Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, consumers have the right to dispute false information in their credit reports. credit reporting agencies and creditors are required to conduct an investigation in response to such a dispute. It is not necessary to pay anyone to write a dispute letter — you can do it yourself for free. Below is a short description of the process for disputing false information on your credit report.

1. Get a copy of your credit report. Under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA), you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report each year. If you have been denied credit, you are also entitled to a free copy of your credit report. Consumers can request their free annual credit report by writing to Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. The request form is available at the Federal Trade Commission website.

2. Send a written dispute letter to the credit reporting agencies. Write a polite, professional letter detailing exactly what is incorrect and why. Be specific. Enclose documentation, such as police reports, correspondence with your creditors, and any additional information documentation you have. Tell the credit reporting agency if you are being prevented from obtaining credit, such as a mortgage, credit card, or auto loan, or if you are being harmed in other ways.

The Federal Trade Commission has published a sample letter disputing credit reporting errors:

[Your Name] [Your Address] [Your City, State, Zip Code] [Date]

Complaint Department
[Company Name] [Street Address] [City, State, Zip Code]

Dear Sir or Madam:

I am writing to dispute the following information in my file. I have circled the items I dispute on the attached copy of the report I received.

This item [identify item(s) disputed by name of source, such as creditors or tax court, and identify type of item, such as credit account, judgment, etc.] is [inaccurate or incomplete] because [describe what is inaccurate or incomplete and why]. I am requesting that the item be removed [or request another specific change] to correct the information.

Enclosed are copies of [use this sentence if applicable and describe any enclosed documentation, such as payment records and court documents] supporting my position. Please reinvestigate this [these] matter[s] and [delete or correct] the disputed item[s] as soon as possible.

Sincerely,
Your name

Enclosures: [List what you are enclosing.]

Send your letter via certified mail, with a return receipt requested. Keep a copy of your signed, dated letter, along with copies of enclosures. The addresses for the “Big Three” credit reporting agencies are:

Equifax Credit Information Services
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374

Experian Information Services
P.O. Box 4500
Allen, TX 75013

TransUnion Consumer Solutions
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022-2000

3. Review the credit reporting agency’s response. Check whether additional information is requested and send it. If the credit reporting company didn’t understand your dispute, write again with a clearer explanation of your dispute. Always send your correspondence via certified mail, with a return receipt requested, and keep a copy of your signed, dated letter for your records. If you cannot get false information removed from your credit report on your own, you can consider speaking to a consumer lawyer, such as the attorneys at Baxter & Baxter, LLP.