Deep Dive: Disputing Credit Report Items

The good news: you used to have to send physical letters to each bureau to dispute a credit item. No more. Now you can file disputes entirely online with all three bureaus.

The bad news: you still have to file disputes with each bureau (assuming they’re all reporting the same item).

File disputes here:

Consider going directly to the original debtor.

If it’s a debt item, in some cases you can go directly to the original lender/debtor to dispute the credit report item. If they agree it’s in error, you can get them to report it differently to the credit bureaus. This is actually the preferable route – it’s less headache and quicker in the end. But if you do need to file a dispute…

You don’t need dispute letters.

With their online disputes, the bureaus will ask you for a little bit of supporting information, but you don’t need an entire letter.

The bureaus will rarely be late responding to you.

And even if they are, there’s not much you can do about it. You can file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, but your best case scenario there is the credit bureaus get a slap on the wrist. So if you’ve heard that you can get things removed from your credit report because a bureau is a day late responding to you, it’s generally not true.

If you have a successful dispute, check your report to make sure the item is changed or removed

Get help filing disputes if you need it

If you have a large number of disputable items, you may want to consider a paid credit repair companies. They all (ourselves included) have very efficient automated dispute systems in place.

Need help with all this?