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Statements of Excuse or Dispute on Credit Reports

Did you know that you can leave a personal statement on you credit report? I had no idea until a reader emailed me asking how one goes about doing that. After digging on Google (briefly, because Google is awesome), I discovered an Ask Max (Maxine Sweet, Experian’s VP of Public Affairs) column where she discusses the types of statements you can add to your account. Essentially her advice is that she recommends against adding a statement.

There are two types of statements: account specific and general. Account specific statements are deleted when the account itself is removed. General statements, which can cover large periods or your report as a whole, will stick around for two years. What this means is that a negative item(s) could be removed, your report appear clean, but the general statement still remains cluing creditors in on a possibly checkered past. That’s why she recommends against leaving a statement.

With account specific statements, they basically come in two forms: statements of excuse and statements of dispute. They are exactly what they sound like – statements of excuse are left when you know you messed up but you want to give a reason and statements of dispute are left when you don’t agree with the creditor’s report. The only ones that seem to have a positive side to them are statements of dispute because a new creditor may just ask for some documentation about the disputed account and you can give them your account. This is obviously for cases where you have tried to dispute the record but the reporting agency (or the creditor) disagreed with you and refused to remove the account (or the “error”) on their own.

via Experian’s Ask Max column [3].