Although your credit report is supposed to be the best representation of your financial health, they are not always accurate. When you believe that items on your credit report are inaccurate, you can file an FCRA Section 609 credit dispute letter to let credit bureaus know there needs to be a correction. About one in five people have an error on their credit report, so the letter can be of great help if you happen to be one of those individuals. However, not many know how to use these letters and how to prepare them. You can learn more about how to create a letter yourself to help improve your chances of getting credit report errors removed from your report expediently.
How Do 609 Credit Dispute Letters Work?
When you write a 609 credit dispute letter, you alert the credit bureaus to a mistake and formally request them to remove it from your report. This is so that the negative information can’t harm your credit history, ultimately lowering your credit score and making it difficult to borrow money for important financial decisions. The letter is similar to a debt verification letter that you use to verify the legitimacy of the error on your credit report but instead is managed by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
Under this act, only accurate information that has not reached its expiration date can be listed on your credit report. You also have the right to see who was the one that reported your delinquency to the credit report agency and what evidence they provided. All of the information that was used to report you should be verifiable. Otherwise, it has to be removed from your credit report.
Right to Dispute Credit Report Errors
The FCRA only gives you the right to request your credit reports and any other information held by credit bureaus. It doesn’t give you the right to demand that credit bureaus investigate your disputes. The FCRA doesn’t formally acknowledge a 609 dispute letter. It does, however, mention your ability to dispute any information found in your credit reports that are inaccurate.
In general, credit report agencies cannot hold you accountable for illegitimate late payments and false delinquent statuses from your furnisher. However, this only applies to incorrect information. If you have an accurate delinquency but managed to get your account into good standing, the points lost cannot be reinstated. You may be in good standing with your lender or collector, but the negative points on your record remain until consistent payments make it go up again.
Access to Credit Bureau Information
According to the FCRA, you are allowed information that the credit bureau has regarding your accounts. However, you are only entitled to information that the credit bureau has in its database. If the credit bureau doesn’t have the original loan agreement, statements, or other information, they cannot provide you with that information. You wouldn’t have the right to access that data.
Letter Templates Might Help
You don’t necessarily require a letter to dispute a credit bureau agency. You can use any written message. However, a 609 credit dispute letter allows you to formally interact with the credit agency in a straightforward and organized way. If the furnisher somehow verifies the incorrect items on your report, they can add them back to your account.
Benefits of a 609 Credit Dispute Letter
There are a variety of ways you can use a 609 credit dispute letter to your advantage. For example:
- You can remove accounts that aren’t yours
- Change on-time payments that were reported late
- Correct inaccurate account balances or loan amounts
- Change past due account statuses to current
- Remove inaccurate creditors or lenders
Can Any Negative Flag On My Account Be Removed?
While technically you can dispute any item on your credit report, it is only the inaccurate items that can be removed. Even if you manage to convince a credit bureau to remove a past-due payment, if the furnisher takes the time to send proof that it is an accurate report, it will be added back to your account. You will have to wait for negative items on your credit report to expire according to the normal cycle.
How Do I Write My Letter?
You will have to gather important documents in addition to putting together a template to create your letter.
You need four copies of these documents to send with your letter:
- Birth certificate
- Social security card
- Driver’s license or other state-issued identification
- A contract for mortgage or rental that has your contact information
- Tax document with your SSN
- Utility bills with your contact information
Next, create a letter addressing the credit bureau agency by stating that you’re exercising your act to request information regarding the incorrect item on the list. You will have to specify specifically what the item is, the furnisher, and the account number associated with the item. Here is a great template example.
You will want to send three letters with copies of your documents to Equifax, TransUnion Consumer Solutions, and Experian. All of these credit bureaus have specific addresses you can mail your 609 letters to.
What Can I Expect After It Was Sent?
The credit bureau investigation process, on average, takes about 30 to 45 days. After a few weeks of waiting, you will find out the outcome of the investigation. The credit report agency will send you written results.
What If the Error Is Not Removed?
If the error is not removed at one of the credit bureaus, you can file a complaint with the Federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau by filling out a form on their website. The investigation is handled between 30 to 90 days, and they will resolve the problem.
Need Help With Your 609 Letter or Credit Report?
If you are trying to improve your credit report before a major purchase, talk to industry experts who can provide valuable information. Contact My Credit Repair Clinic for a consultation.