All credit inquiries should come off your credit report after two years. If you’re not willing to wait, you may take these steps:
First, find out which credit inquiries are getting in your way by ordering all three of your credit reports. When your reports arrive, look toward the end of your credit report to find the inquiries. Some of the inquiries are only promotional and will not be shown to prospective credit grantors. You need not worry about those. Identify only the inquiries that are shown to credit grantors. You should recognize some of these as places where you applied for credit, but others may be a complete mystery to you.
Find the addresses for each credit inquirer. Your Experian credit report will list addresses for each – TransUnion and Equifax reports will not include addresses. Match your Experian with your TransUnion and Equifax reports. You should be able to use the same addresses on the inquiries that are listed on Experian. If some of the inquirers don’t show up on Experian but do show up on either Trans Union or Equifax, you will have to call the credit bureau to get their address. It is almost impossible to get a live body on the telephone at TransUnion, but Equifax has an 800 number listed at the top of their reports. If you have an inquiry on your TransUnion report and you can’t reach them by phone, you might try calling the 800 directories (1-800-555-1212) and request the 800 number for the inquiring creditor.
Once you have collected all of the addresses for each inquiring creditor on each credit report, you are ready for step three.
Prepare letters to each inquiring creditor asking them to remove their inquiry. The Fair Credit Reporting Act allows only authorized inquiries to appear on the consumer credit report. You must challenge whether the inquiring creditor had proper authorization to pull your credit file.
Use our sample letter to remove inquiries.
Some of your creditors may provide documentation that a credit inquiry was authorized by you. Read the authorization that you signed very carefully. If there is any ambiguity, you can write back and argue that the inquirer’s authorization form was too complicated and not easily understood by the layman. You can threaten to contact the State Banking Commission and complain about a deceptive and unclear authorization form if they don’t remove your inquiry.
Some creditors will try to ignore your challenge. Be sure to send each letter Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested and keep close track of the time that you sent the letter. If the inquiring creditor doesn’t respond within about thirty days, you will have ample grounds to call the inquiring creditor and demand some action. At that point, it’s almost irrelevant whether you authorized the inquiry. Now the issue becomes the creditor’s lack of response to a consumer dispute. Be sure to hold your ground. Demand that the inquiry be removed immediately, or you will complain to the State Banking Commission or similar authorities.
Many of your inquiring creditors may simply agree to delete the inquiry as a courtesy or because they cannot (or will not) verify your authorization. That’s the goal! Remember, it is not likely that you will need all of your credit inquiries removed — just enough of them to keep you from being denied credit.