How to Dispute an Item on Your Credit Report
Accurate reporting of your credit information is the number one goal of the two main credit reporting bureaus in Canada, Equifax and TransUnion. Unfortunately, sometimes mistakes are made and inaccurate information is included on your credit report. When this happens, both Equifax and TransUnion are required, by law, to investigate, confirm, or change any information that you dispute.
All consumers and credit users have the right to dispute information that they know is inaccurate. Once a dispute is initiated, the credit reporting bureau must launch an investigation to confirm the validity of the information in question.
Considering a credit monitoring service? Check out this article.
How to Launch a Dispute
If you feel as though your credit report includes inaccurate information concerning your credit history, depending on which credit bureau you feel has recorded inaccurate information, there are several ways you can initiate a dispute.
Keep in mind that your credit report from one bureau may be different from the other. If both bureaus have reported inaccurate information, you’ll need to get in contact with both.
You can initiate a dispute with TransUnion either over the phone or by mail.
For service in English (except if you live in Quebec) call: 1-800-663-9980
For service in French and for anyone living in Quebec call: 1-877-713-3393 or 514-335-0374 (in Montreal)
To initiate a dispute by mail you’ll need to download, print, and fill out an Investigation Request Form.
For service in English (except if you live in Quebec) mail your completed form to:
TransUnion Consumer Relations Department
P.O. Box 338, LCD1
For service in French and for anyone living in Quebec, mail your completed form to:
Centre de relations au consommateur
CP 1433 Succ. St-Martin
Laval, QC, H7V 3P7
You can initiate a dispute with Equifax either by mail or fax. For both options, you’ll need to fill out the Consumer Credit Report Update Form.
Equifax Canada Co.
Consumer Relations Department
Box 190 Jean Talon Station
What You Need
During your communication with the credit reporting bureaus, you’ll be asked to provide any of the following information:
- Your Social Insurance Number (SIN)
- Your full name
- Your date of birth
- Your phone number
- Your current employment information
- Your current address
- Your previous address if you’ve been living at your current address for less than two years.
- The name of the company associated with the item you want to dispute (you should get the correct name from your credit report).
- The account number of the item you wish to dispute
- The reason why you wish to dispute the item
- Documentation that supports your dispute (this depends greatly on what type of dispute you are making and the credit bureau you’re working with).
Learn how to read your credit report here.
What to Expect During the Dispute Process
Once you’ve filled out the necessary forms and provided all the information the credit reporting bureaus need, the issue is out of your hands. The credit reporting bureaus will now verify the information that you’ve disputed. Typically, you can expect the following:
- First, the credit reporting bureau will double check their own information that they have on file.
- Next, if this does not resolve the issue, they will contact the company that the information has come from.
- If the company verifies that the information is incorrect, the credit reporting bureau will update your credit report.
- If the company confirms that the information your credit reporting bureau has, is in fact, correct, no changes will be made to your credit report.
Depending on which credit bureau you’re dealing with and how you submitted your dispute, you can expect the process to be completed within 30 days. Once the disputed information has either been confirmed or changed, you will receive a written letter from the credit bureau to inform you of the results of your dispute.
What is a Consumer Statement?
If the credit reporting bureau is able to verify the information that you’ve disputed, and therefore will not be changing it, you are legally allowed to add a consumer statement to your credit report. A consumer statement is a short 100 word (200 words in the province of Saskatchewan) explanation that can be attached to the item that you disputed. Any future organizations that pull your credit report will be able to read this consumer statement. It will remain on your credit report for 6 years, and you may request that it be removed at any time.
It’s important to remember that only incorrect information can be removed from your credit report. Disputing a credit account that is in negative standing, simply because it reflects badly on your credit behaviours, will not work. Negative information remains on a credit report for a legally allotted amount of time (looking for more information on how long information remains on your credit report? Read this article).