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FYI --You have a federally protected right under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) to dispute a report made to a consumer reporting agency about a debt.

So now, how do file a dispute:

Contact the Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA) or the data furnisher (which is usually the original creditor or a debt collector). If you believe the debt amount listed on your report is wrong or that the debt does not exist or never has existed, contact the data furnisher or the CRA, such as Equifax, Experian or TransUnion.

What you need to file your dispute:

The reason for your dispute

Your consumer report file or confirmation number

Social Security Number

Date of birth

Current address

Company name of the disputed item

Account number

Reason for the dispute

Any corrections to your personal information

If you're going to file your dispute with one of the CRAs, then place it with Equifax, Experian or TransUnion.

When you do file a dispute with a CRA:

Your dispute must state that an item in your consumer report is inaccurate or incomplete.

You cannot file a dispute if you simply failed to pay the debt because you were ill or unemployed.

Once the CRA has received your dispute in writing or via a phone call, within five business days the CRA must notify the data furnisher of the dispute and the debt must be marked as disputed on your consumer report.

Once a debt is disputed with the CRA, the data furnisher (again, this is usually the original creditor or a debt collector) must take the following steps:

1. Conduct an investigation regarding the disputed item.

2. Review all relevant supplementary documentation provided to the CRA by you.

3. Report the outcome of the investigation to the CRA.

4. If the investigation reveals information that is inaccurate or incomplete, the data furnisher is required to inform all CRAs that compile and maintain consumer information on a nationwide basis of the result of the investigation.

5. If an item is determined to be inaccurate, incomplete or unverifiable, the furnisher shall modify or delete the item in the consumer report or permanently block the reporting of that item.

Frivolous or irrelevant disputes

You should know that data furnishers are not required to investigate frivolous or irrelevant disputes that they receive directly from you. A reasonable determination that a dispute is frivolous or irrelevant may be supported by:

Your failure to provide sufficient information to investigate the disputed item.

The data furnisher determines that you have previously submitted the same dispute either directly to the data furnisher or indirectly through a CRA; and the data furnisher has already fulfilled its duties with respect to your dispute.

So if you have a legitimate report, go fix it! No time like the present!