Credit reports give financial institutions the convenience of assessing the financial health of a cardholder. By simply relying on the data provided in the records, banks and lenders can see the credit worthiness of a potential borrower. However, this convenience can also work against cardholders, especially if the reports contain potentially damaging errors.
A survey conducted once discovered that as much as forty percent of all credit reports contained mistakes in the past. This means that most records of cardholders have had errors of varying degrees at one point or another. Any mistakes on the part of the three credit bureaus can have disastrous consequences on a consumer's chances to avail of credit or loans in the future.
Mistakes are often the result of several factors. Clerical errors and even typographical mistakes can severely limit the freedom of cardholders to avail of full benefits. While some mistakes are understandable, some require immediate attention and repair. When left unattended, these errors can have grave effects and negatively impact credit scores and ratings.
Victims of report errors often feel that what they have to go through is unfair. To give them the chance to correct any mistakes, federal law requires credit bureaus to investigate errors and act on them between thirty and ninety days. Failure to do so would mean hefty penalties. Before anything, cardholders have to know how to file complaints and demand the credit agencies to fix any errors.
If consumers suspect potential mistakes in their credit reports, they have to send a formal dispute letter addressed to the credit bureau that provided the report. Cardholders should of course be aware of what they want to complain about. Even before writing a dispute letter, consumers should carefully scrutinize their credit reports and compare the information with their personal records. Many consumers often complain about unexplained purchases and charges. However, this can occur when they refuse to accept any mail purchases but have paid for them online or through the phone.
A dispute letter should include the item being contested, and all the supporting evidence that a cardholder has. Keeping receipts or proof of purchase can help greatly in the event of errors in a credit report.
Dispute letters can then be sent via email or regular mail. Consumers, however, have to follow up their complaints and make sure that the credit bureaus receive their letters. With thousands of Americans sending dispute letters, it is easy to lose a single complaint letter.