When you are applying for a home loan one of the first steps is a credit check. Your loan officer should go over your credit report with you to make sure there are no errors on your report. In June 2004, The U.S. Public Interest Research Group published the results of a survey it conducted involving 200 adults in 30 states to test the validity of credit reporting. Their findings were as follows:
- Twenty-five percent (25%) of the credit reports contained errors serious enough to result in the denial of credit;
- Seventy-nine percent (79%) of the credit reports contained mistakes of some kind;
- Fifty-four percent (54%) of the credit reports contained personal demographic information that was misspelled, long-outdated, belonged to a stranger, or was otherwise incorrect;
- Thirty percent (30%) of the credit reports contained credit accounts that had been closed by the consumer but incorrectly remained listed as open.
If you find that you have errors on your credit report, there are two ways to get them corrected. Mortgage Atlanta recommends following credit repair Path A; however, if you are in no rush take a look at Path B.
- Ask Mortgage Atlanta Loan Officer for a Consumer Copy of your credit report. The consumer copy will have all of the contact info for the credit accounts showing on your report.
- Contact the Creditor by phone to discuss the discrepancies on the credit report.
- If there appears to be an error have the Creditor fax a letter to Mortgage Atlanta at 1-888-727-0145 with the following information.
- Letter must be on Creditor company letter head.
- Letter must include account number to be corrected.
- Letter must have account holders name
- Letter must list the errors and what needs to be corrected, for example if there was a 30 day late on 3/09 the letter must state that the late payment in March 2009 should be removed from the credit report.
- Mortgage Atlanta will then perform a Rapid Rescore for you and have the account corrected.
NOTE: There is usually a Small fee charged by the credit agencies for this service. Average turnaround time is about 5 days for the corrections to become permanent.
- Make a copy of the report and circle the item(s) you are questioning. Keep your original copy for your own records.
- Prepare a letter to the Credit Reporting Agency that provided you with the report in question, and request to have the erroneous item(s) removed or corrected. If you have proof of payment for an item in question, include a copy of that documentation.
- Prepare a letter to the creditor reporting the problem, especially if you feel you are a victim of fraud or identity theft. Inform the creditor that you are disputing an error reported to the CRA, state why the claim is inaccurate, and include any relevant documentation to prove your point.
- Send your correspondence via certified mail.
You should receive a response from the CRA within 60 to 90 days. If the error has been corrected, they will send you a fresh copy of your credit report at no charge to show you that the item has been removed or corrected. If you cannot have a disputed item removed, you have the right to include your side of the story on the credit report. Your statement should be a concise explanation (100 words or less) as to why you are challenging the item in question. From that point on, this notation will be included in your credit report as long as the item in question remains on your report.
SOURCE: U.S. Public Interest Group Research; One In Four Credit Reports Contains Errors Serious Enough To Wreak Havoc For Consumers, US PIRG Press release, 06/17/04