It is vital that credit reports provide an accurate and up-to-date picture of people’s credit histories, which is why it is sensible for all of us to review our credit reports on a regular basis.
James Jones, Head of Consumer Affairs at Experian, says: “It’s vital that people review their credit reports on a regular basis and tell us if they find any mistakes. We can then get to work setting the record straight before the information becomes a problem, such as a credit application being unfairly refused by a lender.
“We will quickly get to work on your behalf by contacting the lender. It’s important that existing or potential borrowers take steps to dealing with mistakes because not doing so could stop them getting the credit they deserve.”
If incorrect credit information has been registered on a report, such as missed payments, swift action can result in the situation being resolved within a matter of days. If you report a mistake to Experian it will raise a ‘data dispute’ with the lender on your behalf, and add a flag to say it has been disputed by the data subject. This means that care should be taken by any lender looking at your report while the dispute is ongoing, if using the disputed information in a lending decision.
Experian’s five steps to disputing information on a credit report:
1. Get a current copy of your Experian Credit Report
If you don’t have one you can sign up to CreditExpert or order a one-off £2 statutory report – go to www.experian.co.uk for details.
2. Let us know which entry isn’t accurate
Tell us which entry is inaccurate, and what’s wrong with it. You can either do this by email, post or using our online query forms. All Experian’s contact details can be found here: http://www.experian.co.uk/consumer/contact-us/index.html.
3. We’ll contact the organisation that’s recorded this information on your report
And we’ll ask them to check the accuracy of the data they’ve recorded. We’ll let you know that we’re doing this, and we’ll add a ‘Notice of Dispute’ to the entry – so that anyone looking at your report in the meantime will know that the entry is being disputed. We do this because we can’t delete or change the data without the lender’s permission.
4. We’ll let you know the outcome
Once the organisation replies to us we’ll be in touch to let you know whether they’ve said it can be updated, deleted or confirmed that it’s correct. It takes eight working days on average for us to receive a response and we’ll let you know as soon as we hear from them.
5. Further help
If the organisation / lender responds informing us that they believe the information is accurate and you still disagree, we will explain the next step you can take, including adding a ‘notice of correction’ (an explanatory statement) to the entry or referring the matter to a third party to arbitrate, for example, the Financial Ombudsman Service or the Information Commissioner’s Office.