One of the rights that you have as a consumer is the right to check your credit report (you can get a free report from each bureau at www.annualcreditreport.com each year), and dispute inaccurate items. However, some people take this to mean that any negative item on a credit card will be removed if it is disputed. Unfortunately, this isn’t true.
Which Items Can Be Removed from Your Report?
It’s important to realize that you do have the right to dispute some items on your credit report. However, the credit bureaus don’t have to remove the items from your report unless they are inaccurate. It’s important to understand this fact. You can dispute negative items, but if they are accurate, the bureau can leave them on your report at then end of an investigation into the issue.
If you do have items that are inaccurate, you can write the credit bureaus and ask that the information be removed or changed to reflect the correct situation. Negative items on your credit report can influence your credit score. In some cases, an error can drop your credit score by 20 points or more. It’s important to realize this, and check your credit report regularly, and remain financially literate about your credit and its impacts.
However, if your credit report shows that you have missed some payments, and you have, in fact, missed some payments, the information won’t be removed, even if you do dispute it. And, if you dispute too many accurate items, you might find yourself in trouble for frivolous disputes. Before you dispute an item, make sure that it is an inaccurate item.
Do You Need Someone’s Help to Dispute?
Many people think that they need someone else to help them dispute inaccurate negative items on their credit reports. However, you don’t actually have to pay someone to dispute items on your credit report. While there are companies that will do this for you, including credit monitoring companies, the fact of the matter is that no one can do for you what you can do for yourself.
You can dispute your own negative items by writing a letter to the credit bureau in question. You can include copies (never originals) of documentation to bolster your case. Anyone has this right. It can take a little bit of time, but it’s not that difficult.
Be wary of credit monitoring services that automatically dispute negative items on your credit report. Many of them don’t worry about whether or not the item is accurate, so you might challenge a number of negative items that can remain your credit report. Many of these services will charge a flat fee per dispute, so if the item isn’t a mistake, you can pay for a useless dispute. If you have the option, make sure that you choose to be notified of negative items, but that you don’t give permission for the service to automatically challenge these items.
In the end, you can challenge items on your credit report. However, it will only be effective if the disputed item is, in fact, inaccurate.