Have you recently been denied credit? Unable to rent an apartment? Recent credit line decreases or insurance premiums going up? All of these incidents are generally the result of bad credit or a low credit score. Most people do not monitor their credit and only discover the negative side of credit reporting once they apply for financing or housing. If you need a credit report error attorney to help you with credit reporting issues, then this article is for you. If you were denied credit or housing then you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report. You should have a received an adverse action letter, or denial letter, from the lending institution. The letter will provide instructions on how to get a free copy of your report. Usually it involves either filling out some questions online or mailing in a request to the credit bureaus along with a copy of your ID and utility bill. The other, more common way, is to go annualcreditreport.com. There you can access and save a free report from one of the three big credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and Trans Union. These credit reports will have your complete credit file so you can see what is and is not reporting.
Some of the items on your credit report may be difficult to understand. There are only three sections to your report: public records, inquiries and accounts. Public records are bankruptcies and judgments. Inquiries are companies who have run your credit and accounts are any thing from mortgages, credit cards to collections. A credit report error attorney can help you decipher what the different sections and marks mean. Items on your report such as soft inquiries, name, address and phone number often do no hurt or help your credit. The things that can hurt your credit are public records, accounts and if you have too many inquiries. Only items that hurt your credit and are errors can you dispute them to get them removed. Although, you can dispute any item on your report, even accurate accounts, the bureaus can only be liable for leaving credit errors on your report. It is important to review your report to make sure all the accounts are showing as accurate and you recognize all the inquiries. Identity theft victims often notice that someone has their information when multiple hard inquiries randomly start to appear. The key to any good credit dispute is to make sure that there is an objective credit error or inaccuracy. If you just feel you do not owe the debt that is not good enough.
Writing a Good Credit Dispute Letter
To write a good credit dispute letter you need to type a one or two page narrative explaining exactly what the inaccuracies are and attach the relevant documentation. A credit error could be an account was paid and thus not owed or an account does not belong to you. Finding a good credit report error attorney, like Cook Law, can help you properly identify the error, track down the relevant documents needed and edit your letter. It is important that you first and foremost explain what the mistake on your credit report is in detail. Attaching proof of the inaccuracy is unlimited. It could be a paid receipt if the account is showing as owed or a letter from the furnisher that shows you don’t owe it. If you don’t recognize the account you could provide a copy of your ID stating that this is not your account or a police report if you believe that you are the victim of identity theft. Once you have your exhibits and narrative typed up you need to send the letter off, via tracking, to the three credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax and Trans Union). Make sure to save copies of what you mail off. In 30 days the credit bureaus will respond and let you know if the fixed the credit error or left it the same. It is also important to save the credit bureaus responses.
Technically under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, or FCRA, you can dispute any item on your credit report. However, the credit bureaus will not remove an item that is accurate or that you subjectively feel you do not owe. That is why it is important to gather all the documents beforehand to show the account is a mistake. Examples of accurate reports would include someone who filed bankruptcy but later changed their mind and the case was dismissed. Or if an account is showing a balance owed but you feel that because you fell upon hard times you do not owe it. These accounts will not get removed, even if you hire a credit report error attorney. That does not mean you can not fix your credit or get financing, but you would be wasting your time trying to get an item off that can not be deleted. In this situation it would be important to either start getting more positive accounts reporting if you had a bankruptcy or if the accounts are showing a balance then try to settle them. Settling an account can help with your credit score. Also, the furnisher should update your account to show a 0 balance and note the account is paid or settled.
How to Get Credit Dispute Exhibits
You should initially go through your own records to see what items you have. This could be going through old bank statements, emails, credit card payments or letters from the furnisher or creditor. If you do not have an documents, then you can always call the creditor and ask them provide your file or a certain piece of documentation you are missing. If they will not provide any thing, you can file a complaint with your local or national government agency against the company. Although a credit report error attorney can help with this all you need to do is write a letter or fill out a form online. The complaint would state how the creditor will not provide the documents. The government agency could be a banking regulator, state attorney general or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. It is free and easy to file a dispute and often times yields the documents you want or a written response from the company showing what you need. The last thing to do is to simply write a dispute letter to the credit bureaus and copy in the furnisher. Sometimes the furnisher will respond with the documents you requested.
If it is a case of an account does not belong to you, you were the victim of identity theft or you have no idea what the account is then the documents will be easier to track down. For identity theft you should provide a copy of your ID in a dispute letter as well as a police report or FTC fraud affidavit. Your local police department should draft a report and investigate any claims of fraud. If they refuse to do this, or you do not want to go to the police, then the FTC fraud affidavit is your next step. A credit report error attorney can help you fill out this form. It is a simple form found on the Federal Trade Commission’s website and a google search will take you the proper site. Again, these reports are free and should take minimal time to get but they can be extremely helpful in your case. These exhibits would go with your dispute letters to the credit bureaus.
Get Credit Report Error Items Removed
After you write the letters the credit bureaus respond and indicate if they removed your items or not. Most dispute letters (no matter how many you send) do not get the results you want or need. This is where a credit report error attorney can help. The next step would be to file a lawsuit against the credit bureaus and furnishers if they are not fixing your credit reporting errors. Although this can be intimidating for some people it may be the only way to get the items removed. FCRA requires you to write letters to the credit bureaus to put them on notice of the credit error. However, more often then that these letters do not get results you want and the credit bureaus know it. They are betting you either do not hire a lawyer or just keep writing letters that they can ignore. Filing a lawsuit will help you get the results you want.
A lawsuit is essentially a lawyer filing a complaint with the Court alleging that the credit bureaus have violated your rights under FCRA. Most civil lawsuits eventually settle and very few go to trial. Filing a lawsuit helps the credit bureaus show that you are serious and you want your credit item fixed. Only a credit report error attorney can file a lawsuit on your behalf. Credit repair companies are not lawyers and do not file lawsuits. They mainly just charge you for writing credit dispute letters that you can write yourself. A lawsuit could also entitle you to financial compensation from the credit bureaus as well as obtaining clean credit.
What Does a Credit Repair Lawyer Cost?
At Cook Law, LLC we take most cases contingent, so it does not cost you any out of pocket expenses. In fact, if you have a decent case and have been damaged enough by the credit bureaus you could actually make money. A good credit report error attorney will know when to file a case or how to set up a case if you could have one. As mentioned above most lawsuits settle and is usually within a few months after the lawsuit is filed, you get clean credit. If you do not have a case then there is no cost to you. How many credit repair agencies could say that?
Although a lawsuit does take time and can involve time and energy on your end, it is the last step to do to get the credit errors fixed. Usually after two or three disputes, and you do not have the results you want, then it is time to talk to a credit report error attorney. Any more letters after this and you are wasting your time. You will also most likely have a case ready to file after the third letter if the dispute letters and exhibits were done properly. A lawyer’s job is to put your mind at ease, handle the stress for you and to get results! At Cook Law, LLC this is our practice area and focus, having sued the credit bureaus successfully many, many times.
Hire a Credit Repair Lawyer
Hiring a lawyer, who has experience in FCRA, can make the dispute process easy. It does not cost you any thing out of pocket. Additionally, a credit report error attorney is going to know many of the smaller details that you do not know. If you think you have credit report errors or simply have any questions then contact Cook Law, LLC for a free consultation. At Cook Law we can assist with all stages of the credit dispute process. This includes getting free credit reports, obtaining dispute exhibits, writing a dispute letter and of course with litigation if needed. Contact Cook Law now and help put this headache for your credit report errors in the past.