Nobody ever has the time to check their credit reports, go through them carefully, decipher the codes and columns — until they are closing on a new house on Tuesday, and there is a problem. Then, I get to explain that a credit report dispute takes at least 30 days.
However, when you are sheltering in place or quarantined or social distancing that’s a great time. You an get a free copy of your credit report from www.annualcreditreport.com . You are entitled to one free report from each of the three major Credit Reporting Agencies (CRA’s) every year. (You can get additional free copies for other reasons, like a denial of credit.) So, start by downloading your credit report. Then, go through it carefully. This is the hard part. Don’t just check the names of the creditors, like with so many things, the Devil is in the details. Check the payment history, the outstanding balance, the monthly payment amount, the date of last activity (which should be the last time you used or made a payment on the account, it should not be the time the present owner of the account bought it). Those things can make huge differences in your access to credit. Make sure they are all correct.
If you find something that is not correct, dispute it. You will get information for disputing it online. If you want to do that for a first dispute, fine; but do a screen shot or otherwise record the terms and time of the dispute just in case. Remember, the Credit Reporting Agencies don’t work for you. You are not their customer. Their customers are the people who pay them, and those people are the creditors who report to the CRA’s. If the first dispute is not successful. I suggest doing it again, and doing it in writing and sent by certified mail. Although, I also suggest talking to a lawyer at that point in time.