According to the National Association of Consumer Advocates, common errors that occur in free credit reports are fraud, data entry mistakes and the improper merging of information. These mistakes, caused by thieves, creditors, collection agencies, CRAs, or public record, can have damaging effects that can be difficult to alter.
In a 2012 study, the Federal Trade Commission reported that 26 percent of participants identified errors in their free credit reports, and that only 13 percent of the participants experienced a modification in their report after disputing the error, suggesting that many consumers' reports are inaccurate.
The challenge of trying to remove false, damaging information from credit reports is one of the biggest consumer complaints, says Credit.com. However, an agreement made in March 2015 seeks to eliminate this difficulty by requiring reporting agencies to employ trained personnel to review disputes, thus changing the former, unreliable automated dispute process.
The three major credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – are required to provide consumers with a free copy of their consumer reports once every 12 months through AnnualCreditReport.com, according to an article published on the Federal Trade Commission's website. To dispute inaccurate information, consumers are required to submit documents supporting their disputes by mail, telephone or online via the CRAs’ websites.