A study by the Federal Trade Commission found that one in five consumers had at least one error in their credit report. One in four had an error that would hurt the consumer’s credit score. Those numbers show why it’s so critical to review your credit reports regularly and dispute errors when you find them.

It may seem old-school, but the best way to get a dispute heard is to send a letter. That’s right. A real letter sent through the mail. This guide will teach you how and explain how to decide if you’d be better off getting professional help.

Table of Contents

What is a credit report dispute letter?

A credit report dispute letter does just what the name suggests. It disputes information that you believe is inaccurate in your credit report. When you find that kind of information, you can send letters to credit bureaus (also known as credit reporting agencies) or data furnishers that provided the information to the bureaus in the first place.

A dispute letter has several parts, including a section that highlights a disputed item(s) and responds with evidence. It asks for information to be removed or updated.

Why snail mail dispute letters are better than online disputes

While you have the option to respond to errors on your credit report online through credit bureau websites, experts recommend sending written letters. Sending physical copies means you will have proof of what exactly was sent and when. You can also attach evidence to support your case.

The FTC advises that letters be sent with “return receipt requested.”[1] That way, you know exactly when the letter was received. By law, the bureaus and data furnishers have 30 days to respond once they receive your dispute.

Types of dispute letters

General dispute letter

This is generally the best type of dispute letter to send. It is a general-purpose letter that is simple. There is no need to invoke any aspect of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) in your letter. It simply lists the mistake from the credit report, supply evidence to prove your case, and ask to remove the negative item from the credit record.

609 credit report dispute letter

This letter references Section 609 of the FCRA and requests the credit bureau verify an item in your credit report. In this letter, you ask the credit agencies to verify negative information, and if that information cannot be verified, it must be removed.

611 credit report dispute letter

A 611 credit dispute letter references Section 611 of the FCRA. It requests that the credit bureau provide the method of verification they used to verify a disputed item. It is sent after a credit bureau has responded to a dispute that a negative item has been verified.

623 credit report dispute letter

The 623 credit dispute letter, which references Section 623 of the FCRA, is a “last-ditch” attempt to remove a record. Once you have gone through the process of sending a general dispute letter or a 609 and a 611 dispute letter, you contact the data furnisher directly. In this letter, you ask the data furnisher to prove that the debt belongs to you. This is known as debt validation and generally only applies to disputes about third-party debt collection accounts.

How to write a credit report dispute letter

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a credit dispute letter should have four main parts.[2]

  1. Identifying information – Your name, address, phone, etc.
  2. Company Information – This can be the information for the credit bureau you’re making the dispute with or the data furnisher.
  3. Disputed items – List account numbers, dates, what needs to be changed, and why.
  4. Enclosures – List the copies of physical documents, the credit report, your identity paperwork, and copies of bills or other evidence that you may have.

What you’ll need to include with any credit dispute letter:

  • Account numbers (including the credit bureau, as well as your account number with the furnishers, if available)
  • Source of your dispute information
  • Type of disputed information
  • Dates of account activity in question
  • An explanation on why this is an error (be sure to provide evidence)
  • Your personal information
  • Documents to verify your identity

Credit dispute letter sample templates

Below you will find samples of the four types of dispute letters we outline above. We’ve labeled the different parts of the letter you need to include and provided some useful instructions. You can download a template letter in Word for each type of dispute. Simply replace the lines in brackets <> with your information to write your dispute letter.

General dispute letter sample template

Use this template to ask for the removal of errors on your credit report.

Identifying information

The date you are sending the letter

Jane Doe
123 Any Street
My Town, NY 11111
555-555-1212
[email protected]
Date of birth
Social Security number (can be included, but may be left off for privacy)
Drivers license number (can be included, but may be left off for privacy)

Company Information

Major Credit Bureau
146 Any Street
Credit Town, NY 11111

Disputed items

Subject: Disputing information in my credit report

I am requesting an investigation of the following data that appears in my file. I believe that this data is an error because [describe reason]. I am requesting for this item to be removed [may also request for it to be updated or changed].

