credit dispute

How to Write a Credit Dispute Letter (with Examples)

Possibly the most important task a credit repair specialist handles is submitting credit dispute letters for their clients. The basis of credit repair involves removing errors from business and/or consumer reports. This article will go over how to write a credit dispute letter for any client, in any situation. You’ll find some helpful examples and links to to make the process easy to understand even on your very first attempt.

Preparing to Dispute Credit Report Errors

Every credit report error must be specifically addressed. The context of the error should be identified before you begin the writing process. To determine this, look at the genuinity of the claim.

Also, be realistic to what a client can expect to have happen when their dispute letter gets reviewed by the credit bureau. Simple honest errors get corrected, not removed. Some report inaccuracies do not result in score changes.

Identify the type of inaccuracy on the client’s credit report. Common examples include:

  • Bad debt collectors: Some debt collection agencies are snakes. For instance, many will report debt with a higher balance than what’s actually owed. These cases are pretty easy to prove. Depending on the specifics, disputing these inaccuracies could result in either a fix or delete.
  • Duplicate accounts: While not incredibly common, sometimes the same account will get posted twice on a client’s report. This issue is super easy to fix – just specify the accounts within the dispute letter. A duplicate entry can cause the consumer’s total debt and utilization rate calculations to hurt their credit score.
  • Identity theft: These cases are the least difficult to battle. Most identity thefts are not hard to identify. With so much clear evidence, chances are your dispute letter will result in the wrongful entry getting deleted from your client’s credit report.
  • Joint accounts: Certain circumstances can cause a joint account to become irrelevant. This situation often occurs after a couple divorces. The judge might decide that one partner is not liable for the debt. If this person gets removed from an account, they should have it taken off their credit report. In this case, there are special documents needed to backup the dispute letter.
  • Legitimate mistakes: Sometimes creditors are guilty of human errors. You can discuss the problem with the reporting company. You can escalate the matter if they don’t see your side and report the error themselves. Never give in and accept any error, especially when you know it’s wrong.
  • Old debts: Bankruptcies and bad debts over seven years in age should be taken off credit reports. If these entries still show on a client’s credit file, they should be easily removed by raising the issue with the credit bureau.
  • Wrong titles: Sometimes a closed account will be incorrectly labeled. For instance, a creditor might agree to mark a debt as “paid in full,” then fail to follow through. Another example is when a person closes their account and it’s marked as “closed by grantor,” which makes it look like it was the creditor’s choice.

How to Write Credit Dispute Letters

The right approach depends on which type of inaccuracy exists. Take a look at the list above and decide which one applies for your client’s credit report error. Then, apply the tactics mentioned below when writing their credit dispute letter.

Before we begin, here are some quick tips:

  • Always create a separate dispute letter for each error. You can bundle more than one, especially when correlated. However, often times the credit bureau will look at this as a goading attempt to cleanse the client’s report. When each dispute is individually reviewed, every claim will be properly inspected.
  • Waiting for credit bureaus to review a claim can be tedious. Sometimes, especially when the client hasn’t already done so, the matter can be resolved with the creditor. You can send a copy of your dispute letter with supporting documents to the creditor as well. If they fix the problem, the credit bureau can simply disregard the dispute.
  • Contacting via mail is always better than submitting a dispute letter online or by phone. As convenient as it is, you should stick with a certified letter. Faxing the claim is a close second choice – the point is to provide physical documents, it comes across more serious.

Side note: If your credit repair business does not use credit repair software, it might be time to invest. Check out the features in TurboDispute as an example. Dispute letter automation is one of the biggest selling features that such programs offer. You barely need to know how to write a credit dispute letter, because there are countless templates that you can use.

Seeing is believing, so look at the dispute letter examples below to learn!

Dispute Letter for Identity Theft Victims

Steps:

  1. Obtain a copy of their police report and/or FTC identity theft affidavit, which is received after they go to IdentityTheft.gov and report the crime.
  2. Obtain a copy of any supporting documents and other information that will help with structuring the letter.
  3. Write a dispute letter in similar fashion to the example below and send it to the credit bureau(s) that contain the error.

Identity Theft Credit Dispute Letter Example

John Doe

DOB 01-05

123 Main St

Brooklyn, NY 10044

 

TransUnion Consumer Solutions

PO Box 2000

Chester, PA 19016-2000

 

Dear TransUnion,

I am reaching out about an invalid credit report item. The item in question is Account no. 123456 with Lending Company Co. which was never opened. This entry is a case of identity theft, which has been reported to both legal authorities and the FTC (see attached documents).

The wrongful entry was first posted to the credit report six months ago. It would be greatly appreciated if you could send the revised copy to each creditor / lender that pulled the file in this time period.

As per the FCRA Act, credit reporting agencies have 30 days to come to a conclusion. If this matter is ignored, or if the request is denied, a Method of Verification request will be made. At this point, as per the same act, you will have 15 days to supply such details or the matter must be reinvestigated. It’s inconceivable to believe this credit report error is actually accurate. In a worst case scenario, an intent to sue letter will be supplied to make sure the issue is properly rectified.

I trust that you will resolve this issue in a timely manner and appreciate your work.

Sincerely,

John Doe

Ex-Spouse Account Removal Dispute Letter Example

Jane Doe

DOB 01-05

123 Main St

Brooklyn, NY 10044

 

TransUnion Consumer Solutions

PO Box 2000

Chester, PA 19016-2000

 

Dear TransUnion,

I am contacting your agency in regards to a credit report error that has been found. This issue is the result of a joint account getting transferred into an ex-spouse’s name.

