What are credit report disputes?

A dispute, in the context of credit reports, is essentially an attempt to correct credit report inaccuracies. Having an accurate credit report is important, because having poor credit—regardless of whether the information is correct or not—can negatively affect your ability to get a loan, get insurance buy a house, buy a car, or even get a job.1  It is estimated that as many as 75% of credit reports contain some incorrect information.2
Consequently, it is very important to keep consistent track of your credit report. The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) allows you to request one free credit report every 12 months.3   Under this law, any source of information provided to a credit reporting company must be correct and complete, and credit reporting companies must look into a dispute within 30 days.4

As a consumer, it is your right to dispute incorrect or incomplete information on a credit report. The dispute itself is a list of the information on your credit report which you think is inaccurate. It usually takes the form of a letter, sent to the credit reporting company and/or the information provider, accompanied by copies (not originals) of documents which support your position—such as receipts.5  In addition, then to checking your credit report regularly, it is very important to keep receipts connected to transactions which can affect your credit.

For more information on the Free Credit Reporting Act and your rights as a consumer to an accurate credit report, please see the Federal Trade Commission’s website on the FCRA.

1 Federal Trade Commission. How to Dispute Credit Report Errors. Washington, DC: Federal Trade Commission, Bureau of Consumer Protection, Division of Consumer and Business Education, 2008, 1.
2 United States. Congress. House. Committee on Financial Services. Credit Reports: Consumers’ Ability to Dispute and Change Inaccurate Information: Hearing Before the Committee on Financial Services, U.S. House of Representatives, One Hundred Tenth Congress, First Session, June 19, 2007. Washington, DC: U.S. G.P.O., 2007, 4.
3 Federal Trade Commission. How to Dispute Credit Report Errors, 1.
4 United States. Congress. House. Committee on Financial Services. Credit Reports: Consumers’ Ability to Dispute and Change Inaccurate Information, 3.
5 Federal Trade Commission. How to Dispute Credit Report Errors, 3.

Jessica Malitoris

Jessica Malitoris was born on August 30, 1990 in London, England to Kerry and John Malitoris. Sixth months later, she and her parents moved to Concord, Massachusetts, a town just outside of Boston. Her younger sister, Julia, was born in 1993. In 1998, the family moved to Vienna, Virginia, near Washington, DC, and in 2004 the family moved again, this time to Raleigh, North Carolina.

Jessica attended high school at Ravenscroft School in Raleigh. She participated in swimming, cross country, and track and field. In track, she was Conference champion her junior and senior years in the 100 meter hurdles. In school, her favorite topics were History and English, and in the summer after her junior year, she studied abroad at Cambridge University in England, majoring in European History and English Literature. That summer, she also attended the Tar Heel Girls’ State educational program, and completed the course that enabled her to become a lifeguard.

Throughout high school, Jessica had worked as a swim instructor for the A. E. Finley YMCA in Raleigh, but during her senior year she began to also work as a lifeguard. At the beginning of the year, her article on the development of the Gothic architectural style in France was published in the Concord Review, a national history periodical. In the spring, she made her decision to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill the following year. Later in the spring, she worked as a research assistant to Professor Michael McElreath of Meredith College. She researched and offered recommendations on potential reading assignments and textbooks for a future course on American Intellectual History.

The summer before beginning college, Jessica worked again as a swim instructor and lifeguard for the YMCA. She began school at UNC Chapel Hill in the fall of 2008. In the spring of 2009, she began work on an article about the changing social and economic roles of women in Mali, a sub-Saharan African nation.The following summer, she completed work on her article while again lifeguarding for the YMCA.

She is now nineteen and a sophomore at UNC Chapel Hill, hoping to major in History with a concentration in non-Western civilizations and a possible minor in Women’s Studies. She enjoys reading, writing, playing the piano, researching, and drawing, and hopes one day to become a professor.

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