— -- Sometimes doing what you think is the right thing can have consequences you never intended. Shane, one of our readers, wanted to be sure his credit was in top condition before applying for a loan. He checked his credit reports, noticed an inaccuracy, and he disputed it. And then he applied for a loan.
And now that dispute is keeping him from getting his loan approved, or at least delaying it.
"I'm being told that it is holding up a loan I have applied for... while that note is showing that account is not factored into my score," he told us. So he wants to get that dispute taken off his credit report as quickly as he can.
More From Credit.com: How to Dispute an Error on Your Credit Report.
His first move should be to check with the lender about which credit bureau's score was used for the loan decision. This matters because the credit bureaus have different procedures for taking consumer-initiated disputes off credit reports.
If Shane is really lucky, TransUnion was the credit bureau supplying the data. Because there, a phone call will do the trick. Chief Operating Officer David Emery said a consumer may call 800-916-8800 to request the consumer-initiated dispute be removed, and it will be done.
At Equifax, Shane would need to write to:
Equifax Consumer Services LLC
P.O. Box 740256
Atlanta, GA 30374-0256
...requesting that the dispute be removed, said Meredith Griffanti, senior director of public relations for Equifax.
More From Credit.com: What to Know About Equifax
Experian Director of Public Education Rod Griffin said the dispute should fall off Shane's credit report automatically once the dispute is resolved. In this instance, he said, Shane should be entitled to an extra free report because the loan has been delayed by the dispute statement. He suggested Shane go to www.experian.com/reportaccess and follow instructions to get a free report, indicating that adverse action was taken. If the dispute statement is still there, the free report will show it, and will also provide contact information to get in touch with Experian if need be.
Shane's experience is an example of why the best time to review your credit reports and scores is before you need to. Checking credit reports routinely (you are entitled to one free annual credit report from each of the major credit reporting agencies) will allow you to catch and dispute mistakes early, rather than when you are trying to get a loan. Checking your credit score regularly (being careful to make sure you check the same score each time) can alert you to the possibility of fraud or identity theft.
Any opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author.