How to Repair Credit after a Credit Card Lawsuit Part 2

This is the 2nd part of a 2-article series focus on improving credit score after a devastating credit card lawsuit. The first three steps in the previous article touched on how to obtain a free credit report, and the steps needed to identify inaccurate information that may hurt your credit score. This article provides the information needed to report dispute inaccuracies, and tips to get your credit clean.

STEP 4: Report inaccurate information to reporting agencies

If you have found incorrect information or duplicates on your report, you have the right to dispute that information. This is the most important thing you can do to repair your credit. Federal law places the burden of proof of reporting accuracy on reporting agencies. If they cannot find evidence to support negative items on your credit report, they must remove such items. You can contact the report agency by online, phone or mail.

Credit Dispute Preparation

The first thing you need to do when changeling items on your credit report is to identify and collect all the information the reporting agency will request from you. This information you need to have on-hand prior to contacting the reporting agencies. This include personal information that verifies your identify, and details on disputed items that helps the agency reference the proper negative item on your report.

Please have the following ready in preparation of your dispute:

  • Your full name including middle initial (and generation such as JR, SR, II, III)
  • Your date of birth
  • Your Social Security number (if you have never been issued a social security number, please note that in your request)
  • All addresses where you have lived during the past two years
  • One copy of a government issued identification card, such as a driver’s license or state ID card, etc. (if disputing by mail)
  • One copy of a utility bill, bank or insurance statement, etc. (if disputing by mail)
  • List each item on your report that you believe is inaccurate, the account number and the specific reason you feel the information is incorrect.

Download (PDF, Unknown)

Once you have gathered all the necessary information, you are ready to contact the report agency to report you dispute. This can be done either by telephone, mail or online. We strongly suggest you use the web forms on reporting agencies website, as this will allow you to track the status of your dispute. We strongly suggest you file your dispute online!

File Dispute Online (Recommended)

The main credit reporting agencies now enable disputes to be filed online and this is quickest and most convenient way to do this. Fill-in the online forms and submit your dispute with as many details as possible. In some cases, you will be able to upload copies of receipts, payments, and statements to support your dispute.

The dispute web addresses for the 3 main reporting agencies are listed here:

File Dispute by Mail

If you would rather, you can also file a dispute by mail. The company websites outline instructions if you decide to do it this way.

Mailing Instructions for 3 main reporting agencies are listed here:

File Dispute by Phone:

To file a dispute over the phone, dial the appropriate number below:

  • TransUnion Phone: 800-916-8800
  • Equifax: 866-349-5191
  • Experian Phone: Contact toll-free number listed on credit report

What to expect after you have filed a dispute with reporting agency?

You should hear back regarding the results of the investigation between 30-45 days. In the meantime, you can check your dispute status online. When the credit reporting agency inform you of their decision, they should also send you a copy of your amended report. Be sure to check all of the details again.

If negative items are removed from your report, you can be sure that your credit score will improve. How much it improves depends on what negative items are removed. Some items such as bankruptcy, foreclosure and repossession are more damaging than late payments and credit rejections, although every little bit helps.

Filing Dispute directly with Creditor (Optional)

As an alternative to filing a dispute with a reporting agency, you can file a dispute directly with the creditor who provided the negative information to the reporting agency. This is typically done by sending a letter (see below) via certified mail ‘return receipt’ directly to the creditor using the creditor’s contact information on your credit report.

Your letter should identify each item you dispute, state the facts and explain why you dispute the information, and ask that the information provider take action to have it removed or corrected. You may want to enclose a copy of your report with the item(s) in question circled. Remember to include copies of the applicable enclosures and save copies for your files.

Download (PDF, Unknown)

According to the law, you should be notified when any creditors place negative listings on your credit report. In view of that, you should be aware of everything listed on your report. If your creditor has not notified you about any of the items, you should contact the creditor requesting its removal, citing their violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Step 5. Stay Persistent!

Try, try again. Staying persistent is the key to get negative items removed from your credit report. If you have not heard back from the reporting agencies in 30-45 days after you request for removal, or your credit report is still showing erroneous information, contact them again! Reporting agencies are typically very good at responding, but it’s not unusual to have to make multiple attempts to have information corrected.

Step 6: Keep it clean!

Whether or not you manage to remove some damaging information from your credit report, one thing everyone can do to repair their credit report is to make sure no new negative items are added to it from now on.

To do this, make sure you:

  • Pay all bills on time.
  • Keep credit card balances low.
  • Open accounts and apply for credit only when absolutely necessary. Each credit inquiry will be listed on your report and high numbers of inquiries can affect your score.

Also, subscribing to a 3 in 1 credit monitoring service such as allows you to keep an active eye on your score, and identify any problems quickly. The service allows you to update and review your credit score every 24 hours, so you’re always up to date.

If you can keep on top of your finances from now on, gradually your credit will repair itself. Remember to check your credit report each year and follow these steps to keep your credit in good shape.