Paying off credit cards or other debts can be a huge relief. Unfortunately, your relief can turn into a nightmare if the repayment is incorrectly noted on your credit report. One woman paid off five credit cards using a consolidation loan on her car. Her lenders never properly accounted for the payoffs, resulting in charge-offs appearing on her credit reports.

The woman faced many problems commonly faced by people with credit report errors: Debt collectors called. Potential employers questioned her debts, and banks refused her application for a home remodeling loan. The woman provided information about the payoffs to the credit cards, debt collectors and credit card bureaus, but nothing changed.

Then the woman did something that many people do, but should not. She gave up. People with mistakes on their credit reports have options when errors on credit reports are not corrected.

The woman says she did not have the money to hire an attorney. Many people – especially those with debt problems – believe they do not have the money to hire an attorney. But often lawyers who represent people in credit report disputes work on a contingency fee basis, which means they are not paid unless their client receives money from a lawsuit or settlement. These attorneys often offer free consultations.

Some credit counseling firms can help consumers who need to file a dispute under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. In addition, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau can help. After a consumer has filed a dispute with a credit reporting agency, the CFPB can resend a complaint to the agency for a second investigation.

Source: MSN Money, “When you can’t fix your credit report,” May 1, 2013

  • Our law firm handles cases like these in the Washington, D.C., area. For more information, visit our Fair Credit Reporting Act page.

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