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What can I do about a problem on my credit report?

Produced by Mariah Jennings-Rampsi, South Coastal Counties Legal Services, with funding from American College of Bankruptcy
Reviewed October 2019

If your credit report is wrong, write a letter to ask the credit reporting agency to investigate. The agency must investigate your claim within 30 business days. The agency will ask the creditor to review its records. If the credit reporting agency thinks your claim is “frivolous or irrelevant,” it does not have to investigate. If the credit reporting agency learns the credit report was wrong, it must correct your report.1 You can use the “investigate my report” letter

If you disagree with the results of the credit bureau’s investigation, write a short statement. In the statement, explain why you disagree with the report. The credit reporting agency must include your statement each time it sends out your credit report. 2  

Negative information can only be on your credit report for a certain amount of time.

  • Credit card debt must come off your report after 7 years.
  • Bankruptcy filings must come off your credit report after 10 years. 3 
  • When the court orders that you owe money, it is called a judgment. Judgments must come off your credit report after 20 years.

Learn more with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Disputing Errors on Your Credit Report Handout.

You can also sue if the credit bureau and creditor do not follow the law by properly reporting your credit information.  If the credit bueau:

  • does not investigate your non-frivolous and non-irrelevant claim, or
  • does not fix the problem after you asked them to do so,

you can sue them and the creditor.  Find a consumer lawyer.  You may be able to get one for free from legal services.


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