If you obtain your credit report and find a blemish on it that you do not recognize as being your mistake or fault, you should not assume that the information is correct. Credit reporting bureaus and the creditors who report credit information to these bureaus often make errors. You would hope and expect that if a credit bureau has negative and incorrect information in your credit report and you bring the mistake to their attention, they will graciously and expeditiously fix the error. If you believe that, you are the world's greatest optimist and sometimes you also think that you will not have to wait in line at the post office or the department of motor vehicles.
Typically, you will have to fill out a form on a website, make some phone calls or write a letter or two to fix the problems on your credit report. Here's how to correct most errors that are not your fault:
1. If the credit problem is someone else's you will find that there are a surprising number of credit report glitches which are the result of someone else's negative information getting on your credit report. If the bad information on your report is completely foreign looking to you, you will need to contact the credit bureau by phone or online and explain that you need more information because you do not recognize the creditor.
2. If the creditor has made a mistake, you need to write or call the creditor to get it to correct the erroneous information that it sent to the credit bureau. Phoning first usually works best. The credit bureau should be able to tell you how to reach the credit if you do not know how. If necessary you can follow up with a letter.
Whether you speak with a credit bureau or an actual lender, you need to make a note of your conversations. If representatives say that they can fix the problem, you need to get their name, email address, phone extension and follow up with them personally if they do not deliver on what they have promised to do. If you have a bureacratic red tape problem, you can escalate the situation by speaking with a department manager. By law, they are required to fix a credit reporting error within 30 days.
With a minor credit infraction, some lenders may simply ask for an explanation rather than indefinitely deny you credit on the basis of not paying one bill 10 years ago. You can also demand that the credit bureau put a 100 word explanation on your file as to why the negative information is there.