Do extensive investigation yourself before you notify the credit bureau that there is an error.
Gather all the documents, including cancelled checks, bills, etc. that relate to this error so that you can send the credit bureau copies. Never send original documents. Do not file the dispute with the credit bureau until you have all the documents that you possibly can get. Credit bureaus will not delay their investigations while you go through your cancelled checks or wait for your bank to send you the documents. Have all the documents in your hand before you notify the credit bureau of the error.
Do not report something as an error if it is a legitimate debt. Search your memory and your receipts to determine if this is indeed your charge. People who have been in the military or have moved frequently sometimes will find that a creditor has filed a judgment against them for a bill that they never received due to an address problem. If you have cosigned for another’s debt, your credit report may be the first time you find out that the other person did not make the payments and the debt is now yours.
Clear up anything you can. If you find out that the bill didn’t follow you across the country, you should take steps to contact the creditor and pay the bill. Of course you will be charged for court costs if the bill went to judgment. As for cosigning for another’s debt, if the other person does not pay then the creditor legally can come after you. Your only options are either to pay the debt and then sue the other person for the money, or sue the other person to force him or her to pay the debt.
Finally, when speaking with the representatives at the credit bureau, remember to be courteous. These administrative people are merely doing what their bosses’ demand. Do not take your frustrations out on them. Every time you contact the credit bureau make a note of who you spoke with and what was said. Follow up by a letter to that person stating what was said and what you were instructed to do. Provide any documents that he or she requests. As with any mail of a serious nature, make sure you send it return receipt requested or Express Mail with return receipt requested.