Your score may or may not permanently change after disputing an item on your credit report. Your credit score will increase temporarily as soon as you file a dispute because FICO doesn't include disputed items in your credit report. If the credit bureau agrees with your argument, it will permanently remove the item from your report and your score will increase. If the credit bureau ultimately believes the item is correct, it will reinstate the information and your score will go back down.
It's not uncommon to find incorrect information on your credit report. If you find false information on your report, send a dispute letter to the credit bureau reporting it. You can use the sample dispute letter provided by the Federal Trade Commission to craft your argument. Round up as much documentation as you can that supports your case. For example, if your credit report erroneously states you were delinquent on a bill to Company X, include payment confirmations and check copies with your letter.
You can expect a resolution and a permanent score change within a month or two. Credit bureaus must investigate all serious disputes. They usually respond within 30 days, but the process can take up to 45 days depending on how you initiate the dispute. If the bureau does side with you, it will immediately remove the item from your report.
Based in San Diego, Calif., Madison Garcia is a writer specializing in business topics. Garcia received her Master of Science in accountancy from San Diego State University.