How To Dispute Credit Report Errors in Canada

A friend asked me about how to proceed with disputing an error on his credit report, so I thought I would share the details on this blog as well.

Believe it or not, errors do happen, and your credit profile may be the victim. This is one reason why I advise people to ensure they are requesting their credit report at least once a year and reading it over.

Do not wait until it is time to process your mortgage or personal loan. You could get a nasty surprise when you learn your credit score has taken a nosedive due to a serious credit report error.

Credit Report Errors and Why They Matter

Your credit report is a snapshot of your financial track record. How you have managed your debts in the past, your open credit facilities, payment history and defaults, bankruptcy (if applicable), and employment history.

When you approach a lender for a new credit card or loan, they may use a combination of your credit report and score to assess your creditworthiness.

The interest rate you pay may also vary based on the assessment of your credit profile by your lender.

An error on your credit report can taint your financial reputation. For example, my friend was looking at applying for a line of credit, only to find out on his credit report that a store credit card he had paid off and closed about 5 months ago was still open and in default. Of course, this led to his credit score also taking a big hit!

Some common errors to watch out for when you review your credit report include:

  • Wrong Personal Information: old mailing address, misspelled names, inaccurate date of birth.
  • Inaccurate Account Status: such as late payments that were made on time, closed accounts that were left open, debt that has already been paid in full.
  • Negative Information staying on your credit report after the maximum number of years allowed by law – late payments, judgements, bankruptcies, consumer proposals, loan defaults, etc.
  • Strange accounts opened in your name, such as from fraudulent activities.

Get your free credit score and report here.

how to dispute errors on your credit report

How To Dispute Errors on Your Credit Report

Thankfully, there is recourse available to you if you find errors on your credit report.

In Canada, credit bureaus are obligated to verify the accuracy of the information on a credit report if you dispute it, and they will do so free of charge. The two main credit bureaus in Canada are Equifax and TransUnion.

Depending on the error, you may be able to simply call your bank (lender), verify there has been a mistake, and have them transmit the updated information to relevant credit reporting agencies.

Alternatively, if you are like me, you can take a two-pronged approach and contact both the bank and credit bureaus at the same time and with the same information.

Step 1: Gather Your Documents

You will need to provide supporting documents to back up your claim. These may include bank account statements, valid personal identification, receipts, and proof of address.

Only send out copies – keep the originals.

Step 2: Contact the Lender

Contact your bank/lender and let them know there has been an error. Provide them with copies of your evidence. You may well be able to solve the problem at this stage.

Step 3: Contact the Credit Bureaus (TransUnion and Equifax)

At the same time you are contacting your bank, consider reaching out to the credit bureaus as well to ensure work is being done. We all know your bank considers you their priority, eh? 😉

Credit reporting agencies are legally obligated to investigate your claim.

TransUnion Credit Report Error Dispute:

  • Complete their Investigations Form and mail it to the address indicated
  • Call 1-800-663-9980 or 1-877-713-3393 if you have questions

Equifax Credit Report Error Dispute:

The credit bureaus will investigate your claim and update your credit report if there is an error. You should generally expect to get a response within 30 days.

At your request, the credit bureaus can also send an updated copy of your credit report to any lender who has recently received a copy.

What If You Are Not Satisfied With the Outcome?

If you are not in agreement with the outcome of your dispute, or maybe feel the need to vent a bit, you have the right to request that the credit bureau add a consumer statement to your credit report. This is an opportunity to tell your side of the story.

Equifax allows an explanatory statement of up to 400 characters. For TransUnion, it is up to 100 words (or 200 words in Saskatchewan). The consumer statement is free of charge and will show up on your credit profile when it is accessed by lenders.

If you are still not fully satisfied with the outcome and want further action, contact your provincial/territorial consumer affairs office.

Related reading:

Closing Thoughts

You are eligible for one free credit report per year – request a copy from both TransUnion and Equifax and review them.

Alternatively, you can request your free credit score and report from companies like Borrowell and even get free monthly updates.

