Your Credit: Ignorance of Errors No Excuse

When you apply for credit and get turned down because of errors on your report, complaining about it won’t help. And it won’t get you the credit you seek unless and until you take the necessary steps to correct the errors.

You are not the one who reports your financial life to the credit bureaus – your creditors do that. But you are the one responsible if the information is not accurate.

Until recently, that was a problem. You didn’t get to see your credit report until you paid money up front for a mortgage lender or car dealership to order it. At that point, it was too late do anything about it in time to “Make the deal” you were working on.

Now that you have easy access to your own credit report – and getting it is FREE, you can take steps to correct errors well before you need to use your credit.

The odds are strong that your credit report contains errors right now. Industry experts recently revealed that approximately 70% of all credit reports contain some kind of error. Odds are, that error will not work in your favor.

So what can you do about it?

First, it’s important to correct all credit errors quickly. This isn’t one of those tasks you should put off until next week, and even a small error could bring down your scores. It could also be the red flag signaling identity theft, so the sooner you catch it, the less hassle you’ll be in for later.

Seeing that someone has reported your address incorrectly is nothing to ignore!

Write a separate letter to each credit bureau that is reporting the error. Explain in detail and include a photocopy of the report with the incorrect information highlighted.

Errors can come in many forms. Some are typographical errors or errors in math. Some signal a more serious problem, such as an unauthorized charge on your account, a charge for merchandise you returned or that was never delivered, or an incorrect price for something you did order.

The credit bureaus will investigate based on your report, and will get back to you within about 30 days. If they find that the information is correct, but you disagree, file a statement for your report telling why. This information will be given to future creditors.

Along with keeping a close eye on your credit report, you should also watch your credit card statements for any unauthorized or unknown charges. If you don’t recognize an item on a credit card bill, call right away to learn what it was – since reporting names don’t always match merchant names you’ll recognize. If you still don’t recognize it, then take action. In this case, start with the card issuer. Call for advice, and follow their instructions.

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Disclaimer: This information has been compiled and provided by as an informational service to the public. While our goal is to provide information that will help consumers to manage their credit and debt, this information should not be considered legal advice. Such advice must be specific to the various circumstances of each person's situation, and the general information provided on these pages should not be used as a substitute for the advice of competent legal counsel.