Disputed Item number 1

Name: Annoying Collection Agency
Address: 182 Any Street, Collection Town, NY 11111
Phone: 555-555-1212
Account Number: 12345abc

Reasons why this is an error: [list your reason(s) here]

I have enclosed the following documentation to support this request: [summarize documents you’ve enclosed]

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Jane Doe

Enclosures: [list items enclosed]

Have a copy of the credit report with the item(s) circled or highlighted
List any items that prove your identity
List any evidence that proves your case
Make sure you copy these enclosures and keep your originals in your records

Download this letter as a Word document »

609 dispute letter sample template

Use this template to ask to verify a debt on your credit report.

Identifying information

The date you are sending the letter

Jane Doe
123 Any Street
My Town, NY 11111
555-555-1212
[email protected]
Date of birth
Social Security number (can be included, but may be left off for privacy)
Drivers license number (can be included, but may be left off for privacy)

Company Information

Major Credit Bureau
146 Any Street
Credit Town, NY 11111

Disputed items

Subject: Disputed items in credit report

I’m writing about the following data that appears on my credit report. I’m challenging the validity of this record showing a debt that is recorded in your system under the FCRA, Fair Credit Reporting Act, Section 609. I am asking you to verify this record. If you cannot verify this record, I request you remove this data from my account immediately.

Disputed Item 1

Name: Annoying Collection Agency
Address: 182 Any Street, Collection Town, NY 11111
Phone: 555-555-1212
Account Number: 12345abc

Reasons why this is an error: [list your reason(s) here]

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Jane Doe

Enclosures: [list items enclosed]

Have a copy of the credit report with the item(s) circled or highlighted
List any items that prove your identity
List any evidence that proves your case
Make sure you copy these enclosures and keep your originals in your records

Download this letter as a Word document »

611 dispute letter sample template

Use this template to ask for a re-investigation of errors on your credit report.

Identifying information

The date you are sending the letter

Jane Doe
123 Any Street
My Town, NY 11111
555-555-1212
[email protected]
Date of birth
Social Security number (can be included, but may be left off for privacy)
Drivers license number (can be included, but may be left off for privacy)

Company Information

Major Credit Bureau
146 Any Street
Credit Town, NY 11111

Disputed items

Subject: Disputed items in credit report

I am requesting a re-investigation of the following data that appears on my credit report. On [date], your company responded and stated that the data which appears below is verifiable and therefore cannot be deleted. At this time, I ask that you provide all supporting documentation and information on how you arrived at that conclusion. This is my request and right under FCRA 611.

Please reply within the time limits as stated by the FCRA or delete the data which appears on my credit report.

Disputed Item 1

Name: Annoying Collection Agency
Address: 182 Any Street, Collection Town, NY 11111
Phone: 555-555-1212
Account Number: 12345abc

Reasons why this is an error: [list your reason(s) here]

I have enclosed the following documentation to support this request: [summarize documents you’ve enclosed]

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Jane Doe

Enclosures: [list items enclosed]

Have a copy of the credit report with the item(s) circled or highlighted
List any items that prove your identity
List any evidence that proves your case
Make sure you copy these enclosures and keep your originals in your records

Download this letter as a Word document »

623 credit report dispute letter sample template

Use this template to ask data furnishers to verify and remove errors on your credit report(s).

Identifying information

The date you are sending the letter

Jane Doe
123 Any Street
My Town, NY 11111
555-555-1212
[email protected]
Date of birth
Social Security number (can be included, but may be left off for privacy)
Drivers license number (can be included, but may be left off for privacy)

Company Information

Annoying Collection Agency
182 Any Street
Collection Town, NY 11111

Disputed items

Subject: Disputing credit report items

I am requesting an investigation of the following data that appears on my credit report. Specifically, I’m disputing the records that your company is sending to the credit reporting agencies.

