You have the right to dispute any information in your credit report that's inaccurate, incomplete, or you believe can't be verified. When you order your credit report, you'll receive instructions on how to dispute credit report information. Credit reports ordered online typically come with instructions for making disputes online, but you can also make disputes over the phone and through the mail.
The Best Method for Credit Repair Disputes
Disputing online is often faster and easier, but leaves you with no paper trail (you could take screenshots of your dispute). The same thing goes for making a dispute over the phone. Sending your disputes through regular mail has several advantages. First, you can also send proof that supports your dispute, for example a cancelled check showing you make your payment on time. You can also keep a copy of the dispute letter for your records. Finally, if you send your dispute via certified mail with return receipt requested - which you should - you have proof of the time you mailed. This is important because credit bureaus have 30-45 days to investigate and respond to your dispute.
Since you'll be sending multiple disputes, you can keep a credit report dispute template on your computer that you can modify for different disputes and different credit bureaus.
Sending Your Dispute
When you send your dispute, send also include a copy of your credit report with item you're disputing highlighted and a copy (not the original) of any proof you have that supports your dispute. If you don't send enough information about your dispute, the credit bureau can decide your dispute is frivolous and decline to investigate the dispute or update your credit report. But, if your dispute is legitimate, the credit bureau will conduct an investigation, which is often as simple as asking the creditor if the information is accurate, and come back to you with a response.
Credit Bureau Dispute Alternative
You can also send your disputes directly to the bank or business who listed the information on your credit report. They have the same legal obligation to investigate your dispute and remove inaccurate, incomplete, or unverifiable information from your credit report.
What Happens After a Dispute
If the dispute is successful and your credit report is updated, the bureau will make the change, alert the other credit bureaus, and send you an updated copy of your credit report. On the other hand, if the item isn't removed from your credit report, your report will be updated to show that you've disputed the information and you'll be given the opportunity to add a personal statement to your credit report. Personal statements don't affect your credit score, but give additional insight into your dispute when a business manually review your credit report.More on Credit Reports & Disputes