You count on the three major credit bureaus to maintain an accurate history of your credit history. But it’s up to you to spot errors in your credit report and dispute them.
The bureaus deal with billions of pieces of information across millions of consumers. You can’t expect them to get everything right. But disputing credit report errors can be a pain.
Credit bureaus biggest customers are banks not people. They are more interested in keeping banks happy than they are in keeping you happy. That’s one reason that many individuals have to dispute errors multiple times before the credit bureaus finally fix them.
Each credit bureau has a different way to dispute credit errors. If you dispute an error at one credit bureau, they should inform all the other credit bureaus of the error. For example, if you dispute an error at TransUnion, TransUnion should inform Equifax and Experian about any corrections they make to your credit report. However, this doesn’t always happen on time. Additionally, some errors show up at one agency and not at the other two.
If you want to remove an error from your credit report, you need to handle the dispute process well. Below, we show you the best way to dispute an error on your Experian credit report.
Step One: Get a copy of Your Experian Credit Report
You can track your Experian Credit Report for free through Credit.com’s Credit Report Card. However, if you catch an error, you need to use an official Experian Credit Report to dispute the error. Experian allows you to get a free copy of your credit report when you initiate a dispute through Experian.com/dispute.
When you download the credit report, take note of the credit report number provided. You need this number to complete a dispute online.
Experian may not allow you to access your credit report online. This happens when Experian’s algorithms determine that you’re a security risk.
In this case, you need a paper copy of your credit report.
To get a paper copy of your Experian Credit Report from AnnualCreditReport.com, mail this Form to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
Be sure to request your report from Experian.
To get a paper copy directly from Experian, send the letter below along with a recent utility bill and a copy of your driver’s license.
[First, Middle, Last Name]
[City, State, Zip]
P.O. Box 2104
Allen, TX 75013-2104
To whom it may concern. I am requesting a copy of my Experian Credit Report because I believe it contains errors.
My name is : [First, Middle, Last]
Date of Birth: [Birth Date]
Social Security Number: [xxx-xx-xxxx]
My current Address is:
[City, State, Zip]
My prior addresses were:
Prior Address 1:
[City, State, Zip]
Prior Address 2:
[City, State, Zip]
I’ve attached a copy of my driver’s license, and a recent utility bill. Please send me a copy of Experian Credit report as soon as possible.
Step Two: Log into Experian’s Dispute Portal
Once you have a report number, it will be easy to log into Experian’s credit dispute portal.
You will then need to answer a few questions that will allow Experian to validate who you are. These are questions about loans you’ve had in the past, streets where you’ve lived, etc.
Step Three: Choose which items to dispute
Experian allows you to dispute many accounts or records in a single session. Use the website headers to navigate section by section.
In the accounts section, you’ll see open and closed accounts. You can click on the account name to see more information. If you need to dispute some error related to the account, select the “Dispute” button.
You can do the same thing with items in collections or Public Records.
Select a reason for Dispute
Experian will provide you with a drop down menu of reasons for dispute. These could include items like, “The Balance is incorrect” or “This account is settled.”
Add More Information
In addition to selecting a reason, you should add additional information. If you plan to add documentation, say something like, “My payment on this account wasn’t late. I’m uploading a record of on time payment entitled PaymentRecords.pdf that you can verify.”
In complex cases, you may need more room than a comment box offers. You should still add a comment though. Type something like, “I’ve outlined a point by point explanation and documentation of settlement. These documents are entitled Explanation.doc and PaymentRecords.pdf and SettlementLetter.pdf.”
Add to Cart
Once you’ve completed the information, select the “Add to Cart” button. Don’t worry; you’re not shopping, and Experian won’t make you pay.
Once you’ve added all the errors to your cart, you can choose to “Submit.” If you missed an error, you have to wait a few days for Experian to resolve the other errors, so try to address all the errors in one shot.
Step Four: Upload supporting documents
Disputing a report without documentation may not lead to the results you want. Credit Bureaus should investigate all claims that you make. However, Credit Bureaus typically investigate by asking the banks to affirm certain information.
Without extra information, Experian will take the bank at its word. If a bank affirms the incorrect information, Experian won’t change your credit report. Additional documentation proves to the credit bureaus that you’re serious about your dispute. They will take the investigation more seriously when you add documentation.
You can upload 5 dispute related documents at a time on Experian’s Upload Website. If you need to upload more than 5 documents, initiate another session.
Step Five: Keep Records of Your Dispute
Whenever you dispute with a credit Bureau, you need to keep records of your dispute. Experian will email you a copy of the dispute you filed, but you need to keep track of the documents and dates.
If you file your dispute online, keep an electronic file of your dispute. The file should include the email from Experian and all the documentation you uploaded.
Step Six: Wait for a Response from Experian
Experian has 30 days to complete an investigation of your dispute. They will email you a decision about the dispute as soon as they complete it. If Experian changes your credit report as a result of your dispute, then you will get a new copy of the dispute.
If your credit report doesn’t change, Experian will explain the conclusion of their investigation.
Sometimes your credit report will contain “questionable” information that Experian struggles to validate. They may reach out to you to request supporting documentation. If you have the documentation, we recommend providing it to Experian. However, much of the time you won’t have access to what Experian needs. Be sure to explain the situation to Experian, so they can wrap up the investigation.
Step Seven: Escalate your Dispute
If Experian does not resolve your dispute in the way that you like, you can dispute the same item again. However, to do this, you must provide Experian with more information than you did the first time. Usually, this will involve tracking down documentation, or writing an explanation letter. You could also choose to enlist the services of a credit repair company like Lexington Law.
If you gave Experian all the facts, and they still decided against you, you can escalate your dispute. We advise you to contact the Consumer Federal Protection Bureau to explain your dispute. The CFPB helps individuals sort out their disputes with bankers and credit reporting agencies like Experian. They can point you to outside resources that can help you dispute more effectively.