Disputing information held by a credit agency that is detrimental to a consumer’s rating is possible but it takes organisation, diligence and a certain amount of perseverance for a successful outcome. Ultimately, if the consumer is in the right, the Fair Credit Reporting Act will offer protection and possible restitution if the matter is not resolved. However, there are a number of steps to be taken before the point of legal action is reached. Under the act credit agencies are obliged to investigate disputes as are the entities that pass on consumer information to the agencies. Consumers are also allowed a free copy of their own report every 12 months from each major agency. The best place to start is by requesting a free copy of the up to date credit report from all three major credit agencies; Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. The reports need to be checked carefully including the spelling of names and any other minor errors. Often information is passed to agencies with small errors and it is then misdirected to the wrong file. It is important to use the latest information held by the credit agencies, that way when each agency reviews a request to amend any error they are looking at the same document and information that is being disputed. Each agency and each error should be dealt with in separate letters. Take a copy of the first agency report that is to be disputed. Type a letter to that single agency simply stating that you dispute this information and that you have evidence to back up your claim. This letter should be sent to the agency in question together with a copy of their credit report with the error highlighted and a copy of all the information that you have that shows that the dispute is valid. A file should be opened for each agency and copies kept of everything that is sent. The letter should be sent by certified mail. This way there are records of everything, there is no dispute that the agency did not receive the letter and the consumer is directly writing to dispute their own report with the agency. This method will protect all of the consumer’s rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act . If the dispute is conducted online with the agency there is a good chance the consumer may lose some of the rights from under the Act as agencies will put waiver clauses in the online documents that may override the consumer’s position. The process needs to be repeated for each single error with each single agency. If the entity that supplied the incorrect information is known a dispute letter can additionally be sent to them in similar fashion. Keep separate files for each entity in the same way. In the event that the request is not successful another letter should be written. This is where perseverance is necessary. In the event that none of the credit dispute letters written have had the desired effect then a lawyer with experience of the Fair Credit reporting Act needs to be consulted as it is possible to take the agencies to court and not only get the changes made but also for restitution for the damage they have caused.