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How to Correct Errors on Your Credit Report

16 September 2012

With today’s consumer debt ratio at an all-time high, more and more people are starting to look at their debt problem and trying to come up with a way to correct it. For many, this will mean first obtaining a copy of their credit report to see where they stand and what debt needs to be paid off.

But after you get this credit report, almost any article or expert will tell you to check it over, look for errors, and have those errors corrected. That’s it. That’s where it’s left, before moving onto the next step – repaying your debt. But let’s go back just a second. How are you supposed to correct those errors? While it’s often an issue that’s overlooked, the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada does a pretty good job of explaining it.

Small errors, such as a misspelling of your name, can usually be corrected simply by contacting the credit reporting agency. But the errors you’ll be most concerned about are those that pertain to debt that you’ve already paid off, but that are still showing as overdue or unpaid on your credit report. For the purposes of this post, these are the errors we’ll focus on.

Start by collecting any receipts, statements or documents that verify that you have paid the debt off. You will most likely need to show these at some point to back up your claim. Also remember to take copies. Once you submit them, you never know if you’re going to get them back. You want to make sure you have them for your own reference.

Then you’ll need to fill out a form for requesting changes to your credit report due to errors. The two major crediting reporting agencies in Canada, Equifax Canada and TransUnion Canada, each have their own forms. The agency will then contact the lender that filed the claim to verify that you have paid. If the lender indicates that you have repaid the debt, it will be a simply matter of the agency making the changes on your file. Depending on the province, if these changes are made the agency may be required to send a copy of the updated report to lenders that have recently requested a copy.

If the lender disputes the fact that you have repaid the debt, the credit reporting agency won’t make any changes. If that’s the case and you wish to pursue it, ask to speak to someone with more authority at the reporting agency. When speaking to them, ask them what their policies are for handling complaints. The FCAC also has a tool that you can use to look up complaint policies of either of the agencies.

One thing that many are not aware of is the fact that if you’re still not happy after going to all these lengths, you may be able to add a consumer statement. This is a statement that’s usually a maximum of 100 words, and that allows you to provide further information about a certain debt item on your report. You could include the fact that you’ve tried to pay but they won’t accept it (for reasons of mode of payment or other,) or that you’ve paid it off and have receipts to verify it. This statement will be seen by anyone who requests a copy of your credit report; and they may consider it when trying to determine whether or not to give you a loan.

So there you have it. Now that you know how to correct errors on your credit report, obtain a copy of yours and make sure everything on it is correct.

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