How to dispute a background check

Background checks are a routine part of modern life, whether you’re applying for a job, renting an apartment, or even volunteering. However, what happens when you find inaccurate information on your background check? Errors on these reports can have serious consequences, potentially costing you employment opportunities, housing, or other critical life aspects. Understanding how to dispute background check information is crucial in protecting your rights and ensuring your personal record is accurate. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the steps of disputing a background check, ensuring you know exactly what to do if you find discrepancies.

Understanding the Importance of Accurate Background Checks

Accurate background checks are essential for maintaining fairness in various processes such as hiring, renting, and volunteering. These checks provide potential employers, landlords, and other decision-makers with a snapshot of your history, helping them make informed decisions. However, when these reports contain inaccuracies, they can unjustly affect your chances. Disputing a background check is not just about correcting errors; it’s about safeguarding your reputation and ensuring that decisions about your future are based on accurate information.

Errors can occur due to various reasons, including data entry mistakes, outdated information, or identity theft. Therefore, knowing how to dispute a background check is vital. This article will guide you through the essential steps to dispute background check information effectively and efficiently.

Steps to Dispute a Background Check

  1. Obtain a Copy of Your Background Check: Before disputing, you need to review your background check report thoroughly. This step allows you to identify the inaccuracies and prepare for the dispute process.
  2. Identify the Errors: Carefully check for incorrect information, such as outdated addresses, wrong criminal records, or inaccuracies in your employment history.
  3. Gather Supporting Documents: Collect any documents that can prove the inaccuracies, such as court records, employment documents, or letters from previous landlords.
  4. Contact the Background Check Company: Initiate the dispute process by contacting the company that conducted the background check. This could be Checkr, First Advantage, or RealPage, among others.
  5. Submit a Dispute Letter: Write a detailed background check dispute letter outlining the errors and providing supporting evidence.
  6. Follow Up: Regularly follow up with the background check company to ensure your dispute is being processed.
  7. Verify the Corrections: Once the dispute is resolved, obtain a new copy of your background check to verify that the inaccuracies have been corrected.

Common Errors on Background Checks and How to Dispute Them

  • Incorrect Criminal Records: One of the most serious errors on a background check is the inclusion of incorrect criminal records. This can occur due to identity theft, clerical errors, or outdated information. To dispute a criminal background check, you must verify the error, collect court documents, file a dispute, and follow up to ensure corrections are made.
  • Outdated Employment Information: Outdated or incorrect employment information can negatively impact your prospects. To correct this, review the employment history listed in the report, gather proof such as pay stubs or employment letters, submit a dispute, and confirm that corrections have been made.
  • Misreported Education History: Sometimes, background checks might contain inaccuracies regarding your education history. Ensure that the schools, degrees, and dates of attendance are correctly listed. If errors are found, provide transcripts or degree certificates as evidence during your dispute.

Frequently Asked Questions About Disputing Background Checks

Q1: How long does it take to resolve a background check dispute?

A: The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) mandates that background check companies must investigate and resolve disputes within 30 days. However, the process may take longer if additional information or documents are required.

Q2: Can I dispute a background check directly with the employer?

A: While you can inform your employer about the inaccuracies, the formal dispute should be filed directly with the background check company. The employer will usually pause the hiring process until the dispute is resolved.

Q3: What if the background check company does not correct the errors?

A: If the background check company does not correct the errors after you have provided sufficient evidence, you can escalate the matter by filing a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) or seeking legal advice.

The Role of Different Background Check Companies

Checkr Background Check Dispute

Checkr is a widely used background check service, particularly in the gig economy. If you need to dispute a Checkr background check, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to Your Checkr Account: Review your background check report online.
  2. Identify Errors: Note down any discrepancies.
  3. Initiate the Dispute: Use the dispute option available in your Checkr account or contact their customer service.
  4. Provide Supporting Documents: Upload any documents that support your claim.
  5. Monitor the Progress: Regularly check your account for updates on the dispute status.

First Advantage Background Check Dispute

First Advantage is another major background check provider. To dispute a First Advantage background check:

  1. Request a Copy of Your Report: Ensure you have a recent copy of the background check.
  2. Identify and Document Errors: Highlight the inaccuracies and gather supporting evidence.
  3. Contact First Advantage: Reach out to their customer service or use their online dispute form.
  4. Submit Your Dispute: Provide a detailed explanation of the errors and attach your supporting documents.
  5. Follow Up: Keep in touch with First Advantage to ensure the dispute is being processed.

RealPage Background Check Dispute

RealPage is commonly used for tenant screening. To dispute a RealPage background check:

  1. Get Your Report: Obtain a copy of your background check report.
  2. Examine the Report for Errors: Identify any incorrect information.
  3. Contact RealPage: Use their customer service or online platform to start the dispute.
  4. Submit Evidence: Provide documents that support your dispute.
  5. Track the Progress: Follow up with RealPage to confirm the resolution of your dispute.

Steps to Take if Your Dispute is Rejected

  1. Understand the Reason for Rejection: Ask the background check company to provide a detailed explanation for the rejection of your dispute.
  2. Gather Additional Evidence: Collect more comprehensive or additional documents that can support your claim.
  3. Re-file Your Dispute: Submit a new dispute with the additional evidence and a detailed explanation.
  4. Seek Legal Assistance: If the company still does not correct the inaccuracies, consider consulting with an attorney who specializes in consumer rights or background check disputes.

Importance of Regularly Checking Your Background Reports

Regularly checking your background reports can help you catch errors early and dispute them before they impact your life. Many background check companies allow individuals to request a free copy of their report once a year. Regular reviews can prevent surprises during critical times such as job applications or rental agreements.

Tips for Preventing Background Check Errors

  • Monitor Your Credit Report: Since many background checks include credit reports, regularly monitoring your credit can help you spot inaccuracies early.
  • Update Your Information: Ensure that all your personal information, such as addresses and employment history, is up-to-date with relevant institutions.
  • Protect Your Identity: Take steps to safeguard your personal information to prevent identity theft, which can lead to errors in your background check.

Important Notes on Disputing Background Checks

  • Keep Detailed Records: Throughout the dispute process, maintain detailed records of all communications, including emails, letters, and phone calls. This will help if you need to escalate the dispute.
  • Understand Your Rights: Familiarize yourself with your rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). This law ensures that you have the right to dispute inaccurate information and have it corrected promptly.


Disputing a background check can be a daunting process, but it’s essential for protecting your reputation and ensuring that decisions about your future are based on accurate information. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can effectively dispute background check information and correct any inaccuracies. Remember to be thorough, provide ample evidence, and stay persistent in your follow-up. Whether you’re dealing with Checkr, First Advantage, or RealPage, understanding how to dispute a background check will help you maintain a clean and accurate record.

For a free initial consultation with a lawyer fill out the contact us form below.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *