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Why Shouldn’t You Dispute a Credit Report Error Online?

Question from John: I’ve been told I should never ever dispute a credit report error online. Why do you think that is?


Disputing a credit report error online might seem like the quickest and most convenient option, but it’s not always the best approach. Here’s why:

Limited Space for Explanations

Online dispute forms often have character limits, which can restrict your ability to fully explain the error. This could potentially lead to a less effective dispute.

Lack of Documentation

When you dispute an error online, you may not have the option to attach supporting documents. This can be a disadvantage if you have evidence that could help your case.

Legal Rights

By disputing online, you might inadvertently waive some of your legal rights. Some online dispute processes include terms and conditions that limit your ability to sue the credit bureau if the dispute isn’t handled properly.

Record Keeping

When you dispute an error by mail, you can keep copies of everything you send and receive. This can be helpful if you need to escalate your dispute or if the same error reappears on your report.

What Should You Do Instead?

If you find an error on your credit report, consider taking the following steps:

  • Write a letter: According to the Federal Trade Commission, it’s often best to write a letter to the credit bureau detailing the error. Include copies of any supporting documents.
  • Send it certified mail: This provides proof that your dispute was received.
  • Wait for a response: The credit bureau typically has 30 days to investigate your dispute.
  • Check your report: If the error is corrected, the credit bureau will send you a free copy of your updated report.

Remember, maintaining an accurate credit report is crucial for your financial health. It can affect your ability to borrow money, the interest rates you’re offered, and even your chances of getting a job or renting a home. So, it’s worth taking the time to dispute any errors properly.

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