If your credit report lists your student loans inaccurately, file a dispute with one of the credit reporting bureaus, which are Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Write a dispute letter, print a copy of your credit report with the errors highlighted, and make copies of documents that support your case. Assemble another packet with these items to send to your lender. Mail both packets, and follow up with the reporting bureau within 30 days. Get fresh copies of your credit report, verify the corrections were made and, if necessary, update anyone who's checked your credit within the last 6 months.
EditFiling a Dispute with a Credit Reporting Bureau
- Mail a dispute letter instead of filing a form online. While filing online is faster and easier, online forms typically include undesirable terms. For instance, by filing online, you might unintentionally agree to an arbitration clause. This means you won’t be able to bring the reporting bureau to court if they don’t resolve your dispute. The reporting agencies' mailing addresses are:
- Get a fresh copy of your credit report. The first step is to verify that an updated copy of your credit report includes the inaccuracy you want to dispute. You’re entitled to a free credit report from each of the 3 reporting bureaus per year. You can also get a free report if you were denied a loan, credit card, lease, or job due to your credit in the last 60 days.
- If you can’t get a free report, you’ll have to purchase one for around $15.
- Highlight the inaccurate information in your report. Check the report for the inaccurate information about your student loans and any other errors. If you have a digital copy, print it. Highlight or circle the errors you want the reporting bureau to correct.
- Write a letter that concisely explains your dispute. Keep the letter simple and brief. Include your name, address, and phone number. Identify the error and the account it’s listed under, and explain why it should be removed from your report. Note any documents you’ve included to make your case.
- For example, suppose you have 2 student loans that have been transferred to a new servicer several times. Due to these transactions, your report lists 16 active loans instead of 2. Explain the situation in 2 or 3 sentences, provide your lender's information, and note that they can verify this information with your lender.
- Use this sample dispute letter as a template: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0384-sample-letter-disputing-errors-your-credit-report.
- Include copies of documents that support your case. Evidence could include payment records or loan statements that verify your account isn’t past due. Be sure to send copies instead of original documents.
- For example, if your report shows that you missed student loan payments, include check copies or bank statements to prove that you made the payments in question. If your report lists more loans than you have, provide loan statements that show your actual number of loans.
- Send the packet by certified mail. Put your letter, highlighted credit report, and any supporting documents in an envelope. Send it certified mail, return receipt requested. This will create a paper trail, and you’ll be able to prove the reporting bureau received your packet.
EditContacting Your Loan Servicer
- Write a letter that concisely explains your case. The letter to your lender will be similar to the one you sent to the reporting bureau. Identify the error, why it needs to be corrected, and inform them that you’ve filed a dispute with a reporting bureau.
- Use this sample letter as a template: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0485-sample-letter-disputing-errors-your-credit-report-information-providers.
- Your loan servicer is the company that manages and accepts payments toward your loan account. If a new servicer purchased your loan and both accounts appear on your credit report, send a letter to both companies.
- Provide copies of your credit report and supporting documents. Assemble the same packet of documents that you sent to the reporting bureau. Print a copy of your credit report and highlight the inaccurate entries. Include any documents that support your case, such as payment records or loan statements.
- Send the packet to your servicer by certified mail. Mail the packet to your lender with return receipt requested. Again, you’ll create a paper trail that ensures your lender received the packet.
- Check your loan servicer's website or call their customer service line to find the right mailing address.
EditResolving the Dispute
- Talk to your loan servicer about a solution. Within a few business days of receiving your packet, your loan servicer should contact you, most likely by telephone. If they determined they made an error, they'll let you know how they're taking steps to correct the problem.
- If they dismiss your dispute, you can still work with the credit reporting bureau to correct the error.
- Even if your loan servicer informs you they've corrected the error, you should still follow up with the credit reporting bureau.
- Follow up with the reporting bureau within 30 days. The credit reporting bureau is required to investigate and act on the dispute within 30 days. If they don’t contact you, call their toll free customer service line and ask about your dispute’s status.
- They'll either determine that errors need to be corrected or dismiss your dispute.
- Get updated copies of your credit reports. If the reporting bureau determines that errors need to be corrected, they’ll make any necessary changes and notify the other bureaus. You’re entitled to free credit reports from each bureau. Verify that the information listed on your new reports is correct.
- Ask the reporting bureau to notify anyone who’s recently checked your credit. If a company has run an inquiry into your credit history (such as for a loan or job application), have the reporting bureau notify them of the error. You can have the bureau contact anyone who’s checked your credit history within the last 6 months.
- If you were denied credit due to an error on your report, let the person or business who checked your credit know about the error. Advise them that you're in the process of filing a dispute and will keep them updated about your case.
- For example, suppose your report erroneously listed 16 student loans when you only have 2. You were then denied a credit card because a bank determined you had too many open lines of credit. The reporting bureau can confirm with the bank that your report contained errors, and you might be approved for the credit card.
- Submit a complaint with the CFPB if you’re not satisfied. If the error wasn’t corrected or if you don’t get a response within 30 days, file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protections Bureau (CFPB). Submit your complaint here: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/#credit-reporting. You should get a response within 15 days.
- You'll provide the CFPB with the dates, amounts, companies involved, and other details about your dispute. The complaint form allows you to upload digital copies of any supporting documents. After submitting your complaint, the CFPB will contact you and discuss solutions, such as legal action, within 15 days.
EditSources and Citations
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