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4 Ways to Effectively Dispute Mistakes in Your Credit Reports

Here's how to get these errors removed from your account

When the credit bureaus get whiff of a "credit repair" agency being involved, they will sometimes (legally) ignore multiple disputes on the grounds that they are "frivolous."

When you personally dispute information, each credit bureau also allows you to add a very brief explanation of your dispute and to provide documentation that backs up your claims.

For example, suppose you check the reason for your dispute as: "I have never paid late." If you then want to explain your position, you might add a statement such as: "The creditor said they misapplied my payment." If you had a letter from the creditor acknowledging this error, you would also supply that to the credit bureau.

The Burden of Proof Is on You

Remember: In the event of a mistake, the burden is on you to notify the credit agencies about that error. It's not enough to simply say something is incorrect, you have to state why certain information is erroneous or outdated. Once you do, your claim will be investigated. In an ideal world, inaccurate or outdated information would simply be removed from your credit reports when you dispute such data and supply independent proof of your claim. However, the world of credit is far from ideal. Perhaps that's why less than 2 percent of consumer dispute requests with the credit bureaus result in a deletion because of errors, according to the Consumer Data Industry Association. By following the tips mentioned above, you can greatly improve your chances of getting inaccurate information removed from your credit files once and for all.

Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, The Money Coach®, is a personal finance expert, television and radio personality, and a regular contributor to AARP. You can follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.

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