Your credit report is a document that highlights records of your financial activities with financial institution that reports information to credit bureaus as an organizational policy. Even though your file is a personal document, it's accessible by the public in situations where they need to make an important decision that will affect you.
Since this is the case, you want to make sure that information contained in your report is positive, as negative information will ruin good opportunities. But since you're not the custodian of your file, the Fair Credit Reporting Act which controls the industry deemed it fit that every consumer should have access to their file free of charge once every year. This provides a good opportunity for you to see accounts that are either negative or erroneous and therefore, should be deleted immediately.
This is where the credit dispute comes in. It is the power given to you and every other consumer by the FCRA to challenge accounts that you believe you are not responsible for. The process allows you to argue the point with the bureaus. The way it works, if you are using a self-help repair method for your file, is that you write a dispute letter to the bureau with the information under dispute in their version of your file and giving them a 30-day ultimatum to conduct an investigation of the account.
Count your success if either of the two happens at the end of the investigation by the bureau:
1. the result shows that the account is either outdated or mistaken.
2. The bureau couldn't finish its investigation at the end of the 30-day period.
However, if the bureau is able to finalize its probe and informs you that the negative account is correct, then you will switch to plan-B, which is to repeat the same dispute task with the creditor / information furnisher that placed the account in your file.
If you find yourself running against a brick wall, you should consider the services of a professional repair agency.