Under US law, consumers have the right to dispute inaccurate or incorrect information that is placed on their credit records. You can exercise this right by writing a Credit Report Dispute Letter that identifies the disputed items, explains your reason for disputing them, and requests the recipient to correct or remove them. This article delves into this letter and how you can use it to clean your credit report.
What Is a Credit Report Dispute Letter?
A credit report dispute letter is a formal complaint sent to ask that an incorrect or invalid collection be removed from your credit history. The dispute usually arises because the item is either falsely listed, already paid, or expired (more than 7 years old). Once you send this letter to a credit reporting bureau, the law requires that it respond within 30 days of receiving your notice.
Credit Report Dispute Letter (Word Template)
How to Write
Experian, Transunion, and Experian – the three credit reporting bureaus in the country – all accept credit report dispute requests via phone, online, or standard mail. If you choose the latter channel, you will need to draft a dispute letter. Here are the steps to guide you:
- Step 1: Identify the Recipient
Indicate the date you wrote and signed the letter and identify yourself through your name, phone number, and mailing address. You can also supply a subject line explaining your reason for writing, e.g., ‘Re: Credit Report Dispute.’
- Step 2: Supply Basic Details
Next, identify the recipient by name and mailing address. Under the words’ party owed,’ supply the mailing address and legal name of the entity responsible for the inaccurate or incorrect record. You should also indicate the exact dollar amount displayed on your credit report.
- Step 3: Define the Dispute
Explain why the record is incorrect – you don’t owe it, you already paid it, or it expired – and mention the proof you will attach to prove your claim. Next, outline what you would like the recipient to do, i.e., correct or delete the record.
- Step 4: Sign the Letter
Finally, supply your full name and sign the dispute letter.
Sample Credit Report Dispute Letter
1 August 2031
133 Main Street
New York City, NY 65680
Re: Credit Report Information Dispute
I am writing to dispute information supplied to Experian credit bureau by your company, which is now recorded on my credit report. I have attached a copy of this report with the items highlighted.
As you will see in the attached documents, the highlighted items are inaccurate because I don’t owe an ABC Company $5,000 for roofing services. I have never received services from the company and don’t reside in New York City.
I request that your company review, reinvestigate, and immediately remove the item from my credit report.
Dispute an Item on a Credit Report (Process)
Using a Credit Report Dispute Letter to dispute items on a credit report is every US citizen’s free and protected right under the Consumer Credit Protection Act. This statute gives you the right to ask that a credit bureau investigate a debt or collection for validity and send you a formal response within 30 days. If you have discovered an incorrect item on your report, here is how you can dispute it:
Step 1: Get Your Credit Report
Federal law compels the three credit bureaus to provide United States residents with a free credit report upon request. The first step in the disputing process is to get a copy of your report and, to do so, you must provide the bureau with the following details:
- Your full name
- Date of birth
- Current mailing address
- Social Security Number
- Housing status (renter or homeowner)
- Additional details, e.g., State of birth, vehicle information, and past address
Step 2: Identify Areas of Dispute
The credit report you receive will contain all account debts and collections, from where you can identify discrepancies. Clearly mark out these items so you can dispute them.
Step 3: Prepare Related Documents
Gather relevant financial documents like credit card accounts and bank statements connected to the items you wish to dispute.
Step 4: Draft the Dispute Letter
Now that you have identified the areas of dispute draft your dispute letter using the steps discussed earlier in this article. You should also supply the following:
- Account number
- Debt collection date
- A description of the provided product or service
- Attached are copies of evidence
- Copy of your credit report
Step 5: Send the Letter
Most listed debts are present on all three bureau reports, so it is advisable to contact all of them about your dispute. Since you will be using standard mail, make three copies of your letter and send them to:
- TransUnion – TransUnion LLC Consumer Dispute Center, PO Box 2000, Chester, PA 19016
- Equifax – Equifax Information Services LLC, PO Box 740256, Atlanta, GA 30374
- Experian – Experian, PO Box 4500, Allen, TX 75013
Step 6: Wait
Once a bureau receives your letter, it has thirty days to investigate the issue and send you a formal response. That said, you could be contacted to present the bureau with further information, which, when you provide, gives the bureau 15 more days.
Step 7: Get a Response
After 30, or 45 days, the credit bureau will respond either by confirming that the items have been removed from your report or stating they haven’t. If the latter is true, you will need to contact the current debt holder.
Step 8: Contact the Debt Holder
Federal law allows you to contact a debt holder and ask for validation for debt through a Debt Validation Letter – this is your next step. If the debt holder cannot validate the debt within 30 days, it becomes invalid and can be removed from your record.
Step 9: Wait
In case the debt holder validates the debt, you can allow six months to pass then restart the dispute process from step 5. If a new debt holder fails to respond to your dispute letter, the debt can be removed from your credit report.
Step 10: Let the Debt Expire
If all else fails, your last option is to wait for the debt to expire. Under federal law, this happened when a debt remains on your credit report for y years from the issue date.
Frequently Asked Questions
A 604 dispute letter is a notice asking a credit bureau to remove an error from your credit report that is defined under section 604 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The removal – if successful – can improve your credit score and protect your credit.
A 609 dispute letter is a credit repair notice designed to make a credit reporting agency remove negative information from your report per section 609 of the FCRA. However, section 609 doesn’t cover a consumer’s right to dispute credit information, and the FCRA doesn’t recognize this letter.
A 623 dispute letter is a notice that allows you to dispute a collection or debt directly with the creditor after filing a complaint with the credit bureau.
Visit the website of the credit reporting agency where the collection is listed and file a dispute request. On a blank page, supply the following details:
– Your name and address
– The creditor’s name and address
– The alleged debt amount
– Your reason for the dispute
– A request for validation of the debt
– A citation of your right to seek validation for a debt under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
– Close the dispute letter with your signature
When you receive a debt notice from a debt holder but don’t think you owe it or believe the details are inaccurate, US laws allow you to dispute the debt via a Credit Report Dispute Letter. All you need to do is highlight the item, explain why you are disputing it, and ask the debt collection agency to correct or remove it. This will ensure you don’t pay money that you don’t owe.