When I disputed this record with the credit bureaus, they stated the information was verified. However, because credit recording agencies often use software that doesn’t provide complete investigations, I am disputing the information directly with you. This is my right under section 623 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

If you cannot perform this type of investigation or locate all of the records to investigate this dispute, please update the credit bureaus to remove the information.

I’m also asking that you send your method of investigation, along with all records, as well as documentation that proves the account belongs to me. Then I may conduct my own investigation.

Disputed Item 1

Name: Of company in question
Address: 182 Any Street, Collection Town, NY 11111
Phone: 555-555-1212
Account Number: 12345abc

Reasons why this is an error: [list your reason(s) here]

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Jane Doe

Enclosures: [list items enclosed]

Have a copy of the credit report with the item(s) circled or highlighted
List any items that prove your identity
List any evidence that proves your case
Make sure you copy these enclosures and keep your originals in your records

Download this letter as a Word document »

Do 609, 611, and 623 dispute letters work?

Although some people say they’ve had success invoking specific sections of the FCRA, these letters may not help any more than a well-written general credit dispute letter.

It is even possible that credit reporting agencies may flag 609 and 611 credit report letters as potentially frivolous. That’s because some credit repair companies will advise people to send dispute letters that point to certain sections of the FCRA to question everything on their credit report.

What types of credit dispute letters work?

You can write your letter based on the template we provided in this article. But when you have many errors in your credit report, it might be wise to seek professional help. By law, you can authorize credit repair companies to handle disputes on your behalf. That means they will help you gather the appropriate documentation and then facilitate sending disputes for you. They’re experts at wording things the right way to get disputes through.

Connect with the right tools and services to repair your credit.

Start NowCall To Action Link

Why 609, 611, 623 letters aren’t a loophole

If you search the internet, you’ll find many vendors selling these types of letters and claiming it’s a “loophole.” Unfortunately, there are no loopholes. Any valid legitimate debt will remain on your credit report until the date it will naturally fall off.

Credit reporting bureaus are not under any obligation to delete data, even if it lacks part of the paper trail demanded in these letters.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act exists to protect your rights, not give you loopholes. Remember that credit reporting agencies are only under an obligation to remove information that cannot be verified. If they believe the information is verifiable, they won’t agree to remove it.

Sections 609, 611, and 623 in the FCRA

  • Section 609 addresses your right to request copies of your credit report and states that data records must be removed if disputed information cannot be verified. It doesn’t address your right to dispute information in your credit report. The right to dispute information is in section 611 of the FCRA.
  • Section 611a of the FCRA says that the credit reporting agency doesn’t need to show the verification method or send you written results of the dispute when you send your dispute electronically.
  • In Section 623 and other sections of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you have the right to dispute a debt not only with the credit reporting agencies but directly with a data furnisher (credit card company, lender, collector) as well. Section 623 of the FCRA also prohibits a company from furnishing inaccurate information to a credit reporting agency.

Tips for writing successful credit report dispute letters

  • Pay attention to the evidence that you include and provide records to back up your claims.
  • Try not to use form letters from the internet or credit bureaus. We include templates for guidance. But please adjust them and make them your own document.
  • Dispute errors that are real. Don’t try to get the credit bureaus to take off valid and legitimate negative items. Most likely, they won’t, and your legitimate disputes could get rejected in the process.
  • Always ask for the error to get deleted or updated.
  • Try to dispute one error at a time, or at least just a few at once. If you have a large number of errors, you may want to group them and space out the disputes.
  • Send your letter by certified mail, return receipt requested.
  • Keep records of all correspondence.
  • If you feel you were a victim of Identity theft, you need to report that immediately, in addition to making the dispute with the credit bureau.

Get professional help to clean up errors in your credit report.

Free ConsultationCall To Action Link


Sources

 

Article last modified on November 12, 2021. Published by Debt.com, LLC