When it comes to your credit report, you should know your rights.
There are three nationwide consumer reporting companies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. They are all required to provide you with a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months when you ask for it. The three companies have a central website, a toll-free telephone number, and a mailing address for you to order the free report. Go to annualcreditreport.com, call 1-877-322-8228, or complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form at ftc.gov/credit and mail it to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
You should not contact the three nationwide consumer reporting companies individually or at another address, unless you want to know your credit score or need additional protection against identity theft. Such services all come with a fee. The annual report is only free through the channels mentioned above.
You are also entitled to a free report if a company takes adverse action against you, like denying your application for credit, insurance, or employment. You have to ask for your report within 60 days of receiving notice of the action.
Remember, it doesn’t cost anything to dispute mistakes or outdated information on your credit report. The law gives you the right you to ask a consumer reporting company to investigate information in your credit report that you think is wrong or incomplete. Some people hire a credit repair company to investigate on their behalf. It might save you some time, but you can also do it by yourself at little or no cost. There is no charge for dispute mistakes or outdated information.
Start by telling the consumer reporting company, in writing, what information you think is inaccurate. Include as much information as you can and copies (not originals) of any documents that support your position. Send your letter by certified mail, return receipt requested, so you can verify that the consumer reporting company received it.
You should also write to the creditor or other information provider that you dispute an item in your report.
If your dispute with the consumer reporting company isn’t resolved in your favor, you can ask that a short statement of the dispute be included in your file and in future reports. Use this if you still think your version is correct.