Whether you’ve stumbled upon an error on your credit report by accident or found one while conducting a regular review of your credit report, there is nothing worse than finding inaccuracies and errors that are negatively impacting your credit score. Some people find this information out the hard way, often in the course of being turned down for a credit card or denied a new loan.
Others are proactive and regularly request a copy of their credit report, discovering errors on their own before suffering the negative side effects. Regardless of the circumstances, those errors and inaccuracies are not factors that you have to live with. If you believe those facts are wrong and have the proof to back it up, you need to write a credit dispute letter to get those items removed from your report.
Simple as that process may sound, there are good ways and bad ways of writing a dispute letter to one of the three major credit bureaus, a credit reporting agency, or a specific lender. There are many steps you can take to craft a great credit dispute letter that effectively gets your point across without dragging on across countless pages.
The First Decision
If you’ve noticed a sudden drop in your credit score, it’s time to do some digging and find out the root cause. In some cases, your credit score may have dropped for legitimate reasons. Factors
such as a recent divorce or multiple new lines of open credit can have a short term impact on your score. However, if you have discovered inaccuracies that are behind the drop, you need to
determine whether to write a credit dispute letter or file a claim online.
Start with the Basics
Now that you’ve decided to write a credit dispute letter, you need to be sure to provide identification information in your letter. The top of your dispute letter should start with your name, followed by your current address, the last four digits of your Social Security number, and a reference number for your credit report (if one is available to you).
Without this basic information, your dispute letter may not be viewed in a timely manner, or ignored altogether. It’s important not to rush through writing this credit dispute letter, because the success or failure of your claim hinges on your ability to prove your claim is accurate. Attention to detail matters!
Identify the Inaccuracies with Detail
If you’re going to take the time to send a letter, you need to make it crystal clear which facts you believe to be inaccurate on your credit report. Simply writing a letter that accuses the credit bureau of inaccuracies in reporting or errors in factual listings isn’t going to streamline the process for them, making it less likely you will have the information you want removed expunged from your report.
Clearly describe in the letter the account that you know to be wrong, and provide the name of the account, the creditor in question, the date the account was opened (for example, a new credit card), and provide the account number.
Type Your Complaint
There are no rules stating that complaints have to be submitted in a particular format. However, if you are going to try and write your complaint letter by hand, you better have immaculate handwriting. It would be a shame to put all the time and effort into crafting a letter, gathering your information, and having your complaint fail or be resubmitted to you for clarification because someone at the credit bureau struggled to read your handwriting.
Save yourself the time and potential headaches, and just sit down at your computer to type up a credit dispute letter.
Avoid Telling the Credit Bureau How to Do its Job
Imagine if you were sitting at your desk at work and received a strongly worded email from someone outside your department complaining about the way you do your job, how your
appearance violates company policy, or reminding you of a specific passage in the employee guidebook. You probably wouldn’t think too fondly of that fellow employee.
You should adopt the same approach when you are writing your dispute letter. Don’t use aggressive, belligerent, or accusatory language. For starters, not all mistakes on a credit report are the result of malicious behavior. In many cases, inaccuracies are just the result of human error.
Most importantly, don’t start spouting off all of the consumer protection laws the bureau has potentially violated and tell them you expect a response within 30 days as stipulated within the
Fair Credit Reporting Act. The major credit bureaus are well aware of their responsibilities, and the presence of such accusatory and aggressive language may send the wrong signal. Which leads us to the next tip.
Be Clear and Keep it Short
As just alluded to, there is no need to go into great detail with your credit dispute letter by accusing the bureau of violations under one law and their responsibilities under another. Likewise, if you write a letter attempting to dispute a large number of facts on your credit report you are sure to be met with suspicion and opposition from the credit bureaus. Many disreputable credit repair firms encourage clients to dispute multiple factors. Stick to the inaccuracies or errors you know, and can prove, are wrong.
Your credit dispute letter isn’t going to be sifted through with a fine-tooth comb. Keep your letter to one page in length, use bullet points to highlight the important factors (accounts you dispute), and make sure those disputes appear near the top of your letter.
Provide Copies of Documentation as Proof
If you have copies of documentation that support your claims against the credit bureau, include copies in the envelope that you mail your dispute letter inside of. Documentation is the best ammunition you have to prove your side of the story and get the negative information removed from your credit report. When you include this information along with your dispute letter, make sure you provide copies and not the originals. Always keep originals for your personal records.
Have Someone Proofread
This final point isn’t necessary to correct grammar, spelling, and sentence structure, but rather the message as a whole. Ask a parent, friend, or other relative to read through your credit dispute letter. If that individual cannot understand the message you are trying to get across, it’s not very likely that the individual reading your letter at the credit bureau will be able to do so.
Ask for Help from Vullings Law LLC
If it seems like too much for you to do to tackle a credit dispute letter, you can always turn to legal experts such as the licensed lawyers at Vullings Law. Our legal team has an intimate knowledge of consumer credit protection legislation, and we can help you write and submit your credit dispute letter so that the message is clear the first time. Contact us today for a consultation and learn how we can help you clean up inaccuracies on your credit report.