Did you know that the law allows you to request a reinvestigation of
information in your credit file that you dispute as inaccurate or incomplete.
There is no charge for this. Everything a credit repair clinic can do for
you legally, you can do for yourself at little or no cost. According to the
Fair Credit Reporting Act:
CHECK CREDIT REPORT
You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report if you've
been denied credit, insurance or employment within the last 60 days. If your
application for credit, insurance, or employment is denied because of
information supplied by a credit bureau, the company you applied to must
provide you with that credit bureau's name, address, and telephone number.
DISPUTE CREDIT REPORT
You can dispute mistakes or outdated items in your credit report for
free. Ask the credit reporting agency for a dispute form or submit your
dispute in writing, along with any supporting documentation. Do not send them
Clearly identify each item in your report that you dispute, explain why you
dispute the information, and request a reinvestigation. If the new investigation
reveals an error, you may ask that a corrected version of the report be sent to
anyone who received your report within the past six months. Job applicants can
have corrected reports sent to anyone who received a report for employment
purposes during the past two years.
When the reinvestigation is complete, the credit bureau must give you the
written results and a free copy of your credit report if the dispute
results in a change. If an item is changed or removed, the credit bureau cannot
put the disputed information back in your file unless the information provider
verifies its accuracy and completeness, and the credit bureau gives you a
written notice that includes the name, address, and phone number of the
You also should tell the creditor or other information provider in
writing that you dispute an item. Many providers specify an address for
disputes. If the provider then reports the item to any credit bureau, it must
include a notice of your dispute. In addition, if you are correct-that is, if
the information is inaccurate-the information provider may not use it again.
If the reinvestigation does not resolve your dispute, have the credit bureau
include your version of the dispute in your file and in future reports.
Remember, there is no charge for a reinvestigation of your credit report.
Reporting Negative Information
Accurate negative information generally can be reported for seven years, but
there are exceptions:
• Bankruptcy information can be reported for 10 years;
• Information reported because of an application for a job with a salary of more
than $75,000 has no time limitation;
• Information reported because of an application for more than $150,000 worth of
credit or life insurance has no time limitation;
• Information concerning a lawsuit or a judgment against you can be reported for
seven years or until the statute of limitations runs out, whichever is longer;
• Default information concerning U.S. Government insured or guaranteed student
loans can be reported for seven years after certain guarantor actions.
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