In addition to paying your credit card and other bills on time, disputing negative credit items on your credit report is an effective way of improving your credit and raising your credit score. However, most consumers either do not know how to go about doing it or are intimated at the thought of having to contact a creditor or consumer reporting agency. That is where the assistance of an Indiana debt counseling attorney can be extremely helpful. The attorney can advise you of all your legal rights and options and help you sort through your credit report to determine which negative items are disputable.
Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), you are allowed to dispute errors and mistakes on your credit report by contacting the three major credit reporting agencies, TransUnion, Equifax and Experian, online or by writing to them. Be sure to look at the guidelines posted at each credit bureau’s website. Always include your name, address, social security number, the name of the creditor and the account number, reason for the dispute and sign the dispute form or letter. Keep in mind though that each of the major three credit reporting agencies, may have files with different information depending on which of your creditors report to which agency. Many creditors report to all three, but some choose to report to just one.
If you are unsure about what your credit files contain, it is a good idea to order your annual free credit report to review for errors or identity theft from all three agencies. You can order the report online by going to https://www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/index and request the three reports. Once you receive the reports, you should review them carefully. After making your dispute, if your creditor does not respond within 30 days, then the reporting agency must permanently remove the item from your report.
Under the FCRA, consumers are also allowed to contact a creditor directly to dispute any mistakes or incorrect negative items. If you write to your creditor directly, the creditor must provide you with an accounting reflecting your late payments, or they are in violation of the FCRA. They must report the corrected and accurate information to the credit reporting agencies. If they do not, you can ask the credit reporting agencies to permanently block the incorrect negative information, or you can sue the creditor by hiring an Indiana debt counseling lawyer.
Getting Legal Help
While you can try and contact the creditor reporting bureaus or your creditors on your own, you may have a higher degree of success by hiring an Indiana debt counseling attorney to help you with your endeavor. In addition, an Indiana debt counseling attorney can successfully help you negotiate debt reduction and debt settlement, or assist you with other options such filing for bankruptcy.