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By timestaff
May 26, 2014

Find a mistake in your credit report? You’ll want to contact the bureaus, stat.

The bureaus are required to investigate—typically within 30 days—and to fix any problems that are discovered.

The credit bureaus all have a form on their website where you can submit a dispute.

For run of the mill problems, such as a paid-off debt appearing as unpaid, submitting the dispute via the web tool will likely suffice. But if you prefer, you can file a formal letter of dispute via certified mail (you’ll find the address on each credit bureau’s site). The Federal Trade Commission has a sample letter on its website that you can follow. You may also want to contact the creditor—for example, the bank issuing the loan or credit card—to let them know of the error.

Read next: Why Did My Credit Score Drop After I Paid My Credit Card Bill?

For a more serious issue–say, your name has been mixed up with someone else’s – you should definitely file a dispute with both the credit bureau and the creditor(s), as well as the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB). The CFPB will follow up with the bureau to make sure your complaint is resolved.

Advertiser Disclosure

The purpose of this disclosure is to explain how we make money without charging you for our content.

Our mission is to help people at any stage of life make smart financial decisions through research, reporting, reviews, recommendations, and tools.

Earning your trust is essential to our success, and we believe transparency is critical to creating that trust. To that end, you should know that many or all of the companies featured here are partners who advertise with us.

Our content is free because our partners pay us a referral fee if you click on links or call any of the phone numbers on our site. If you choose to interact with the content on our site, we will likely receive compensation. If you don't, we will not be compensated. Ultimately the choice is yours.

Opinions are our own and our editors and staff writers are instructed to maintain editorial integrity, but compensation along with in-depth research will determine where, how, and in what order they appear on the page.

To find out more about our editorial process and how we make money, click here.

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