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Costly Credit Report Errors

Credit problems, despite what many think, are quite a normal part of life. But they are aggravating, can cause real family issues, and of course, are very expensive. But having bad credit isn't necessarily the end of the world. It just means there are a few additional expenses you may have to incur in order to keep your life rolling. Loans, as an example, are often attainable, but perhaps with terms that are not as flexible, and perhaps interest rates that are higher. Again, not a problem. Many people deal with this fact on a day-to-day basis, without truly harmful effects. All in all, these costs aren't so bad, and can be dealt with.


The Big "What If?"

OK, so your credit history is costing you some extra money. Not a problem, right? But what if your credit history was coming up WORSE than it actually is? We're talking about errors by your creditors here. Each year, misinformation and clerical errors cost Americans millions of dollars in increased loan interest rates and higher payments. This mis-entries can even go as far as "creating" debt on your history that you never had! Or, loans or credit lines which have been paid off within the agreed time period can mistakenly be noted as "late payment". Obviously, the credit industry's capacity for errors goes on from there. Whatever the error, however, your credit could be unfairly being damaged, negatively influencing every decision maker who has ever seen your credit report. Fortunately, there are ways to fix this.


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Get The Errors Fixed Immediately

To ensure that credit history errors are not affecting you, get a credit report. There are many areas online which allow you to do this, and it typically costs between $10 and $25. Don't pay more for this information. Remember, there are competing services. Also, remember that there is really no such thing as a "Free Credit Report". Be skeptical of such offers.


If it turns out your credit history has errors, go directly to the credit bureaus. In writing, ensure you contact the three major credit reporting agencies. These companies include Equifax, Trans Union and Experian. Ensure that your letter explains your situation, and gives them contact information so that they can call you back. Inform them (either by phone or in the original letter) exactly what is wrong with your credit report and what should be fixed. Then, contact the creditor that has made the effort. Explain (as calmly as possible) that an error has occurred on your credit report, and precisely what that error is. Then, ensure you ask them to either report the correct situation, or begin reporting the correct information (as in with a loan you currently hold). Ensure you get a "call reference number" and the name of the person you spoke to ensure that the creditor (and individual you spoke to) remain accountable to you.


Persistence Wins (Almost) Every Time

Like it or not, it is not the general who wins the war. It is the soldier, who slogs through the mud, fights the skirmishes, and holds the fort. And don't fool yourself - often, correcting errors through mainly bureaucratic channels can in fact be war. Remember that as long as you continue to remain calm throughout the ordeal, and track your calls and contacts with precise detail, you are more likely to have the error changed.


Keeping Records Saves Money

Ensuring that you keep records of all of the conversations you have with creditors and the credit bureaus is critical. Be sure you know who you spoke with, when you spoke with this person, and what exactly was addressed in the conversation. If you are writing letters or email back and forth, ensure you have made copies of everything. As well, for added protection, you may want to send correspondence via registered mail or courier with receipt. In the end, keeping this evidence will ensure you have backup if in fact your claim is challenged or disputed.


Ensure The Creditor/Bureau Know Your Position

Let's face it, not all attempts to get information changed are going to be successful. But, you should always submit a written document which explains your position with clarity. It's your right. Send you letter to not only the creditor, but also the three main credit reporting agencies mentioned above. But law, any creditor must include this letter to the credit bureaus if they submit any information about you in the future.


Hey, it's an imperfect world. We all know this. Which means errors can happen to anyone, even those with the cleanest credit reports. What you must remember, however, is that it is up to you to make sure any errors are fixed. Don't let your creditor's clerical errors damage your credit. Fight back, and the savings and sense of accomplishment you get from it will be worth the time you spent.

 


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