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Improve Your Credit Score

  • Jun 26 2014

Credit scores have become increasingly important to Californians. They’re not only being used to determine whether a creditor will provide you credit, and if so at what rate, but a landlord could use it to decide whether or not to rent you an apartment or a potential employer could use this score to decide if you should be hired or not.

There are many reasons you should look at and correct errors in your credit report, these include:

  • Creditors make mistakes and pursue people for money that’s not actually owed them. This may be the result of a simple mistake by the creditor or you may be the victim of identity theft.
  • Supposed debts can be inflated beyond what’s actually owned. Illegal or improper charges may have been added or the figure may not accurately reflect what you paid.
  • If you are sued to collect on a debt and have that legal action dismissed or withdrawn by the debt collector, credit reporting agencies should be notified.

The first step is to get a copy of your credit report. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), you can request one by taking one of the following actions:

  • Through www.annualcreditreport.com,
  • Call 1-877-322-8228, or
  • Complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mail it to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.
  • Under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, both the credit reporting agency and the information provider (that is, the person, company, or organization that provides information about you to a consumer reporting company) need to correct inaccurate or incomplete information in your report.

To take full advantage of your rights under this law, contact the credit reporting company and the information provider, if you think there is an error on your credit report.

Contact the Credit Reporting Company
Tell the credit reporting company, in writing, what information you think is inaccurate. Following your request, the credit reporting companies must investigate, usually within 30 days, unless your dispute is considered frivolous. They must then forward all the relevant data you provide to the organization that provided the information. After the information provider gets your notice of a dispute from the credit reporting company, it must investigate, review the relevant information and report the results back to the credit reporting company.

If the information provider agrees the disputed information is inaccurate, it must notify all three nationwide credit reporting companies so the information can be corrected. After the investigation is complete, the credit reporting company must give you the written results and a free copy of your report if the dispute results in a change (which doesn’t count as your annual free report).

Contact the Creditor

Tell the creditor or information provider in writing that you dispute an item.

  • If the provider reports the item to a credit reporting company, it must include a notice of your dispute.
  • If you are correct (your dispute is found to be valid and the information you challenged inaccurate) the information provider may not report it again.

If the credit reporting company or information provider won’t correct the information under dispute, ask,

  • That a statement of the dispute be included in your file and in future reports. < /li>•
  • The credit reporting company to provide your statement to anyone who received a copy of your report in the recent past (there probably will be a fee for this service).

If you tell the information provider that you dispute an item, a notice of your dispute must be included any time the information provider reports the item to a credit reporting company.

If you are a California resident dealing with credit card or debt collections, contact Fitzgerald Campbell so we can discuss your situation, your legal rights and your options for how to proceed. You have rights, even if you’re in debt (or have a bad credit score) and you should exercise those rights to protect yourself and your family.

Posted in: Credit Report