The Federal Trade Commission’s Fair Credit Reporting Act mandates that credit reporting agencies are responsible for ensuring that accurate information appears in consumer credit reports. If a creditor falsely reports you for making late payments, you have the right to contest the report and petition to have the delinquency removed.
Write a Letter
The FTC provides a sample dispute letter you can send to any credit reporting company that has inaccurate information about your credit usage on file. Include your name and contact information in your letter, and specifiy the inaccurate late entry you’re addressing. Describe why the entry is wrong, and include copies of documents to support your claim, such as a canceled payment check or a credit card or bank statement that shows on-time payment. If you’ve had direct contact with your creditor to try to resolve the mistake, include details about that as well. Send the letter by certified mail, and request a return receipt.
Wait for Investigation Results
Credit reporting agencies are required by the FTC to investigate credit entry disputes promptly, typically within 30 days. The credit agency will contact your creditor and investigate the matter, and if your claim is justified, your creditor must take steps to remove the inaccuracy from all credit bureau reports. You’ll be notified of its findings by mail. If your claim remains unresolved, you have the right to place a statement of dispute in your file for potential creditors to see.
- FTC: How to Dispute Credit Report Errors
- FTC: Free Credit Report
- Federal Trade Commission. "A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act." Page 2. Accessed Feb. 8, 2020.
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "How Do I Dispute an Error On My Credit Report?" Accessed Feb. 8, 2020.
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "Dispute Information Provided For Your Credit Report." Accessed Feb. 8, 2020.
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "What Is a Statute of Limitations On a Debt?" Accessed Feb. 8, 2020.
Lisa McQuerrey has been an award-winning writer and author for more than 25 years. She specializes in business, finance, workplace/career and education. Publications she’s written for include Southwest Exchange and InBusiness Las Vegas.