Disputing Inaccurate Information
If your business has earned good credit scores, kudos! There’s no doubt that you worked hard to make those good credit scores a reality.
But what happens when all your hard work is suddenly derailed by something that isn’t your fault (and is out of your control)? Errors on your business credit reports may damage your business credit scores and could make you appear less credible in the eyes of a lender.
Thankfully, if incorrect information ever shows up on your business credit reports, there is something you can do about it.
How to Correct Incorrect Information on a Business Credit Report
First it’s important to understand that your business credit reports and scores differ from your personal credit, and secondly that business credit reporting and scoring is far less regulated.
On the personal credit side, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) offers you rights that protect you from unfair credit reporting practices. So, for example, if a mistake winds up on your personal credit reports from Equifax, TransUnion, or Experian, you can leverage your rights under the FCRA to dispute the errors and (hopefully) have them removed.
Unfortunately, the FCRA does not apply to businesses. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything to protect the accuracy of your business credit reports. Here’s what you can do if you find inaccurate information on your business credit reports.
1. Check your business credit reports for accuracy.
Step one is by checking your reports with Equifax, Experian, and Duns and Bradstreet. By checking your reports, it allows you to confirm that the information included on them is accurate.
Unlike consumers, businesses are not entitled to a free credit report once every 12 months.
Here are two ways you can access your business credit reports:
- Request a free business credit report if you’ve been denied for financing. (Be sure to mail in the request within 90 days of receiving your credit denial letter in the mail.)
- Contact Dun & Bradstreet, Experian, and Equifax directly and purchase a copy of your business credit report from each commercial credit bureau.
2. Dispute incorrect information.
If you identify errors on your business credit reports when you review them, you’ll need to notify each commercial credit bureau who is reporting the incorrect data about your company. You can get details on how to file a dispute with each of the three commercial credit bureaus here:
Dun & Bradstreet
Call the D&B customer service department at 800-234-3867 if you need to correct some information on your D&B credit report. Follow the instructions to discuss your own report.
D&B will have vendors re-verify payments and remove charges if the vendor cannot verify the information. D&B also helps to clear up issues that have been settled or dismissed, yet still appear in your report. You may be asked to send in documentation to verify a settlement or dismissal. D&B will recheck the status of the public filing if you do not have documentation.
Attach the report to a cover page with your full business name, current and previous addresses, email, and a short note asking us to investigate the items you’ve marked and why. Email it to BusinessDisputes@Experian.com or mail it to:
Experian Commercial Relations
P.O. Box 5001
Costa Mesa, CA 92628
“Equifax provides a dispute process to address any perceived inaccuracies on the report. The dispute process is not intended to provide the business an opportunity to dispute and request the removal of accurate historical information (positive or negative) about the business. Additionally, only that information contained in the Public Records and Credit Data sections of the report may be changed as a result of a dispute. However, your business does have the opportunity to provide a statement of explanation that can be added as a comment to another section of the report. The comment may be reviewed and/or used by recipients of a business report to help understand your business’ past history. Depending on the nature of the statement, Equifax may require supporting documentation. If you believe there is any inaccuracy with your business report’s information, please log into your Member Center account and contact us via one of the options listed there. We will work with you to determine the details of the dispute and supply you with a Research Request Form. Once you know the details of your dispute you will need to complete the Research Request Form and send it to us. Upon receipt of the completed Research Request Form, Equifax will forward a request for verification to the reporting entity. After completion of the verification process, Equifax will notify you in writing of the results.”
3. Follow up if needed.
Don’t be afraid to follow up with the commercial credit bureaus if your first attempt to get a mistake resolved is unsuccessful.
Why Business Credit Errors Can Be a Big Deal
When your business credit reports are damaged by incorrect negative information, you might:
- Pay higher insurance premiums
- Be charged higher rates for financing
- Get rejected when you apply for new loans or credit cards
- Have difficulty securing leases for equipment, office space, retail space, etc.