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How to Get Credit Reporting Agencies to Help You

The process of clearing credit can be laborious and frustrating. Understanding your rights empowers you and saves you time and effort. By employing the following tips, you can enlist the help of credit reporting agencies (CRAs) as you work to improve your credit rating.

A negative credit report hinders your quest for financing a house. You will have to do a lot of tedious work to clear up any mistakes in your credit report, but remember that CRAs are required by law to protect your rights. They must remove undocumented information on your report.

Once you receive your reports, you will be given a phone number to discuss your report with a real person. Your gentle manners and pleasant conversations with the credit bureau employees will motivate them to help you more than angry words. Remember, these people are just doing their job and they get yelled at day after day by frustrated consumers.

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Dispute Discrepancies and Document

Complete the dispute form provided with your credit report and write a letter for all discrepancies to both the creditor and the credit bureaus listing the item. Identify each error by their corresponding account number and state why it's wrong. Include a photocopy of your credit report with the errors circled with your dispute form and letters. Send copies of your supporting documents. Keep your letters in your computer in case you need to write again.

Document, document, document

Keep copies and records of all the dispute forms, letters, and supporting documents that you send. In extreme cases this proof is used by attorneys for settlement or in court.

Credit bureaus must investigate disputes within 30 days of receiving your complaints. Any item that is not verified as accurate by a creditor is supposed to be removed. However, the supposed creditors do not have to provide any supporting documentation. All they have to do is state that the account is reported accurately.

For this reason, after receiving your updated credit reports, check to see what actions were taken. If you still have erroneous information listed on your credit report, you need to start the entire process over again. At this point, take stronger action both with the original creditor and with the credit reporting agencies.

Copyright © 2005 Jeanette J. Fisher - All Rights Reserved.

Jeanette Fisher, author of "Credit Help! Get the Credit You Need to Buy Real Estate," helps people buy their dream home or finance multiple investment properties. Jeanette teaches real estate investing and Design Psychology. For help with your credit or answers to your questions, visit the Real Estate Help Credit Center at Subscribe to Credit Help! Tips. Send a blank email to CreditTips at Get the credit you need to buy one house or twenty!

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