Repairing Your Credit

It can be time-consuming and frustrating process to repair credit problems arising from prior disputes with vendors or identity theft. Day after day we receive applications from frustrated Canadians who have a major problem with something being reported on their credit bureau.

consumer protectionHave you ever had a dispute with one of the major Canadian cell phone providers? You may be surprised to hear that to save themselves the time and headache they send the matter to collections. What does this mean for you? Your credit rating gets hammered. Most Canadians find themselves in what seems like a helpless situation when these things happen.

Well, there is good news! There are laws that establish procedures for correcting credit reporting and billing errors and for stopping collection agencies from contacting you about debts you don’t owe. The Consumer Reporting Act, established in the majority of Canadian provinces and territories, discloses the procedures for correcting mistakes on your credit record.

How to Deal With Credit Rating Agencies (Equifax & Transunion)

To protect your rights under the law, contact both the credit rating agency and the original vendor/collection agency providing the information to them. First, call the credit rating agency and always follow up in writing so you have a record of your attempts. Explain to the them what information you believe is inaccurate and always include a copy of your supporting evidence/documents to support your position.

Whatever you do, do not give them your only original copy!

In addition to providing your complete name and address, your letter should clearly identify each item in your credit report that you dispute, give the facts and explain why you dispute the information referring to your attached supporting documents, and request deletion or correction. You may want to enclose a copy of your credit report if you have one already and highlight the item(s) you are disputing. Send your letter by registered mail so that you can track when it has been delivered and request a signature/return receipt. Keep copies of everything you send.

By law, once the credit file has been corrected, the credit reporting agency must notify anyone who has pulled your previous report within 60 days in advance of the correction. In addition, at the request of the consumer, the agency must notify persons who received the incorrect report within the previous six months to one year, depending on the circumstances and the type of information contained in the report. If your problem is not resolved, contact the Registrar of Consumer Reporting Agencies in the Ministry of Small Business and Consumer Services at 1-800-889-9768.

How to Deal With Creditors and Credit Information Providers

In addition to writing to Equifax and Transunion, tell the vendor/collection agency or other information providers in writing that you dispute an item. Again, notify these parties in writing, with copies of evidence, and a letter to support your position. If you need to track down an address where you can send your dispute, check the company’s website, as often times they will put a dispute address on the website, either in the footer of the page or with their other corporate information. If the information provider then reports the item to any credit agency, it must include a notice of your dispute. In addition, if you are correct – that is, if the disputed information is not accurate – the information provider may not use it again.

Original Sources used in this Article:  Office of Consumer Affairs of Canada (OCA)