Reviewing both your credit report and score not only helps you detect errors on time, but it could also save you from becoming a victim of fraud.

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Author

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Enoch Omololu

Enoch Omololu is a personal finance expert and a veterinarian. He has a master’s degree in Finance and Investment Management from the University of Aberdeen Business School (Scotland) and has completed several courses and certificates in finance, including the Canadian Securities Course. He also has an MSc. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Manitoba and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Ibadan. Enoch has a passion for helping others win with their personal finances and has been writing about money matters for over a decade. His writing has been featured or quoted in the Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, MSN Money, Financial Post, Winnipeg Free Press, CPA Canada, Credit Canada, Wealthsimple, and many other personal finance publications.

His top investment tools include Wealthsimple and Questrade. He earns cash back on purchases using KOHO and monitors his credit score for free using Borrowell.

13 thoughts on “How To Dispute Credit Report Errors in Canada”

  1. Great advise Enoch, I am embarrassed to say I have never checked my credit report. I think I better do it soon. Thanks for the info.

    Reply
  2. Thanks for the post! I use credit karma for updated, although they aren’t as detailed. I have a q about my credit score. It was very good, over 800, and one of my favourite credit cards stopped its product and closed(it was through chase and I guess didn’t want to continue to service in Canada) so I replaced it. My score dropped almost 100 points and I’m a little annoyed bc it wasn’t my fault. I have 3 cards now a with a total credit available of around $10,000. If I lower the credit available at each card, will this boost my score? I’m also concerned bc I want to get a line of credit for around $10,000 and am thinking of purchasing a home in probably 1-2 years. Is the line of credit a bad idea? Will it destroy my credit? I have had no credit problems ever. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi Angela,

      I’m surprised that your credit score took a hit of almost 100 points – I’m guessing that it means the card that was closed was one of your older cards. The longer you hold the card, the more impact it has on your credit score. Not a big deal though because if your overall credit use is good, it should bounce back with time.

      Lowering your total credit limit will not boost your credit score. I would leave the credit limit as is, and use less of your total limit, so essentially, decrease your credit utilization rate.

      A new line of credit will most likely ding your credit score a bit – every new credit application does. Again, not a big deal as long as you are paying back what you owe when you need to. That said, you may not qualify for the best rates at the moment since your credit score has just recently taken a hit. If you do not need the additional credit, my advice would be to not apply for it.

      If you are planning to buy a house in the next year or so, then this is a good time to start building up your credit rating by limiting any new credit applications. An excellent credit score will make it easier for you to qualify for mortgage when the time comes.

      For how your credit score is calculated, check out this article: https://www.savvynewcanadians.com/canadian-credit-score-calculated/

      Reply
  3. Hi, I just received a Release Letter from Rogers, can I send it to Equifax to have them remove item from my report?

    Reply
    • @Sandra: They may remove it on their own after the new information works its way through the system. Otherwise, you can file a dispute online or by mail if you find that it’s taking too long to update your credit file.

      Reply
  4. Is there a template I can send to both Reporting agencies to have all my old address and inaccurate name variations removed.

    Some of them I never added and are not my name

    Reply
  5. Hi! I have JUST learned that a mistakenly reported late from years ago – that I TWICE requested my bank to remove- is STILL there. I am beginning the written process but now realize I paid about double the interest on a vehicle loan following this reported mistake. The vehicle loan was 1 year later. The reported amount was over 14,000$ and in 30 day late column. Problem is I was not aware until almost 2 years later. I’m certain this has cost me significantly in interest rates. What is my recourse in Canada? I am quite sick to realize the magnitude of the extra costs to me. Aside from the obvious of having it removed once and for all, is the bank liable for any of this and if so, can this be calculated from 5 and half years ago? Thank you for any advice you may have, Kathy

    Reply
    • @Kathy: I am not sure whether you can make the bank liable for higher interest rates caused by the error in reporting. It is definitely something you should look into if it has caused you to lose money in higher interest rates!

      Reply
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