You have just finished applying for a loan and discover that you were denied financing. The reason for this is because you have a derogatory mark on your credit report. The account does not look familiar as it was paid off years ago and you do not owe any thing. What do you do? The first step is to find a credit report error attorney who can help you properly dispute, remove and litigate your case. The Federal Trade Commission estimates that at least twenty percent of the population has some type of credit error. It could be as simple as a misspelling of your name or as devastating as having numerous negative accounts appear that you do not recognize.
If you have negative and inaccurate items on your credit report it can have a massive negative impact. You could be unable to get housing, a car, credit card or insurance. The credit you do have could disappear or be drastically reduced. Additionally, the interest rates and insurance premiums could sky rocket. Credit is everywhere you look now and days. A good credit report error attorney can help you get this resolved. The problem with hiring a credit repair agency or company is they are not competent and are non-attorneys. If you have credit inaccuracies you need to retain the services of a qualified legal expert, such as Cook Law.
How Do I Pull My Credit Report?
There are a few ways to pull copies of your credit reports although a credit report error attorney can help you properly find and obtain your credit file. . The first is if you go and apply for a loan and provide your personal identifying information. The bank or lender should provide you a copy of your credit report or credit file after they run your credit. If for some reason the bank does not give you a copy of your credit report then you can write the credit bureaus. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, or FCRA, you are entitled to a free credit report every year. If someone runs your credit and denies you credit then you are entitled to an additional free report so you can see why you were denied. The three major credit bureaus are Experian, Equifax and Trans Union although there are many more credit bureaus for banking, insurance, housing, etc.
The letter to the credit bureau agency just simply needs to state that you are requesting a free copy of your credit file and to provide either a copy of your ID, a banking statement or utility bill. The credit report error attorney can help write or review this letter. The purpose of providing your ID or bill is so the bureaus can identify you. The last way to get a free report is to go online. Sites such as annualcreditreport.com offers one free report a year. Some of the credit bureau sites, such as Chex Systems, you can directly online and get a free copy of your report. It just depends on the credit bureau.
How Do I Remove a Credit Error?
Once you have obtained your credit file then you need to identify what the accounts are that are an error. It could be either an account is reporting a balance that was paid or you simply do not recognize the account because you never maintained a business relationship with that company. You may also do a review of your credit reports with a credit report error attorney if you have any questions on your report. Once you have identified the credit error is important to know how this account has adversely hurt your credit. Were you denied a loan? A mortgage? Did your interest rates go up? This helps determine what your “damages” are or more specifically, how the inaccurate account has financially hurt you. You need to document and save all of the adverse action letters and correspondence you have received because of this credit error.
It is important to also obtain proof of the credit error. If an account was paid then obtaining a paid receipt or bank statement showing you paid it. If the account does not belong to you, then you could obtain either a police report or FTC (Federal Trade Commission) fraud affidavit. Either way a credit report error attorney can help track down the proof of inaccuracy. It is important to get documented evidence of this error because although technically you can dispute any item on your report, only the inaccurate accounts can be deleted or modified. Some of the credit repair agencies tell you that they can get any negative item removed from your report. This is a false statement and often times these companies engage in questionable behavior. If you wish to simply dispute all of the negative and accurate credit items, then you can write the letters to the credit bureaus yourself. Any credit report error attorney will tell you that this is a waste of time though as you most likely will not get any results. Your efforts should be focusing on building your credit and getting more positive items to report, such as a secured credit card. Often times the older derogatory accounts will age off and new the positive reporting items can help with your credit score.
How Do You Write a Dispute Letter?
It is rather simple to write a dispute letter to the credit bureaus. First, you need to identify who is the credit bureau (ie Trans Union) and what account you are disputing (ie Chase Bank). A credit report error attorney would tell you write the dispute letters in an electronic format so you can have it saved easily to your computer. There is not any special language you need to use nor is there is some magic template online. A credit report error attorney can help write the letter but it is best to put the dispute letter in your own words. You need to identify what the account(s) are that are inaccurate and put it in the letter. If you have any proof of the error (ie paid receipt) make sure to include that with your dispute letter. Usually a one to two page letter will suffice. You can also attach a copy of the portion of your credit report that shows the error.
Once you have drafted your letter (you can have the credit report error attorney review it) then mail it off via tracking to the three credit bureaus. You can also copy the furnisher, or account companies if you want. The tracking helps to show that the letter was actually received by these companies. In about thirty days the credit bureaus will respond. If the credit error still shows up on your report, they have violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) and you have a case. It is helpful to send at least one or two more letters to the bureaus to see if they will fix the mistake. If you need the assistance at any stage of the dispute process then make sure to have a credit attorney help you.
What Happens if the Credit Error is Not Fixed?
Then the credit bureau and credit furnisher (the account that is inaccurate) have violated FCRA and you know have a case against them. A credit report error attorney can help you with this stage. The reason you will need to hire a lawyer and file suit is because you could be entitled to monetary compensation. Also, the only way to get these negative and inaccurate items off your credit report would be to file a lawsuit. At some point, the credit bureaus and furnishers begin to either ignore your dispute letters or simply just respond that the item is accurate and leave it on there.
A lawsuit is nothing to fear as the lawyer does most of the work. You will need to stay in touch with the attorney throughout litigation though. The lawsuit’s purpose is to get the item removed or corrected and to compensate you financially for any harm that the credit error has caused you. This could be something as simple as emotional distress, or you were denied financing or housing because of this account or your insurance and interest rates went up. Every case is different.
What Does a Credit Lawyer Cost?
Most Plaintiff lawyers will take a case contingent. This means that you do not pay them directly, they get paid from the outcome of the case from the companies we sue. It is somewhat similar to a car accident case. They do not get paid, unless you get paid. If a lawyer takes your case contingent, this most likely means that the credit report error attorney believes in the merits of the case and thinks there is value there. You have been harmed, through no fault of your own, and the companies need to pay out for their mistake,
That is why it is important to get a credit report error attorney early on in your case. They can help guide you through any concerns and help either properly set up the case or get the item fixed. Cook Law, LLC offers a free consultation to start to see if you have a case and if not, then hopefully they can point you in the right direction. Do not waste your time hiring a credit repair agency as they are non-attorneys who do not know what they are doing. You could dispute the items yourself if you want, but just make sure to keep records of everything. If the dispute letters do not work then you will eventually need to hire a lawyer to help.