You don't have to live life with a shoddy credit rating. With time and effort, you can have derogatory marks removed from your credit report and enjoy an increase in your credit score. The steps you'll have to take won't be easy, and in some cases, you will need to exercise your powers of persuasion. If you refuse to give up, however, you may be on the road to an improved credit rating in no time.
Dispute Credit Report Errors
Obtain a copy of your credit report from each of the three main credit reporting agencies: Equifax, TransUnion and Experian.
Review each credit report. Circle or highlight any errors you find.
Double-check your personal files to make sure any credit report errors are truly inaccurate. It is easy to forget balances and account details.
Report errors on your credit report directly to the agency that has listed the incorrect information. Do this by sending a dispute letter via certified mail and requesting signature proof of delivery from the post office. Include your name, address and phone number in the letter as well as a detailed explanation of why you believe the information is incorrect. If you have supporting documents, such as proof that an account was closed, send that as well. For good measure, include a copy of the credit report you received with the errors circled. The credit bureau will investigate the errors you report and correct any inaccuracies.
Dispute incorrect entries on your credit report with the creditor that provided the information. If the company investigates and learns that the information is incorrect, it may update the record with the correct information. At the very least, the company must provide a notice of your dispute to the credit bureau when it reports the item once more.
Delete Derogatory Items
Negotiate with your creditors to remove derogatory items from your credit report. A creditor is unlikely to do you any favors while you owe money, and once you've paid, the company has even less incentive for helping you. Let your creditor know you want to repay your debt and make removal of the derogatory information part of your repayment arrangements. If your creditor agrees, get the details in writing before you make a payment.
Hire a debt-negotiation lawyer to negotiate with your creditors on your behalf. These lawyers typically have training and experience in debt negotiations. Ask your lawyer to negotiate repayment terms you can handle as well as the deletion of derogatory marks from your credit report.
Wait patiently for derogatory credit marks to be removed from your credit report if your creditor will not agree to remove them. In most cases, a creditor can only report negative information for seven years. Bankruptcies and judgments may remain with you for 10 years, however.
- Keep the originals of letters you send to creditors and credit bureaus. They are your proof of correspondence, disputes and negotiations. Send the copies to the creditors and credit bureaus instead.
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