Negative Reporting By Credit Services – Consequences & Fixes
A bad credit report can prevent you from obtaining credit. If you have trouble obtaining credit, it might be because a credit agency has issued a negative report on you. You might be able to obtain a copy of your report and if it contains false information get it corrected.
Can I see my credit report?
If you are denied credit, you are entitled to a free copy of the consumer credit report that formed the basis for the denial. The creditor is required to tell you the name of the credit reporting agency that prepared the report for you. You must request a copy of your credit report from the agency within sixty days of the denial.
The three major credit reporting agencies are:
- Experian, (800) 301-7195
- Equifax, (800) 525-6285
- Trans-Union, (800) 680-7289
When the creditor tells you the name of the reporting agency that furnished the report, call them to find out their address. Then write a letter to the agency requesting a copy of your report.
Even if you have not been denied credit, it is probably a good idea to check your credit report for accuracy periodically. They often contain mistakes, and when you want to get a loan, you may not have time to correct them. Because you haven’t been denied credit, the report isn’t free. The credit reporting agency is allowed to charge you no more than $8.00 for a copy of your report.
What information is on a credit report?
In general, your credit report will contain information about your credit history during the last seven years. It will show:
- Whom you have borrowed money from
- The amount of the debt
- Whether or not you made the promised payment on time and in full
- The identity of any creditor who has requested information about you
If you file bankruptcy, the information remains on your credit report for ten years.
You have a legal right to challenge the completeness and accuracy of any item in the report.
Write a letter to the credit reporting agency explaining that some of the information in the report is incomplete or inaccurate. The agency must investigate your claim – without charge – within thirty days. The agency is required to delete any information that is inaccurate or whose accuracy cannot be verified.
If the credit reporting agency’s investigation does not resolve the dispute, you have the right to send the agency a brief statement (generally 100 words or fewer) explaining your position. Your statement will become a part of your credit report and will be disclosed to creditors together with the other information in your file.
If you believe a credit reporting agency has violated your rights, contact the Federal Trade Commission or see a lawyer who specializes in consumer rights.