The process for credit dispute and repair is lengthy and can be intricate or confusing. Outlined below is the process for finding errors in your credit report and correcting them. You can undertake this on your own behalf or you can contact us to have the lawyers at Florida Litigators review your credit reports for free, with no strings attached. If issues are discovered, Florida Litigators will be happy to continue work on a contingency basis to investigate and raise defense on your behalf.

The first step in the process is to review your credit reports for accuracy.  To do this, it is important that your actual credit reports are reviewed.  We must know what the real credit report says.  The first step is simple but all too often confused as people often turn to credit monitoring services to address credit reporting issues.  Credit monitoring services can be good (such as Credit Karma, MyFico, and Smartcredit), but these services do not provide your official credit report. The information provided by these services may be similar but are not the actual information on your credit report.  The credit monitoring services tend to not show inquiries, or they will only show the hard inquiries with soft pulls not showing up.  We must know what the real credit report says. The credit report must come directly from the credit reporting agencies, the Primary three are:

  1. Equifax
  2. Experian
  3. Trans Union

The easiest way to get all three of your credit reports for free (from these three agencies) is to visit https://www.annualcreditreport.com.  Once you access the credit reports it is relatively easy to save them to pdf.

Another way to get your credit reports is to go directly to the individual reporting agencies – www.myequifax.com, www.experian.com, www.transunion.com.  However, Transunion may charge you and it may be difficult saving your Equifax as a pdf.

There are also a number of smaller credit reporting agencies, the largest of these  are Innovis and Sagestream.  These credit reports are not necessary but are good to check.  They can be retrieved at:

https://Innovis.com/personal/creditReport

https://www.sagestreamllc.com/comsumer-report

Expect that with Innovis and Sagestream, it won’t be instant like with the big three and may take about a week to receive your report.

Second, we start by checking the biographical information: name, date of birth, social security number.   Is the biographical information, correct?  This is often skipped when reviewing a credit report for errors, but it is important.  A common example is if your name is spelled wrong, that is not your name.  You may have multiple {valid} names but you should have just one date of birth and social security number.  The biographical information also includes things connected to you:  your address, phone number, and place of employment.  If the address is incorrect, you may not receive pre-screened offers that are meant for you.  Old phone numbers should be removed.  It is important to get it fixed to prevent identity theft and the possibility of mixed merged files, but it is also important generally as to the accuracy of your report.

The biographical information tends to fall into three categories: Correct, incorrect but was correct in the past, and never was correct.  In the dispute letter we start biographical information that is correct to identify you and then list the other two categories for removal.

Third, we look to public records.  Public records which appear on credit reports include bankruptcies, judgments, and tax liens. The Primary credit reporting agencies regularly report bankruptcies but it is uncommon to find judgment or tax liens on credit reports.  In reviewing bankruptcy information on the credit report look at the actual court information and compare it to what appears on the credit report.  Is the chapter of bankruptcy, correct?  Is the Court, the case number, the date filed, the date dismissed, the date of discharge correct?  Is the information listed on each credit report or is there information missing and incomplete on some or all of the credit reports?

Fourth, we look at Inquires.   There are two types of inquires that appear on your credit report hard inquires and soft inquires.  Soft inquires do not affect your score.  Hard Inquires typically do affect your score, however, examples of hard inquiries that should not affect your score are multiple inquires for mortgage or car loans within a short period of time.  When mortgage or car loan inquires occur within a short period of time it is usually because the consumer was shopping around for rates or for different vehicles and this is considered by the credit scoring models.

There are generally four types of common inquires.  When you are applying for credit or insurance, when you are in a business relationship with a company, collection pulls, and promotional pulls.  When you are applying for credit or initiate business with a company, they generally need to tell you they will pull your credit report or you need to initiate the transaction.  In some instances, courts have ruled that the companies do not need to tell you and ask for permission.  To evaluate credit pulls, we identify the company, whether it’s a soft or hard pull, determine if you were doing business with the company at the time of the pull, did you apply to do business with the company, did you apply for credit or insurance with the company, and is the company a collector.

Fifth, we identify errors and incomplete line items.  The FCRA says if information is incomplete or inaccurate it should be fixed or deleted.  Or, if it cannot be verified it should be deleted.  Typical errors on credit reports include – accounts which are not yours as the result of mixed or merged files or identity theft, bankruptcy errors showing discharged debt with a balance or are reporting as late after the bankruptcy filing,  as well as status and pay history errors which include wrong balance, inconsistent payment history, missing payment history, and wrong status.

