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If I dispute a debt, how does that show up on my credit report?

If you contact a credit bureau and dispute the validity of a debt, the credit reporting company will put a note on the account that it is in dispute and then investigate your dispute. 

If the credit reporting company’s investigation doesn’t resolve your dispute, you can send the credit reporting company a brief statement of the dispute and ask that it be included in your file and included or summarized in future reports about you.