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Remove Dispute Comments from Credit Reports

Imagine this…

You apply for a home loan, and given you’ve got great credit, you’re thinking you’ll get approved. But to your surprise, the mortgage company declines your loan, because there is a dispute comment (aka dispute remark) showing on the credit report. Now they tell you that you must remove the dispute comment before they can approve you. And you don’t know where to start…

Today I’m going to give you the template to remove such a comment.

However, DO NOT remove a dispute comment from a negative item unless a lender specifically asks you to do so.

And this is why – This dispute comment takes the account out of being factored into the credit score, so if an account with a negative history gets its dispute comment removed, then the credit score may go down.

On the other hand, the credit score may go up if the dispute comment is removed from a positive account.

This article contains the backchannel contact information for the credit bureaus, a sample dispute letter along with instructions needed on how to get dispute comments removed quickly from your report.

But first, there are a few things you need to know about dispute comments:

What are Dispute Comments and Why do they show up on Credit Reports?

As per the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), anytime you question the validity of an account that shows on your credit report, either with the creditor or with the credit bureaus, the account will be investigated. While this investigation takes place, which normally takes 30 days, the account being investigated gets marked as “disputed.”

What’s important is that the Fico credit scoring systems do not factor in accounts that are “in dispute,” though the account may show up on your credit report, it will not contribute to your score.

Now here is where this gets complicated, After 30 days the following scenarios may play out:

Scenario 1:

The result of the investigation leads to the account being deleted, then you have nothing to worry about.  No account on your credit report and no dispute comment.

Scenario 2:

If the result of the investigation does not lead to the account being deleted, then under the comment/remarks section for the particular account, the creditor may ask the credit bureaus to put a remark stating “consumer disputes account.”

As a result ith this remark, the account stops factoring into the credit score and artificially increasing the credit score.

So if you were to apply for a mortgage loan, the lender will want this comment removed in order to get an accurate credit score.

Two different types of dispute comments

Variation 1 – ” Account disputed” or “account disputed, investigation in process”

While either of these comments is present on an account on the credit report, the particular account will not factor into the credit score. So Lenders normally want these two types of dispute comments removed, especially from negative accounts.

If the account reflects the first variation of “account disputed,’ then the dispute comment may stay on the credit report indefinitely.

However, if a re-investigation is in the process, it indicates the credit bureaus are conducting an investigation and within 30 days, they will either update or remove the account.

In addition, the bureaus may change the comment to simply “account disputed,” which will keep the account from being factored into the score. They can also update the comment to show the ‘dispute resolved’, as explained next.

Variation 2. “Account was in dispute-now resolved”
The account will reflect this comment, following the completion of a dispute investigation by the credit bureaus. However, with this comment, the account will be factored into the credit score. For this reason, banks and prospective lenders will not take notice of this particular type of dispute comment.

When Removing a Dispute Comment Will Increase your Credit Score

If you have an account that is in dispute (showing a variation 1 dispute comment), but, with a positive history, free of any late payments or charge-off or collection status on your credit report then you’re in luck!

Removing the dispute comment may result in a score increase.

When Removing a Dispute Comment Will Decrease your Credit Score

If on the other hand, you’re removing a dispute comment from a negative account, then removing the dispute comment may result in a credit score decrease. But you may need to do this as a pre-condition to get approved.

How long does it take to remove a dispute comment?

Now, this can vary. If you get a hold of someone with the credit bureaus by phone, then it could be as quick as 4 business days. Otherwise, if you write or fax your request to the credit bureaus, it may take up to 30 days.

Calling the Credit Bureaus for Instant Dispute Comment Deletions

I always recommend my clients call the bureaus first to remove dispute comments. But understand that you may spend some time on hold, but it often fixes the problem.  Below are numbers and prompts I’ve used to get live a live person with each of the credit bureaus.

EXPERIAN CONTACT 

Call 855-414-6148 (select options 2, 1, 2, 1 after you’re prompted for your SSN# and DoB, etc)

This will get you to a live agent. If this doesn’t work then pull your free Experian report at Experian report from annualcreditreport.com or sign up for a freecreditreport.com account.