The mentioned account is Account no. 345678 with Any Term Loans. It was opened in August of 2009 and is still open in the ex-spouse’s name, John Doe. For supporting documentation, please check the attached paperwork – ‘Divorce Decree’ which supports this claim.

I trust a fast and responsible decision will be made and this account will be removed. As per the FCRA Act, your agency has 30 days to conclude the investigation. With the supplied paperwork, it should be clear that this (once accurate) credit report entry should no longer exist.

Thank you for your time and effort.

Sincerely,

Jane Doe

Incorrect Amounts Credit Dispute Letter Example

John Doe

DOB 01-05

123 Main St

Brooklyn, NY 10044

 

TransUnion Consumer Solutions

PO Box 2000

Chester, PA 19016-2000

 

Dear TransUnion,

I am inquiring about an incorrectly reported item. This dispute is in regards to Account no. 654321 with the collection agency Total Debt Relief. The inaccurately reported entry was reported on September 25th, 2017.

This debt was originally with Home Reno Financers and entered into collections in September, as reported. The discretion between the two is the balance stated by the collection agency. The owing amount with the original creditor was $3,886.50 while the amount of $7,773 is what was reported by the collection agency.

I am aware that a collection agency has the right to add fees and interest on debt they purchase from original creditors. A collection law, 15 U.S.C. 1692f(1) [§ 808(1)] exists which allows them to do so. However, they decided to double the balance owing which is far beyond reason and it appears they are claiming fees (such as court costs) which have yet to surface.

I am merely requesting that this unjust increase is investigated and fixed. The debt is legitimate, but the fees added by the collector are not justifiable whatsoever. The collection agency’s entry is only a few months old and there is no reason to believe that fees or interest would double the owed amount. In fact, it would take many years for this to happen even with interest rates above 20 percent, and the initial lender only charged 15 percent.

I look forward to hearing the conclusion of your investigation – which must be within 30 days, as stated under “15 U.S. Code § 1681i – Procedure in case of disputed accuracy,” within the FCRA Act.

Where to Send Credit Dispute Letters

Look below for details on where to send credit dispute letters to each of the three major credit bureaus.

Equifax

Mail:

Equifax

PO Box 740256

Atlanta, GA 30374-0256

 

Online:

Submit the dispute claim here.

 

Phone:

1-866-349-5191

Experian

Mail:

Experian

PO Box 9701

Allen, TX 75013

 

Online:

Submit with a copy of the client’s credit report here.

TransUnion

Mail:

TransUnion Consumer Solutions

PO Box 2000

Chester, PA 19016-2000

 

Fax:

1-610-546-4771

Attn: CCD (Consumer Contact Department)

 

Online:

https://dispute.transunion.com/

 

Phone:

1-800-916-8800 (M-F, 8am to 11pm EST)

Writing Credit Dispute Letters for Businesses

Sometimes you will deal with report errors that impact business credit files. These cases are not much different than what you will experience with personal clients. The main thing is that you will be contacting the business credit bureaus.

Two of the three major ones are the same (Equifax, Experian). You can send the credit dispute letters the same way for those bureaus as you would if dealing with a personal client. The third bureau is Dun & Bradstreet. Take a look below for more guidance on how to dispute such credit report errors.

Disputing Errors on a Dun & Bradstreet File

Dun & Bradstreet does not accept traditional credit dispute letters. The claim starts with calling 1-866-584-0283 and explaining the issue. From there, supporting documentation might be requested to verify the dispute. It typically takes 7-14 business days to process the dispute. Unfortunately, disputes cannot be filed any other way – D&B does not accept emails, faxes or physically mailed dispute letters.

Errors with Other Business Credit Bureaus

Some business clients are perfectionists. You might come across a client that wants to keep all their credit reports clean. Outside of Equifax, Experian and Dun & Bradstreet, no other bureau really matters to lenders. But, some other bureaus do exist. It’s unlikely a creditor will report to these lesser known bureaus. However, in some cases a client might request that you help fix errors on their PayNet file.

Fixing Credit Report Errors at PayNet

This bureau provides credit data on small businesses to commercial and industrial lenders. They founded in 1999 and their database features information on more than 23 million small business loans. Many lenders like using this bureau because they provide comprehensive reports. For instance, unlike Equifax and Experian, they report the loan payment amounts and not just the loan balance.

To dispute a credit report error on a client’s PayNet file, call 1-866-825-3400 or email support@paynetonline.com with details. They will listen to the claim and request supporting evidence if it’s required.

What to Do When Dispute Letters Fail

The battle isn’t over yet!

Sometimes credit dispute letters get rejected without just cause. If you believe your client is right, and it is indeed an inaccuracy, push further. You can submit a Method of Verification request to the respective credit bureau.

The Method of Verification will be responded to within 30 days. The credit bureau will supply you with more details on how they made their decision. You can receive the name of the person that verified the entry, the supporting document and the contact details of the creditor.

If the credit bureau fails to respond within 15 days, the dispute investigation must be reopened. They will then have 30 days to reach a new verdict. If the bureau does not oblige to your Method of Verification request – threaten to sue (with an intent to sue letter). Failure to comply typically results in the wrongful entry getting removed. In the vast majority of cases the issue does not reach this point, as credit bureaus are highly corresponsive.

Here are sample Method of Verification letters.

Conclusion

Every credit repair specialist should know how to write a credit dispute letter for any situation. While it might seem like every client’s issue is unique, that’s not really the case. Most circumstances fall within a short list of categories.

Once you identify the situation at hand, it becomes clear which style of credit dispute letter will work. When you know what needs to be reported, it’s easy to pull a dispute letter template and make some quick alterations. The end result will be a dispute letter that’s respected and more likely to lead to a fix or delete.