, received orders that were damaged or not what you wanted, or needed to make changes to your credit report, you are one of many people who should learn the right way to dispute charges with the credit bureaus. This article provides you with an overview of what you do need to know when it comes to understanding dispute procedures associated with the major credit reporting agencies.
A Look at the Fair Credit Billing Act
The Fair Credit Billing Act provides an avenue for credit report disputes, and covers credit cards and other revolving accounts. It does not cover installment loans, such as automobile loans and mortgages. It applies to billing disputes, such as unauthorized credit card charges, wrong dates and amounts, failure of the credit card company to post a payment, etc.
Steps to Take to Dispute Charges
To dispute these charges, notify the credit bureau. Then, if it’s found you should pay the bill and you still dispute it, write a letter to your creditor in the billing department that handles inquiries, not the one you send payments to. Include all personal information, including account number, and describe the error or problem, and request correction. Make sure you send this within 60 days after receiving the error, and if you speak with people on the phone get their names, what position they hold in the company, and write down what time you talk to them. Keep a log. Remember that you must continue to pay everything else that you are not disputing.
Dealing with and Resolving Inaccuracies in Your Credit Report
After you notify the credit reporting agency of the inaccuracy, the credit reporting agency will review it. If further investigation is required, they will provide notification of your dispute, including relevant information you may have submitted, to the source that furnished the disputed information to them.
Problems with Installment Loans
For installment loans, the procedure is much the same. Notify the bureau, then the creditor. Sometimes you will get better results by working directly with your loan company and having them correct the mistake and write a letter to the credit bureau. Always get copies of the letter, and keep track of all conversations. Lenders should have dispute procedures and can take care of things quickly for you. Then make sure all parties are notified and the item is removed from your credit report.
Following Up: Preparing a Short Statement
If the matter is not resolved to your liking, you can write a short statement that the reporting agencies must attach to your report. They often limit this to 100 words, so be concise and professional.
For More Information
To learn more about the Fair Credit Billing Act, go to www.ftc.gov.