There are two types of errors wrong information and incomplete information.  Inconsistencies between reports and within reports provide for an opportunity to dispute.  For example, if Trans Union has a 30 day late, Equifax has a 60 day late, and Experian has the account marked as 90 days late, two of the three credit reporting agencies have the wrong information.  This is an example of inconsistency across reports.  When there is inconsistency between reports, if the dispute letter is addressed to each of the insurers, there is an opportunity to present your dispute as a question asking the credit reporting agencies to investigate and explain the discrepancies.

An example of inconsistency within a report which also involves misreporting of days late is when you have a “more than 60 day(s) late” for one month, and a “current” or “ok” status for the month prior, one of the two entries must be incorrect.  Further, if the credit report has a date of first delinquency and the payment history for the stated date is “current” or “ok” this is another example of an inconsistency within a report.

Another common error in reporting involving days late is rounding up.  For example, if your payment is due on the 1st of the month and you make a payment later that month on the 29th, the furnisher may report it as 30 days late.  However, you were not 30 days late you were 28 days late.  This is wrong information.

The balance reported may be incorrect.  For example, if you owed $5,000.00 on a Discover card and you paid $2,000.00 to settle the debt often a balance of $3,000.00 will show on the credit report which is wrong, because you owe zero.

Sometimes accounts are reported that you never opened.  You are not an authorized user on the account, but it still shows up on the report.  This is inaccurate information which can result from a mixed merged file or identity theft.  Either way, it needs to be removed.

If you filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy and received a discharge your debt is wiped out.  If the credit reporting agency still shows a correct day late on a credit card which was prior to the bankruptcy this is okay.  However, if the credit card account is showing a balance greater than zero, days past due greater than zero, or a past due amount this information is incorrect.  The credit report may include a notation that the credit card account was included or discharged in bankruptcy but regardless there should be no negative information remaining on the report.

Another example of incomplete information is a gap in payment history which might report no balance, no payment due, and no payment received.  In this case, you have the right for the information to be completed on your credit report or the account to be removed from your credit report.  Those are the only two options for the credit reporting agencies which cannot maintain incomplete information.  Depending on how the account reflect on your report you may want to consider only asking for the credit reporting agencies to complete the information.

Sometimes the date of last payment will show as blank.  Unless you never made a payment this information would be considered incomplete.   If the account overall is negative, you should dispute and request removal. If there is a field, it should not be blank.  If you have paid off an account, it should not continue to show a charge off status.  Often the credit reporting agencies do not update the status.

Sixth, a letter detailing all of these findings needs to be drafted. Below is the contact information for these companies and an example of how that letter might be laid out if you wanted to attempt the process yourself. The letter will need to be sent to each of these agencies via certified mail and tracked for response time prior to initiating a lawsuit. Or you can reach out to us at Florida Litigators and our team can do all the research, compile and notate all the erroneous information and contact each of these agencies on your behalf at no cost to you.

Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested

Experian

PO BOX 4500

Allen, TX 75013

 

Equifax information Services, LLC

PO Box 740256

Atlanta, GA 30374

 

Trans Union

PO Box 2000

Chester, PA 19016

 

Innovis Consumer Assistance

PO Box 1640

Pittsburgh, PA 15230

 

SageStream, LLC Consumer Office

PO Box 503793

San Diego, CA 92150

 

To whom it may concern:

I am writing to you under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.  I want my credit report to be 100% accurate and complete.  I do not want any incorrect or misleading information on my reports.

I am disputing false or inaccurate information on my credit report with your companies and I want Experian, Equifax Information Services, Trans Union, Innovis, and SageStream to carefully investigate and delete all false information

The following information used to be correct but is now wrong and I would like this incorrect information removed from my credit reports.

My name used to be _____________ but that is not my name now and I do not go by that name.  Remove this incorrect information.

At one time in the past, I lived at XXXXXXXXXXXXXX but I no longer live there.  I do not want any person or company using my old address because of the risk of identity theft or and the chance of my personal information going to an old address where I will not receive the mail. Remove this incorrect information.

At one time these were my phone numbers, but these phone numbers are no longer accurate.  XXXXXXX.  I do not want any company or person calling the old numbers as I do not know who owns these numbers.  I don’t want my personal information going to a stranger and want to limit the risk of identity theft.  Remove this incorrect information.

I no longer work at these places so remove them.  I only want my current employer listed.  There is no reason for anyone to contact the places I no longer work at: xxxxxxx.

There is false information on my credit report which has never been correct

My name has never been

My date of birth was never

My social security number was never

I never lived at these addresses:

I never had these phone numbers: