When your vehicle is repossessed by a lender, it's bad enough that you no longer have your transportation. The repo shows up on your credit report, where it lowers your credit score and hurts your ability to get other loans and credit cards. It may even get in the way of buying insurance or being hired. However, there are some ways you may be able to get the repo off your credit report.
Negotiate removal terms with the lender. Often a bank or finance company will agree to remove the repo from your credit report if you agree to a settlement of the loan. You may even be able to settle for less than the total amount due. Get the lender to agree to make the account as "paid as agreed" or to remove it completely.
Get a copy of your credit report from the three major bureaus and make sure the repo information is being reported correctly. You're entitled to one free copy of your report annually from TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. If the lender won't negotiate its removal or if you can't afford to make a settlement, you can get the repo removed if the credit bureaus can't verify the information with the lender. Finding something that may be amiss gives you grounds to file a dispute.
File the dispute with each of the three credit bureaus. They have online forms on which you can provide the relevant information. They can take up to 60 days to verify the information with the lender. If the lender doesn't confirm it as correct, it must be removed from your credit report.
After 60 days, check your credit reports again to see if the repo has been removed. If the lender didn't respond to the credit bureau inquiries or wasn't able to confirm the accuracy of the information, it should be gone.
Check your credit reports annually to ensure the repo doesn't reappear once it has been removed. If you find it on any of your credit reports again, file another dispute with the credit bureaus.
If you can't remove a repo through making a settlement with the lender or filing a dispute with the credit bureaus, make sure it's removed after the proper length of time has elapsed. Normally this is 7 years from the date of the repossession, although it can be longer if the lender takes you to court and gets a judgment. If that happens, the 7-year period starts from the judgment date. If a repo that's more than 7 years old still appears on your credit reports, dispute it.
When filing a dispute with the credit bureaus to remove a repo from your credit report, make sure you have a valid reason. It's illegal to file false disputes, so you could face penalties if caught.