Declaring your exact credit information is the primary goal of Canada’s two credit bureaus, Equifox and TransUnite. Unfortunately, sometimes errors are made and inaccurate information is included in your credit report. When this happens, both Equifox and TransUnite are required by law to investigate, confirm or change any information you dispute. All consumers and credit users have the right to challenge information they know to be inaccurate. Once the dispute has begun, the credit bureau must launch an investigation to confirm the validity of the information in question.
How to dispute wrong information
If you believe that your credit file includes inaccurate information about your credit history, there are different ways to dispute it, depending on the credit bureau you suspect of recording the wrong information. Be aware that your credit report may be different from one office to another. If both offices have reported inaccurate information, you should contact both.
What do you need?
During your communication with the credit bureaus, you will need to provide one of the following information:
- Your Social Insurance Number (SIN)
- Full Name
- Birth date
- Phone number
- Current job information
- Current address
- Previous address if you have lived for less than two years at your current address
- The name of the company associated with the item you want to dispute (you should get the exact name of your credit report)
- The account number of the item you wish to dispute
- The reason you want to challenge the element
- The documentation that supports your dispute (this largely depends on the type of dispute you are making and the credit bureau you are working with)
What to expect during the process of resolving your dispute
Once you have completed the necessary forms and provided all the information that credit bureaus need, the problem is out of your hands. The credit bureaus will now check the information you have challenged. In general, you can anticipate the following:
- First, the credit bureau will re-check its own information.
- Then, if that does not solve the problem, they will contact the company where the information comes from.
- If the company verifies that the information is incorrect, the credit reporting office will update your credit report.
The information that your credit report office has, in fact, is correct, no change will be made to your credit report.
Depending on which credit bureau you deal with and how you submitted your dispute, you can expect the process to be completed within 30 days. Once the disputed information has been confirmed or changed, you will receive a written letter from the credit bureau to inform you of the outcome of your dispute.
What is a consumer declaration?
If the credit bureau is able to verify the information you have contested, but without changing anything, you are legally allowed to add a consumer statement to your credit report. A consumer statement is a short explanation of 100 words (200 words in the province of Saskatchewan) that can be attached to the article you have challenged. Any future organizations that will evaluate your credit report will be able to read this consumer statement. This will remain on your credit report for 6 years, and you can request that it be withdrawn at any time. It is important to remember that only incorrect information can be removed from your credit report. Contesting a credit account that is in a negative position, simply because it reflects poorly on your credit behavior, will not work. Negative information remains on a credit report for a legally allocated time.