If your student loans are incorrectly listed on your credit report, 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 any supporting documents. Put together another package with these items to send to your lender. Within 30 days, mail both packets and follow up with the reporting bureau. Get new copies of your credit reports, double-check that the corrections were made, and, if necessary, notify anyone who has checked your credit in the last 6 months.
Part 1: Filing a Complaint with a Credit Reporting Agency
1. Instead of submitting a form online, send a dispute letter. While filing online is faster and easier, online forms frequently contain unfavourable terms. For example, if you file online, you may unintentionally agree to an arbitration clause. This means that if the reporting bureau does not resolve your dispute, you will be unable to take them to court. TransUnion Consumer Solutions, P.O. Box 2000, Chester, PA 19016 is the mailing address for the reporting agencies.
Experian, Allen, TX 75013, P.O. Box 4500.
Equifax, Atlanta, GA 30374, P.O. Box 740256.
You only need to contact one credit bureau. If they determine that the error should be corrected, they will notify the other two bureaus.
2. Obtain a new copy of your credit report. The first step is to ensure that an updated copy of your credit report contains the error you want to dispute. Every year, you are entitled to a free credit report from each of the three credit reporting bureaus. You can also get a free credit report if you have been denied a loan, credit card, lease, or job because of your credit in the last 60 days.
If you can’t get a free report, you’ll have to pay around $15 for one.
3. Highlight any inaccuracies in your report. Examine the report for any errors, such as incorrect information about your student loans. Print it if you have a digital copy. Mark or circle the errors you want the reporting bureau to fix.
4. Write a letter in which you explain your dispute in detail. Keep the letter brief and simple. Include your full name, mailing address, and phone number. Describe the error and the account it is associated with, as well as why it should be removed from your report. Take note of any documents you’ve included to support your case.
Assume you have two student loans that have been transferred to a new servicer multiple times. As a result of these transactions, your report now lists 16 active loans rather than 2. Explain the situation in two or three sentences, provide your lender’s information, and make it clear that they can confirm this information with your lender.
As a starting point, see https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0384-sample-letter-disputing-errors-on-your-credit-report.
5. Include copies of any documents that you believe will help your case. Payment records or loan statements that show your account is not past due could be used as evidence. Make sure to send copies rather than originals.
For example, if your report shows that you failed to make student loan payments, include check copies or bank statements to prove that you did. If your report lists more loans than you actually have, provide loan statements that show the true number of loans you have.
6. Certified mail should be used to send the package. In an envelope, place your letter, highlighted credit report, and any supporting documents. Send it certified mail with a request for a return receipt. This creates a paper trail, and you will be able to demonstrate that the reporting bureau received your packet.
Part 2: Making Contact with Your Loan Servicer
1. Create a letter that succinctly explains your situation. The letter you send to your lender will be similar to the one you sent to the credit reporting bureau. Identify the error, explain why it must be corrected, and notify them that you have filed a dispute with a reporting bureau.
As a starting point, see https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0485-sample-letter-disputing-errors-in-your-credit-report-information-providers.
The company that manages and accepts payments on your loan account is known as your loan servicer. Send a letter to both companies if a new servicer purchased your loan and both accounts appear on your credit report.
2. Please provide a copy of your credit report as well as any supporting documentation. Assemble the same document package that you sent to the reporting bureau. Print a copy of your credit report and highlight the errors. Include any supporting documents, such as payment records or loan statements.
3. Certified mail the packet to your service provider. Send the packet to your lender, along with a return receipt request. You will, once again, create a paper trail to ensure that your lender received the packet.
To find the correct mailing address, go to your loan servicer’s website or call their customer service line.
Part 3: Dispute Resolution
1. Discuss a solution with your loan servicer. Your loan servicer should contact you, most likely by phone, within a few business days of receiving your packet. If they determine that they made a mistake, they will inform you of the steps they are taking to correct the problem.
Even if they reject your dispute, you can still work with the credit bureau to correct the error.
Even if your loan servicer informs you that the error has been corrected, you should still contact the credit reporting bureau.
2. Within 30 days, follow up with the reporting bureau. Within 30 days, the credit reporting bureau must investigate and resolve the dispute. If they do not contact you, call their toll-free customer service number and inquire about the status of your dispute.
They will either decide that errors must be corrected or dismiss your complaint.
3. Obtain new copies of your credit reports. If the reporting bureau determines that mistakes must be corrected, they will make the necessary changes and notify the other bureaus. Each credit bureau is required to provide you with a free credit report. Check to ensure that the information on your new reports is correct.
4. Request that the credit reporting bureau notify anyone who has recently checked your credit. If a company has made an inquiry into your credit history (for example, for a loan or job application), notify the reporting bureau of the error. You have the option of having the bureau contact anyone who has checked your credit history in the last 6 months.
If you were denied credit because of an error on your credit report, notify the person or business that checked your credit. Inform them that you are in the process of filing a dispute and will keep them updated on the status of your case.
Assume your report incorrectly listed 16 student loans when you only have two. You were then denied a credit card by a bank because you had too many open lines of credit. The reporting bureau can confirm with the bank that your report was error-free, and you may be approved for the credit card.
5. If you are dissatisfied, file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. File a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau if the error was not corrected or if you did not receive a response within 30 days (CFPB). Please file your complaint at https://www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/#credit-reporting. You should hear back within 15 days.
You will give the CFPB the dates, amounts, companies involved, and other information about your dispute. You can upload digital copies of any supporting documents to the complaint form. Within 15 days of receiving your complaint, the CFPB will contact you to discuss possible solutions, such as legal action.
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