What should I know before disputing?
If you have information that needs to be disputed, you should be aware of a few things:
Disputing could hold up lending or credit approval
In some cases, lenders or creditors will not move forward with approving you for a loan, credit card or line of credit if you have an active dispute or a dispute statement on your credit report. A dispute statement is different that an active dispute. It is a statement related to a previously disputed account. Some state regulations require a dispute statement to be displayed if the data furnisher did not change the information disputed by the consumer when the dispute was filed. Because of this, if your dispute is not something that is important to your loan or credit approval (e.g. it impacts the potential to receive a lower interest rate), then you may want to consider holding off on your dispute until after your new loan or credit is finalized. Every case is different, so it’s important to check into all your options, speak with your mortgage broker and decide what is best for you based on your individual situation and circumstances.
It’s a good idea to have all the backup documentation to submit and support your dispute. (See How do I supply documents to support my dispute?)
You can resubmit a dispute for a different reason if you disagree with the results or if you have additional relevant information to add to your previous dispute. (See What if I disagree with the outcome of my dispute?)
Online disputes and electronic delivery of results
By using the Experian online dispute service, you agree to electronic delivery of your dispute results. An email notification will be sent to the e-mail address on file within your Experian membership when your dispute is opened, updated and your dispute results are available to view online. Your email address can be confirmed in your membership profile. Your dispute results will not be mailed to you unless you submit your dispute by phone or mail as described below. If you wish to have your dispute results mailed to you, you must submit the dispute by contacting Experian by phone at 1-800-493-1058 or via mail at PO Box 9701, Allen, TX 75013.
Can I dispute everything online?
Some information on your personal credit report cannot be disputed online, but Experian Dispute Specialists are available to assist you with disputing the information. The online dispute service in your membership will let you know if something can’t be disputed online and if that’s the case, showcase the best number to get your issue resolved.
How do I supply documents to support my dispute?
Experian’s online Dispute Center lets you easily add any pertinent documentation to a dispute. You can add documentation online when logged in on your computer or via a mobile device. From a mobile device, you can take or upload a photo to add to your dispute. All documentation will be reviewed by an Experian Dispute Specialist. If the documentation can be validated as relevant to your dispute, we may use it to update your credit report or it may be shared with the data furnisher for the purpose of processing your dispute. Your original dispute may be modified and/or a new dispute may be opened in light of the information you provided. You will receive notifications if the original dispute is modified and/or a new one is opened.
Can information from my credit report be removed?
Experian stores information that’s reported from creditors, lenders, public records and other reliable sources following the guidelines in the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Your payment history is stored in the records of credit reporting agencies. If you believe the information in your personal credit report is inaccurate, then Experian will look into and correct or remove any inaccurate information or information that cannot be verified. Accurate information cannot be deleted, so for example, if you were late on a payment legitimately that will remain on your report. However, you can practice healthy credit habits moving forward such as paying bills on time and keeping your credit utilization low in order to help keep your credit report and credit scores looking their best. Past issues or mistakes will come off your credit report after a certain amount of time depending on what the item is and their impact to your credit scores will lessen over time.
What happens after I submit my dispute online?
As part of your membership, you’ll receive alerts and emails throughout the dispute process so you’re up to date on what’s happening along the way (including confirmation of your dispute being opened, updates and a final result).
When you question information on your personal credit report and tell us specifically why you believe the information is inaccurate or incomplete, Experian contacts the source of the information (called a data furnisher) directly by telephone, by letter or through an automated verification system. We ask the source to check their records to verify all of the information regarding the item you questioned and report back within 30 days of the date that we received your request (21 days for Maine residents). Once we receive the data furnisher’s response, we’ll send you the dispute results. If we do not receive a response within 30 days (21 days for Maine residents), we’ll update the item on your credit report as you have requested or delete the information. When we complete our review process, which may take up to 30 days, we’ll notify you that your results are available in the Experian Dispute Center.
What if I disagree with the outcome of my dispute?
If you receive your dispute results and don’t agree with them, you have a few options:
Contact the source of the information
Your best next step is to contact the entity who originally provided the information to Experian. This is usually the creditor, lender or financial institution that provided the loan or credit initially, but could also be a collection agency or office of the government. The contact details for the source of each piece of information appears on your credit report. View your credit report to get the contact information.
Add a statement of dispute
A statement of dispute allows you to explain why you believe the information is inaccurate or incomplete. The statement will appear on your Experian credit report whenever its accessed or requested by a potential lender or creditor, so they may ask you for more details or documentation as part of their review or application process. To add a statement of dispute, go to the Dispute Center, choose the item in dispute, and select “Add a Statement” from the menu of dispute reasons.
Dispute again with relevant information
If you have additional relevant information to substantiate your claim, you can submit a new dispute by uploading the additional documentation in the Dispute Center. Once your dispute has been submitted you will be presented with a link to upload supporting documentation. You can also access the doc upload screen from your dispute results. Dispute with additional relevant information can also be submitted by mail to Experian at P.O. Box 4500, Allen, TX 75013.
What types of items cannot be disputed online and required assistance from an Experian Dispute Specialist?
Accounts or Public Records belonging to another person with same or similar name: If you believe that another person’s or family member’s information may have been combined with your information, you can contact an Experian Dispute Specialist at 1-800-493-1058 to assist you.
