Q: How can I have a consumer statement removed from my credit report?
A: It can be very simple to get a consumer statement removed, depending on which credit bureau you’re dealing with.
But first of all, for those who may not know, a consumer statement is that 100-word explanation or statement that you are permitted by law to add to your credit reports if you are dissatisfied with the results of a dispute investigation.
In other words, anytime you write to Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion and you dispute some information that is contained in your credit files, those credit reporting agencies have, by law, 30 days to investigate.
If the information that’s on your credit report is inaccurate, outdated, or can’t be verified, under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, that information must be eliminated from your credit reports.
But let’s say an item was verified or a creditor disputed your version of the incident.
Well, then, the creditor’s information is going to remain on your credit report, and their version of events will be reflected.
They might say you were late making a late payment or they might supply some other negative information about you. In such cases, again, under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you do have the right to add a 100-word consumer statement to sort of tell your side of the event and to perhaps elaborate on the dispute.
Readers of AskTheMoneyCoach.com will know that I recommend that you do not put a consumer statement on your credit report mainly because it is of little help to you and in many cases, it can actually hurt you.
First of all, most people who put a consumer statement on their credit report try to explain why it was they didn’t pay a bill or explain the circumstances under which there was some kind of a delinquency or a credit default.
Maybe there was a divorce, a layoff, maybe there was a death in the family. It could have been, in your mind certainly, a very valid reason that led you to get behind on a loan, but from a lender’s standpoint, they just see it as a rationalization.
They see it as fiscal mismanagement or as being not as credit worthy from the standpoint of not protecting yourself or having additional cash reserves to be able to deal with whatever the situation you encountered.
So bottom line: lenders really don’t see those consumer statements as legitimate reasons. In addition to that, the consumer statement itself stays on your credit report for 10 long years.
Whatever the delinquency is might have actually gone away. Maybe you disputed something or put a consumer statement on your report about something that happened three or five or seven years ago, and now it is going to be deleted in a few short years, once it reaches the 10 year mark.
Well, the delinquency itself will go away before the actual consumer statement goes away. So you’re raising a red flag to a creditor who might not have even known about the issue.
For these reasons, if you have a consumer statement on your credit report, you probably want to get it deleted. Here’s how.
You simply can write to the credit bureaus and ask them to remove the consumer statement from your credit report. TransUnion definitely allows you to easily do this.
To send a removal request to TransUnion, you just write to their Pennsylvania offices at TransUnion Consumer Relations, P.O. Box 2000, Chester, Pennsylvania, 19022.
The other credit bureaus, Experian and Equifax have their specific mailing addresses, of course, as well, and you can write to them.
Alternatively, you can get online and go to each credit bureau’s website, go into the dispute section, and then indicate that the nature of the dispute, you’ll probably have to check a box that says other, if that’s available online to you. An online dispute resolution would be faster than doing something by mail.
Simply put, what you’re trying to do is sort of dispute a dispute, if that makes sense. Essentially, you want to indicate to the credit bureau that this information is no longer valid or this consumer statement is no longer valid, relevant, or in dispute.
You can just say: “Please remove the consumer statement from my credit report.” Your request can literally be as simple as that.