A properly written dispute letter can be invaluable when it comes to clearing up your credit report. While preparing to send that letter to a credit bureau may not be enjoyable, an appropriately written dispute letter can valuably assist you in getting a loan, a job, or a new home.
There are advantages to handwriting your letter
Even though the credit bureaus
are sometimes intimidating and the barrage of written exchanges you may have to initiate can be time-consuming and frustrating, you'll find the hassle well worth it when your credit report is cleared.
Your dispute letter should follow standard letter writing guidelines while including a few things that the credit bureau specifically will need in order to take action on your dispute. This article will go through each part of the letter and let you know what should be included and how it should look on the page.
First, you need not worry if you don't have a computer at your disposal. In fact, there are advantages to handwriting your letter. When the credit bureau receives a handwritten letter, they know that you're an individual working on your own credit report and not a third party. Typewritten letters are also okay.
The top of the page
In the upper left-hand corner of the page, you should always include your name, address and telephone number in that order. If you have an email address, it's good to include it as well below your telephone number. Because you're dealing with a credit bureau, it's imperative that you also list your Social Security number-this is the bureau's most reliable way of connecting your letter to your report. It should be placed below your email address (if you have one) or below your telephone number (if you don't have an email address). Two spaces below all this information, you should write or type the credit bureau's name and address. The date should be located two spaces below the credit bureau's address.
Body of the Letter
Now it's time to get to the meat of your letter. A salutation such as "To Whom It May Concern:" is generally safe and will work as a greeting to whoever may be reading your letter. This should come two spaces after the date, and the letter text should come two spaces after the salutation.
In the body of your letter, it's important to keep your tone courteous and straightforward. If there are multiple errors in your report, you should list each one in its own paragraph. State your needs simply so as to avoid any unneeded complications. Also, be sure to call the bureau to action and let them know what you need them to do: "Please remove this item from my credit report."
Two lines below the body text of your letter, you should end with a signoff such as "Sincerely" or "Thank you." Your professionalism and courtesy will be appreciated by the credit bureau employees, as they deal with dispute letters regularly. Below your signature, don't forget to write in print or type your name.
Things to Remember
- If there's something wrong with your identifying information, correct it at the beginning of your letter before going into any errors you need to dispute.
- Remember that you are just beginning the process and understand that before the item(s) in question are changed, you may need to write many more letters.
- As soon as you receive a letter from the credit bureau, follow up with a letter of your own. The process of correcting errors can be a long one, and you can speed it up by communicating quickly and effectively.
- As stated earlier, professionalism and courtesy are necessary if you want to get results. State your needs clearly, and never threaten the credit bureau.
- The item(s) you are disputing should be clear and specific and should use words such as erroneous, outdated, misleading, and unverifiable. It won't do to explain your situation and ask for the credit bureau's sympathy-you need to state a reason why the listing(s) in question is wrong, unverifiable, or not yours.
A Good Example of a Dispute Letter
Don't forget to send a copy of any document or paper you have that proves the item(s) you are disputing are erroneous. Sending proof of error will definitely speed up the process. Also send a copy of the credit report in question with the dispute item(s) highlighted. Anything you can do to make it easier for the overworked credit bureau employees will help you in the end.
For your records, it is important that you keep careful note of your communication with the credit bureau. Date everything.
The following letter is short and simple; it gets to the point in a businesslike manner and calls for action on the part of the credit bureau.
123 Main St.
Anytown, XX 98765
Equifax Credit Information Services, Inc
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374
January 1, 2007
To Whom It May Concern:
Upon reviewing my current credit report from your bureau, I came across the attached highlighted item, and I don't think it is mine. Would you please remove this item from my credit report?
Thank you for your assistance in this matter.
[signature goes here]
You can also view a sample credit dispute letter from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
A Matter of Time
If you don't have the time or energy to repair your credit reports yourself, there are alternatives. A reputable credit repair company
can help you get your report cleared up. A professional will know exactly how to talk to the bureaus and will help you get the best and quickest results.
Writing a convincing dispute letter to the credit bureaus doesn't necessarily have to be difficult. By following this guide, you should get good results. Your credit report will probably become smaller, cleaner, and simpler. With any luck, you will end up with a higher credit score, which means you'll keep more of your hard-earned money in your pocket instead of your creditors'
. That's definitely worth sending a letter or two!