Common Mistakes to Avoid When Disputing

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you have the right to dispute errors on your credit report and credit reporting agencies are required to investigate the dispute. It’s important to know what to do, and what not to do, when disputing in order for you to get your credit report fixed. These are the top 5 mistakes made when disputing an error and how you can avoid them.

1. Not getting the credit bureau involved

While it may seem easier to deal with the lender, letting the credit bureau know of the error on your report may help track down where things went wrong. By skipping a dispute with the credit bureau, you risk not being able to fight back should the lender fail to correct the mistake. You can’t sue the lender for failing to investigate if you haven’t yet disputed with the credit reporting agency. You can sue if a credit bureau or lender fails to properly investigate your dispute.

2. Skipping over the credit bureau’s fine print on an agreement

We’ve all done it; you fill out a form and check the box stating that you have read and understand the terms and conditions when you actually didn’t. However, some credit bureaus put an arbitration agreement in their terms of use. While you can still dispute an error on your credit report, the credit bureau can legally press the arbitration clause that gave up your right to bring your case to a jury or join in a class-action lawsuit against the bureau. This makes it much more difficult to prove your case and win damages. To protect your right to sue, you can mail an opt-out letter within 30 days of receiving the inaccurate report.

3. Losing the evidence that makes your claim legitimate

If you’ve sent in multiple disputes to a credit reporting agency regarding the same issue and yet nothing is fixed, you could potentially sue the credit bureau. Doing this, however, means having a lot of evidence available to prove they’ve ignored your disputes. Your case won’t get far if you don’t have a thorough record. Save any kind of documentation that shows the credit bureau received your dispute, including but not limited to:

  • Certified mail receipts
  • Photocopies of letter(s) sent
  • Financial paperwork, especially any denial of credit you’ve received
  • Date and time of dispute-related calls

Be sure to directly submit this information yourself rather than having a credit repair company submit on your behalf. It won’t count and the bureaus don’t have to investigate anything from a credit repair company.

4. Not giving a detailed dispute

A credit reporting agency’s website may have an online dispute form that you can fill out, coming across as more convenient than making a phone call or sending a formal letter or email. However, these online forms may limit the character count or keep you from attaching additional documents to claim. The credit bureau may say they didn’t have enough details from you in order to properly investigate. Send in a letter that explains in full detail why your report and the information on it is incorrect and gives proof to your claim. Be sure to save a copy for your files.

5. Not knowing the statute of limitations on your debt

Debt collectors like to use threats and harassment to pressure you into paying debt that’s past its statute of limitations. Knowing the timeline of the debt you owe is vital information. You can hold credit bureaus liable for failing to observe the time limits on your debt. If it’s past the statute of limitations, you can fight back against the debt collector. Be careful not to re-age the debt, which could happen if you pay back part of an expired debt; this makes it harder to fight back as it can restart the debt’s statute of limitations clock.

Tired of getting nowhere with your dispute?

The overall theme when it comes to checking your credit report and disputing errors is to be as thorough and detail-oriented as possible. Leave no stone unturned and make sure you have all your facts aligned. If you’ve sent in dispute after dispute about errors on your credit report, the consumer protection lawyers at Francis Mailman Soumilas, P.C. are ready to help you fix this. Call 1-877-735-8600 and get your free case review today to get started.