If I Find a Mistake in My Equifax Credit Report What Should I Do?

Equifax has a general procedure for updating and fixing errors in its credit report files. They would prefer you to order a free copy of your credit report first. With the report, they will send you a blank “Equifax Consumer Credit Report Update Form.” Here’s what you should do and what you’ll need to correct a mistake in your Equifax credit report.

Why Should I Get My Equifax Credit Report First?

Obviously if there is something urgently wrong with your credit file, you may need to contact Equifax by telephone to start making corrections.

For routine problems, however, there are some advantages to following their preferred method:

  • By ordering your free report you will be able to review all of the information on your file. You may find several other minor errors that are contributing to the problem. For example, you might find they have a middle name listed which is not yours or a credit card that does not belong to you but to someone with a similar name.
  • The Update Form they mail to you will have your Equifax Unique Number pre-typed on the form. That number will help ensure they don’t make matters worse by confusing your request for updates with someone else’s.

Equifax has to deal with a significant number of errors every day. By following their preferred routine your file is more likely to get handled properly and promptly.

What Does Equifax Request on the Consumer Credit Report Update Form?

As you might expect, the form asks for information to help properly identify you. This includes your

  • last and first name, initial, and suffix if applicable such as Senior, Junior etc
  • current and previous address including postal codes
  • date of birth
  • social insurance number (this is optional)
  • current employment

There are then two additional parts to the form.

Public Record Information
Two identical lines are provided in this section. Each allows you to identify:

  • Courthouse Name or Agency
  • Case Number or Account or Plaintiff
  • Reason for Investigation
    • Not Mine
    • Satisfied
    • Dismissed
    • Discharged
    • Released
    • Other (Please explain)

Credit Account Information
Two identical lines are provided in this section. Each allows you to identify:

  • Company Name
  • Account Number
  • Reason for Investigation
    • Not Mine
    • Paid in full
    • Account Closed
    • Transferred/Refinanced
    • Current/Previous Rating Incorrect
    • Other (Please explain)

What Else Do You Need to Provide?

You must sign the form and provide a daytime telephone number where you can be reached to discuss your request.

You should include photocopies of

  • all necessary documents
  • your id (two pieces of valid id which include your current address)

To update your personal credit report.

Examples include

  • receipts
  • legal documents

What Will Happen Next?

Equifax will verify the necessary information and will mail you a confirmation.

Any new information you provide including personal id information such as your driver’s license and passport number will be used to update Equifax’ records. It may also be given to Equifax customers as part of your credit report.

What Else Can You Request from Equifax?

You can ask Equifax to send a revised copy of your credit file to any creditors who have recently accessed your file. To do this, you must provide Equifax with

  • A contact name at the creditor’s organization
  • a fax number; and
  • a telephone number

So if, for example, you were refused a new loan because of an error in your Equifax report, after supplying the information to correct the error, you can ask Equifax to fax a copy of the revised report to the loan officer at your bank.

What Are Some Common Mistakes in Credit Files?

Personally, my credit file is so simple I haven’t had to correct any errors. However, having read many posts on online chat boards, I’ve noticed some common errors. These include

  • If two people have very similar names, some credit information for one person may end up on the file for the other person.
  • If someone is jointly responsible for paying a bill but moves and the other person defaults, they may end up with an unexpected collection agency claim against their credit file. A typical example is a group of people share an apartment with cable or satellite TV. One person moves out. The other people do not return the rented modem, PVR, or signal-descrambling box. The telecomm sends the file to a collection agency which reports a claim against the credit file for everyone who rented the apartment.
  • Someone immigrates to Canada and chooses a “Canadian” first name and uses it on some applications for credit cards etc. Someone else already has that name and ends up with entries related to this new person on their credit file. (For very simple, very common names, it may be necessary to work with Equifax to come up with a solution such as requiring a SIN number be supplied with each update to the report etc.)
  • A debt is fully repaid but the file is not updated.

Related Reading

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Did you ever have to make a correction to your Credit Report? Was it a minor pain or a major hassle? Please share your experiences with a comment.

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  1. Pingback: Canadian Personal Finance News | January 2014 [List] #canadianpersonalfinance | A Listly List

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