How to Write a Credit Dispute Letter
By Kevin Mercadante
If you’ve ever tried to fix any kind of discrepancy over the phone, then you are probably aware that email or a written letter are generally more effective. This is especially true when it comes to disputing an error on your credit report. The best way to handle the situation is by writing a carefully worded letter or email that will formally open up a dispute, as well as make your case for removing the error from your credit report.
What a Credit Dispute Letter Should Say
The letter should do the following:
1. It should identify the creditor, the account number, and the specific error that the creditor is reporting to the credit bureaus.
2. It should describe - in as much detail as is necessary - why the information reported is in error.
3. It should include any documentation that supports your claim.
4. It should include a request to have the error corrected with all three credit bureaus, as well as provide you with a written notice that the erroneous information has been removed.
The last point is extremely important! Any time you enter into a dispute with any creditor, it is critical that you receive a written acknowledgement that corrective action has been agreed to and implemented.
You may need written confirmation in the event that the problem resurfaces at some point in the future, or in the event that the creditor is less than fully cooperative in reporting the change to all three credit bureaus.
A Sample Credit Dispute Letter
Below is a Sample Letter for Disputing Errors on Your Credit Report provided by the Federal Trade Commission website, and it’s an excellent starting point. You can use this as the basic form for your letter, and customize it by filling in the information in the [ ] brackets.
[Your City, State, Zip Code]
[City, State, Zip Code]
Dear Sir or Madam:
I am writing to dispute the following information in my file. I have circled the items I dispute on the attached copy of the report I received.
This item [identify item(s) disputed by name of source, such as creditors or tax court, and identify type of item, such as credit account, judgment, etc.] is [inaccurate or incomplete] because [describe what is inaccurate or incomplete and why] I am requesting that the item be removed [or request another specific change] to correct the information.
Enclosed are copies of [use this sentence if applicable and describe any enclosed documentation, such as payment records and court documents supporting my position. Please reinvestigate this [these] matter[s] and [delete or correct] the disputed item[s] as soon as possible.
Please correct the information on file with all three credit repositories as soon as possible. I also request that you send me a letter confirming that the error has been corrected and that the update has been provided to the credit repositories.
Enclosures: [List what you are enclosing.]
Some important points in customizing your letter:
- The address of the creditor should be available in the credit report (it’s usually listed on the last pages of the report)
- The opening paragraph references your credit report as the source of the information, but you don’t have to include a copy of the full report. Instead, cut and paste the top portion of the report (that identifies you and the report), and the specific credit reference in the body of the report that pertains to that creditor. There is no need to turn unrelated information over to the creditor.
- Be sure to describe why the enclosed documentation proves conclusively that the credit entry is an error - the reader may not necessarily get that from the documentation itself.
- I added the last paragraph to the form letter (italicized), since you will need to request written confirmation of the correction. This is just in case the creditor fails to report the changes to the credit bureaus, and you need to follow up with them yourself. The creditor confirmation of the error will be your evidence to the bureaus.
Following this strategy should enable you to get at least most errors removed from your credit report. Just go through all of the steps as described, and be patient with the process. Unfortunately, the drive thru windows and cash machines that are so common these days don’t exist in the credit repair universe - at least not yet.
About Kevin Mercadante
Kevin Mercadante is a freelance professional personal finance blogger, and the owner of his own personal finance blog, OutOfYourRut.com. He has extensive backgrounds in both accounting and the mortgage industry. Follow Kevin on Google+.