This will give you special phone #s that change seasonally and a report id# to get through to customer service quicker.

Tell them that you are purchasing a home and you would like for a dispute remark to be removed from a specific account on your credit report and that you are no longer disputing those accounts.

Next, ask them how long it takes for this to be done. If you’re told it will take more than a couple of days, you must then tell them that you are needing to move forward with the closing on your home and ask if it can be expedited sooner.

Repeat the process for the other two credit bureaus below.

EQUIFAX CONTACT 

Phone # 800-846-5279 (picked up by a live agent, but hold times are long)

Tell them that you would like for the dispute to be removed from some accounts on your credit report due to a home purchase. Ask for a manager directly.

TRANSUNION CONTACT 

Phone number: 800-916-8800. Extension 4 then extension 2.

Ask for their special handling unit and tell them you’ve got a loan pending and must get a dispute remark removed ASAP.

If a Phone Number doesn’t work:

In the event that you’re not able to get through with the numbers above, try to pull a credit report from www.annualcreditreport.com or the particular credit bureaus website.

What’s good about this is that this report will give you a phone number as well as your personal credit report ID#. This may help in getting your call through quicker, especially when dealing with Experian.

Writing to the credit bureaus to remove dispute remarks

If calling the credit bureaus doesn’t work, then you may also write to them. But know that this takes a few weeks to correct the report. Below is a sample dispute letter to remove dispute comments, use it and modify to fit your own words.


Credit Bureau Letter for Removing Dispute Comments

Send out the letter to each of the three credit bureaus via certified mail or fax.

Enclose a copy of each of the following:
1. SSN card (or anything showing your full SSN#)
2. Recent utility bill (or page from a bank statement)
3. State-issued identification.

————————————————————————————————–
Date:
Full Name:
Mailing Address:
Date of Birth, SSN#

{If Sending to Experian: P.O. Box 4500, Allen, TX 75013} OR BY FAX : 1-972-390-4908
{If Sending to Equifax: P.O. Box 740256, Atlanta, GA 30374-0256} OR BY FAX : 1-888-826-0549
{If Sending to Transunion: P.O. Box 2000, Chester, PA 19016} – Transunion no longer accepts fax

{Date}

RE: REQUEST TO UPDATE CREDIT REPORT, PLEASE RUSH LOAN PENDING

To whom it may concern,

In accordance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act Section 611 (15 U.S.C. § 1681I), I am practicing my right to “UPDATE” information that does not reflect the current status of certain accounts. More specifically pertaining to comments on accounts. I am requesting that you remove the “disputed comments” on each of the accounts below with immediate effect. The accounts have either never been disputed, to begin with, or are no longer in dispute.

I am asking the dispute comment to be removed from the following items:

{Creditor Name} {ac# }
{Creditor Name} {ac# }
{Creditor Name} {ac# }
{Creditor Name} {ac# }

Once again this is not a request to investigate, but to update, so I expect you to update my file as soon as possible and not the regular 30 day period you’re allowed for disputes

Truly,

{Name}

{Signature}

————————————————————————————————–

If the credit bureaus do not remove the dispute comment

So you’ve written to the bureaus and called them and they’ve flat out refused to remove the late payments?

Here’s what’s worked for my clients; Call the creditor and specifically ask for their ‘credit bureau department.’ If they don’t have one then ask for a manager. Let them know you are no longer disputing the item and you want them to make a notation of that and they should remove the dispute comment from the credit bureaus.

Something to consider here, if the account is an unpaid negative account like a collection or charge-off, then you want to weigh your options about calling the creditor. Because calling the creditors may encourage them to re-start collection activity now that you’ve propped your head up on their radar.

What you need to know is legally creditors have a certain amount of time to collect, also known as the “statute of limitations,’

Therefore, unless you’re in a position to pay off the debt, then before calling a creditor make sure to check the statute of limitation for debts in your state and confirm it has expired.

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