RE: How to removing late payments from credit reports?
I have one credit card on my credit reports that has two 30 day late payments. I was not the card owner, my mother was and I was listed as an authorized user on the card. She was arguing a charge and said they weren’t charges she made and they eventually closed the card and didn’t make her pay it (I think) but the two late payments are still there. Can I have these removed since I didn’t make the charges or are they stuck there since I was an authorized user of the card? Does it still affect my credit report as an authorized user?
Reporting accounts on the credit reports of authorized users is allowed by federal law, despite the fact that authorized users are not legally liable for the debts. The purpose behind this law was to assist women, who in the past had a very difficult time establishing credit independent of their husbands, to use their husbands’ accounts to build their own independent credit profile.
I encourage you to contact the credit card company and ask them about their policy regarding reporting authorized users. You may also be able to clarify whether the late payments were accurate. If they are not accurate then you can proceed by disputing the items. Below are the steps to
Steps to dispute credit report
The Federal Trade Commission lists the following steps as the appropriate method for resolving credit reporting inaccuracies:
Step 1: Get Your Credit Report
An amendment to the FCRA requires each of the nationwide consumer reporting companies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months.
The three nationwide consumer reporting companies have set up a Web site, toll-free telephone number, and mailing address through which you can order your free annual report. To order, visit AnnualCreditReport.com, call 1-877-322-8228, or complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mail it to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. You can print this form. Do not contact the three nationwide consumer reporting companies individually.
You may order your reports from each of the three nationwide consumer reporting companies at the same time, or you can order from only one or two. The law allows you to order one free copy from each of the nationwide consumer reporting companies every 12 months.
You need to provide your name, address, Social Security number, and date of birth. If you have moved in the last two years, you may have to provide your previous address. To maintain the security of your file, each nationwide consumer reporting company may ask you for some information that only you would know, like the amount of your monthly mortgage payment. Each company may ask you for different information because the information each has in your file may come from different sources.
Step 2: Look for Errors
Review the report and compare the information it contains to information you know to be accurate. In particular, make sure the report contains your accurate:
• Social Security number
• Address and previous addresses
• Accounts and account numbers
If any of the above information is inaccurate, the consumer credit reporting company may have added incorrect information to your account accidentally. This is very common. Alternatively, someone may be using your identity.
Under the FCRA, both the consumer reporting agency (i.e., Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion) and the information provider (i.e., the person, company, or organization that provides information about you to a consumer reporting agency) are responsible for correcting inaccurate or incomplete information in your report. To take advantage of all your rights under this law, contact the consumer reporting agency and the information provider.
Step 3: Correct the Errors
Tell the consumer reporting agency, in writing what information you think is inaccurate. Include copies (NOT originals) of documents that support your position. In addition to providing your complete name and address, your letter should clearly identify each item in your report you dispute, state the facts and explain why you dispute the information, and request that it be removed or corrected. You may want to enclose a copy of your report with the items in question circled. Send your letter by certified mail, “return receipt requested,” so you can document what the consumer reporting agency received. Keep copies of your dispute letter and enclosures.
Consumer reporting agencies must investigate the items in question — usually within 30 days — unless they consider your dispute frivolous. They also must forward all the relevant data you provide about the inaccuracy to the organization that provided the information.
After the information provider receives notice of a dispute from the consumer reporting agency, it must investigate, review the relevant information, and report the results back to the consumer reporting company. If the information provider finds the disputed information is inaccurate, it must notify all three nationwide consumer reporting companies so they can correct the information in your file.
When the investigation is complete, the consumer reporting agency must give you the results in writing and a free copy of your report if the dispute results in a change. This free report does not count as your annual free report. If an item is changed or deleted, the consumer reporting company cannot put the disputed information back in your file unless the information provider verifies that it is accurate and complete. The consumer reporting company also must send you written notice that includes the name, address, and phone number of the information provider.
If you ask, the consumer reporting agency must send notices of any corrections to anyone who received your report in the past six months. You can have a corrected copy of your report sent to anyone who received a copy during the past two years for employment purposes.
If an investigation doesn’t resolve your dispute with the consumer reporting company, you can ask that a statement of the dispute be included in your file and in future reports. You also can ask the consumer reporting agency to provide your statement to anyone who received a copy of your report in the recent past. You can expect to pay a fee for this service.
Step 4: Dispute the Errors
Tell the creditor or other information provider, in writing, that you dispute an item. Be sure to include copies (NOT originals) of documents that support your position. Many providers specify an address for disputes. If the provider reports the item to a consumer reporting company, it must include a notice of your dispute. And if you are correct — that is, if the information is found to be inaccurate — the information provider may not report it again.
To obtain a sample of a dispute letter please visit the Bills.com Debt Self-Help Center.
The three major consumer reporting agencies also offer consumers the ability to dispute a credit listing online. See Experian’s Disputing Credit Report Errors, TransUnion’s Credit Disputes, and Equifax Online Dispute Web pages.