Account Balance disputes if the balance was updated in the past two months: There may be a gap in the time that your payment is posted by the creditor or lender and the date it’s reported to Experian to be recorded on your credit report. We’ll update your balance as soon as we receive your payment information from your creditor.
Inquiry disputes: In general, inquiries are not disputable unless it’s a result of identity theft. Inquiries that are the result of identity theft can be disputed by phone through an Experian Specialist by calling 1-800-493-1058.
If you currently have a fraud or identity theft investigation in process, your credit report may not be able to be disputed and you should contact an Experian Dispute Specialist at 1-800-493-1058 to help you.
Why can’t I dispute my name online?
Typically, names are associated with a specific account and need to be corrected directly with the data furnisher (the entity with whom you have that account). Experian specialists will be able to assist and determine if they can take action to correct or if you need to contact the data furnisher. After the name is corrected by the data furnisher, then you should be able to dispute online to have the old name removed.
Names are also not disputable online if the name you are trying to dispute is similar or the same as your name attached to your account profile with Experian.
Your credit report will list all of the name variations reported to us by your creditors and lenders, so both your current name and previous names may appear. Experian maintains all names so that you have a complete record of what has been reported. This is used for identification purposes only and does not factor into your credit scores.
Why can’t I dispute an address online?
Addresses are associated to an account and typically you will need to correct it directly with the data furnisher. Experian specialists will be able to assist and determine if they can take action to correct it or need to contact the data furnisher. Once the address is corrected by the data furnisher, then you should be able to dispute online to have the old address removed.
Addresses are also not disputable online if:
- The address you are trying to dispute is similar or the same as your address attached to your account profile with Experian.
- The address you are trying to dispute is similar to another address that’s already under dispute.
Your credit report may list any address associated with any of your past or current accounts. This means that if you are a joint account holder or an authorized user on an account and the bills are sent to someone else’s address, that address could appear on your credit report. Your report may also include any address where you have received mail, such as a P.O. Box or work address.
Why can’t I submit a dispute reason of Identity theft online?
Experian specialists want to help you determine if something may be potential identity in order to further assist you with steps you may want or need to take related to that specifically, such as placing a fraud alert on your credit file.
If I do not owe a balance, why is my credit card not listed as “paid” on my credit report?
Revolving lines of credit, retail charge cards and bank credit card accounts are open-ended lines of credit. This doesn’t mean that you still owe a balance; it only means that you have credit available. A “current” status tells creditors that the account is not past due. The report also tells creditors whether the account carries a balance.
Why does a collection account appear on my credit report if I paid it?
When your creditor turns over a seriously past-due account to a collection company, your credit report will show the status of the account as “collection.” If you pay the account, the status will be “paid collection.”
How long does an item remain on my credit report?
A credit reporting agency stores information from credit grantors and public records, including bankruptcies, judgments and liens. Potentially negative information, such as missed payments and most public record items, remain on a personal credit report for seven years. The exceptions are Chapters 7, 11 and 12 bankruptcies, which remain for 10 years, and unpaid tax liens, which also remain for 10 years. A paid tax lien will remain for seven years. Positive information may remain on a report indefinitely. Paid closed accounts generally display for 10 years. Requests for your credit history remain on your personal credit report for two years.
Can information from my credit report be removed?
We store information from credit grantors, public records and other reliable sources following the guidelines in the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Your payment history is stored in the records of credit reporting agencies. If you believe the information in your personal credit report is inaccurate, then we’ll investigate and correct or remove any inaccurate information or information that cannot be verified. Accurate information cannot be deleted.
I made a payment that my credit report does not show. Why is this?
Credit grantors send us updated payment information routinely, but that does not guarantee that your most recent payment will show on your personal credit report. We update our records as soon as we receive the information from the credit grantor.
Why is there an inquiry on my credit report from a company with which I didn’t apply for credit?
By federal law, your personal credit report must list all parties that have requested your information. According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, businesses with a permissible purpose may review your information. Some examples of permissible purpose are, your current creditors to monitor your accounts; other creditors that want to offer you preapproved credit; an employer that wishes to extend an offer of employment; and a potential investor assessing the risk of a current credit obligation. We report these requests only to you as a record of activities, and we do not include them on credit reports to others. They remain on your personal credit report for two years.
Why does an account that belongs to my ex-spouse appear on my credit report?
A divorce decree may not affect your contracts with creditors. You will need to negotiate repayment with each one. Check out Life events and credit for more information on divorce and how it affects your credit.
What information on my credit report will hurt me if I apply for credit?
These statuses, either open or paid, are considered potentially negative: missed payments, accounts included in bankruptcies, public record items, collection, creditor-received deed, foreclosed, foreclosure proceedings started, claim filed with government, insurance claim filed, paid by creditor, paid in settlement, creditor cannot locate individual, repossession, defaulted on contract, voluntarily surrendered, and charge-off.
How long will the accounts I included in my bankruptcy remain on my credit report?
Any account included in a bankruptcy remains on your personal credit report for a maximum of seven years from the date the bankruptcy was filed. The bankruptcy itself, listed in the public record information section of a credit report, remains for either seven years from the filing date if it was a Chapter 13 or 10 years from the filing date if it was a Chapter 7, 11 or 12.