The journey of saving and financial freedom is often met with debt. Debt comes in many forms. These debts hurt your credit score when they fall into collections. You should check your score regularly for accuracy. Sometimes reported debits can be misrepresented or added to your report in error. Follow along for how to dispute a debt on your report.
What Debt Can You Depute
Debts you incurred can not be disputed. They can, however, be negotiated down for smaller pay-off amounts. The debits that can be disputed include debts you did not incur or those that are misrepresented. Misrepresented debts can include debts that have already been paid off or debts for the incorrect payoff amount. Clerical errors and debts as a result of mistaken or stolen identity can be disputed as well.
The Process For How to Dispute a Debt
If you identify an incorrect debt, immediately call the original creditor. Explain why the bill is in error. Make sure you use all the previous bills and payoff information you have as evidence to support your claim. If you can show proof of an error, they should be able to take care of it for you. You should do this before collections, if possible.
If not, you should receive a debt letter from the collections agency. You have 30 days from the time it is received to dispute the debt. You must do this by providing payoff and bank statements, if its a debt that has already been paid, or the balance is incorrectly reported. If you have stolen identity, provide police reports, bank fraud inquiries and investigations, and other supporting paperwork.
After your dispute has been sent in, the agency must halt attempts to collect on the debt while they review your claim. They have 90 days to respond to your dispute. At that time, they must either modify, eliminate, or provide and explanation as to why the debt is valid.
Credit Reporting Agency Disputes
If you want to dispute the item off your credit report, you also need to go through each credit bureau to do so. The agencies are Equifax, Transunion, and Experian. They have 30 days to respond to your dispute and will remove inaccurate, incomplete, or unverifiable information from your report at that time.