Sometimes, credit reports contain mistakes. It is important to correct such errors so that people have correct scores on file. Removing just one issue can greatly improve a person’s financial situation. This can mean the difference between loan approval and rejection or could make the difference between low interest rates and high ones. The following are the steps people need to follow to correct credit report errors in Canada.
1. First, one needs to be 100% sure that an error was made. This means knowing when items were added to the credit report, the amount of the mistake and that the charge, overdue balance or issue didn’t occur. One may have to sift through his or her bank account statements and also double-check one’s schedule. The more documentation a person has, the better off he or she will be. After all, financial groups often lose money if a charge has to be removed. This documentation will help people when they talk to both credit agencies and financial groups.
2. Get in Touch with the Agency – Secondly, it is important to communicate with the credit-reporting agency. This process can take some time since the group has to talk to financial groups to confirm that a mistake was made. It helps to both call and send a letter with accompanying documentation to prove the error. If the financial group admits there was a mistake, then the agency has 30 days to correct the issue. Alberta is the only exception to this timetable; they have 90 days. Any statements mailed to the agency will become a piece of one’s credit report.
3. Talk to the Financial Group – It is also effective to directly contact the bank, credit card company or financial group that made the error. Account holders or individuals may need to provide proof of the mistake. It is important to make sure that the error is removed. If the financial organization will not remove the mistake, then it is important to keep pushing. This means asking about how complaints or disagreements are dealt with. Groups regulated by the government are required to have a dispute solving process for consumers and the financial group. If the financial institution does not share this information, it is important to contact the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada. This can be done Monday-Friday between 8:30 a/m. and 6:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. To contact this Agency
French services = 1-866-461-ACFC (2232)
English services = 1-866-461-FCAC (3222)
Calls outside of Canada: 613-996-5454
Teletypewriter (TTY): 1-866-914-6097 / 613-947-7771
Contract by Fax: 1-866-814-2224 / 613-941-1436
It may be important to mail the Agency a letter too. This could explain the situation and provide proof that an error was made and that the financial group does not agree.
Financial Consumer Agency of Canada mailing address is:
Financial Consumer Agency of Canada
427 Laurier Avenue West, 6th Floor
Ottawa ON K1R 1B9
4. Talk to the Complaint Department – When dealing with a financial group that is regulated by the federal government, it is important to try and directly communicate with the manager. Another option is to talk to the customer service rep at the organization. However, this may not completely resolve the issue. A third party may also be involved in the process if the financial institution still does not believe a mistake was made. It may help to contact the provincial regulator in the province. This can be found by either visiting Federal Oversight Bodies And Other Regulators or calling the toll-free number at 1-866-461-3222. Such professionals want to protect consumers as well as improve financial groups’ services and transparency. Regulators and other government professionals will have useful advice about how to work with financial groups to find a common solution.
5. Consider Talking to an Attorney – If the financial group still will not admit that a mistake has happened, it may be important to consult with a legal professional. He or she can co-sign that an error was made and educate a person on his or her rights. This is a chance to figure out how to communicate important information to the financial group, have an expert on one’s side and aggressively approach the situation. Disputes can be remedies if people understand how to collect the necessary paperwork, talk to the right people and stick to their guns.
People need to know their rights if they are going to have mistakes removed from a credit report. This can take many days or even months. However, persistence is key. Errors can lower a credit score and affect everything from loan applications to interest rates and fees. Why pay more money on a home loan than is necessary? Removing just one error can greatly improve a person’s credit history and score, which has future ramifications. Often, the amount of paperwork and communication that takes place is intimidating to the common person. What citizens don’t know is that this can all pay off. There are regulations in place for a reason. Staying calm and professional goes a long way when correcting credit report errors in Canada.