After going through the process of disputing your credit report with all three credit bureaus, the last thing you want is for your claim to be denied. But sometimes it does happen. Fortunately, you still have options, and there are a number of other ways to continue improving your credit regardless of the outcome of your dispute.

Why Are Disputes Denied?

Credit bureaus want the most accurate information possible, so they take each dispute seriously; however, your dispute could be denied for a couple of reasons.

First, your dispute may have been denied because the credit bureau was able to verify that the information on your report is correct. Say you choose to dispute a late payment on your report; the bureau will review your claim with your lender or creditor. But if your lender does not support your dispute or change the information, the bureau will not be able to update the report. It’s the credit bureau’s responsibility to include any information that comes directly from lenders, so they can’t make a change without evidence.

The second most common reason comes down to not having enough supporting evidence. While you do not have to include supporting documents in your dispute, it is highly recommended that you do. Without sufficient evidence, the credit bureaus will not be able to compare your claim against the lender’s response, resulting in a denial.

Should You Dispute with the Lender?

It’s a good idea to dispute with the lenders directly if your initial claim is denied. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), you’ll need to alert the lender of your dispute in writing. You’ll also need to include copies of supporting documents, such as receipts or transaction records related to your claim.

If the lender finds that your dispute is correct, it is legally required to send your updated information to the credit bureaus so your report can be corrected. Even if it denies the claim, the lender is still obligated to report the results of its investigation to the bureaus.

Because of the work involved in gathering evidence for your claim, it’s worth your time to resubmit the dispute only if you’re correcting an actual error. Some people file a dispute in the hopes that derogatory information might just go away… but these disputes are not likely to be approved. You’re better off focusing on other steps to repair your credit, including paying down existing debt and making all your future payments on time.

Can You Dispute with the Credit Bureau Again?

You can submit another dispute if the first one was denied. However, if you submit the same dispute without additional support of your claim, you run the risk of the bureaus marking the claim as frivolous.

Your best bet is to gather as much documentation as you can to support your claim and strengthen your dispute when you submit it. Here are some ways to do that, depending on what you are disputing:

Incorrect Name or Address

Gather documents that show proof of your name and previous addresses, such as utility bills or other official mail that indicates your legal name and where you live.

Keep in mind, mistaken addresses or incorrect name spellings happen, and it could simply be an error on the lender’s part. However, it could also be a warning sign of identity theft. If you do not recognize an address on your account, or you see credit inquiries you didn’t apply for, consider placing a credit lock or credit freeze on your account. This will prevent anyone from running your credit without your permission.

Account in Collections

If you paid off an account that was sent to a debt collector, contact the collection agency and ask for a verification letter. This letter should include the original debt source, date of first delinquency, and account information. You can also ask for proof of the debt, along with details about the dates the account was opened and sent to collections. This information may help you if the debt is from more than seven years ago and you want it to be removed from your record.

Getting a proof-of-debt letter will be essential if the debt was not yours but is showing up on your report; the key is to provide evidence that you never held that account. Once you’ve received the information, you can dispute it directly with the lender or include this documentation in your second dispute with the credit bureaus.

Active Credit Account

If you have a dispute denied from an active credit account, contact the lender directly to correct the error. You can send copies of your bank statements showing you made your payment by the due date. Once the lender reviews the information, they’re on the hook for updating your credit reports with any credit bureau they reported the incorrect information to.


Chapter 13 bankruptcy remains on your credit report for seven years and Chapter 10 can stick around for 10 years. An item like this should automatically fall off your credit report when it ages out. However, if it didn’t, and the credit bureaus did not update your report after your first dispute, your next step is to contact the court where you filed for bankruptcy. Ask for any documents related to your case, including documentation showing when your bankruptcy was filed. Submit copies of this information when you dispute with the credit bureaus again.  

Unauthorized Inquiry

Equifax® is the only credit bureau that allows you to file an online dispute regarding an unauthorized hard credit inquiry. However, if the inquiry was not removed after a dispute, your next step should be to place a freeze or hold on your credit report in case of potential identity theft. Credit inquiries only have a short-term impact on your credit score, but identity theft could last for months or even years.

Should You Make a Personal Statement?

If your dispute is denied, you can request that a personal statement be added to your credit report. The statement is a chance for you to explain any negative issues on your file, such as delinquencies or bankruptcies.

Most lenders won’t see the statement, and it doesn’t affect your credit score. So, if your priority is opening a new credit card, a personal statement is unlikely to help. But if you’re applying for a mortgage, lenders look closely at your credit report — and the statement may preemptively explain an item they perceive as a red flag.

Here’s the catch, though. Unlike old account activity, your personal statement remains on your report until you request it be removed. So, the statement might outlast the derogatory entry, and it will tell future lenders and creditors that you’ve had a repayment problem in the past.

Whether you make a personal statement is up to you. If you plan to buy a home in the near future, it may help you clear the mortgage approval hurdle. But if you’re not planning on making a big financial move, you may want to focus on disputing any errors and then put your energy into raising your score with good credit habits.

What Should You Do if Your Dispute Is Denied a Second Time?

If you’re contesting errors in your credit report, you want to pursue those until the credit bureau makes a change. But if you’ve requested that they remove an invalid derogatory remark and they reject the claim a second time, your next step may be to seek out the help of a qualified professional. Non-profit credit counselors have experience disputing credit report errors. They can help you gather documents and provide good arguments to support your claims.

Filing a Complaint

If you make a second dispute with more information backing up your claim and you’re still struggling to get inaccurate information removed, you can file a complaint with your state’s attorney general, the Federal Trade Commission or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

When submitting a complaint, you should be prepared to fully explain your case. Gather all the information you can: dates of all disputes, any communication from the credit bureau or lender, and copies of anything you included in your dispute. You may not be asked for everything, but it helps to be prepared.

While a complaint will not force your lenders or the credit bureaus to make changes, complaints can be a catalyst for change. They can affect your report directly or help these agencies propose and support legislative changes that can help all consumers in the future.

What to Do in the Meantime

You can take a lot of positive steps while waiting for negative marks to age off your credit file. And the longer you practice smart credit habits, the less of an impact those past items will have.

The number one thing you can do after you’ve completed the dispute process is to make all future payments on time. It’s okay if you can make only the monthly minimums, although paying more helps you reduce debt and can lower the amount of interest paid. The key is to establish a history of on-time payments so lenders know they can count on you to be a good borrower when you’re ready to open another account.

It’s also a good idea to keep your debts low, which shows you manage your money well and aren’t overburdened with financial obligations.

For more tips on how to build your credit, get up to speed with our Score40 program, which can help you raise your score and develop excellent financial habits.

The content provided on is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute financial or legal advice.  It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice.  Elevate is not acting as a credit counseling or repair service, debt consolidation service, or credit services organization in providing this content.  Elevate makes no representations about the reliability or suitability of the information provided – any action you take based on this content is at your own risk.