Credit Dispute Letters & FTC
Credit Dispute letters & FTC the Fair Credit Reporting Act or FCRA of 1970 has recently been strengthened in order to allow anyone to dispute negative items on their credit report. This must be done with a credit dispute letter then the credit bureaus must either delete the listing within 30 days or verify it with the company who reported the listing. The key to repairing bad credit is to write a properly formatted credit dispute letters to one (if it’s only listed with one bureau) or all 3 credit bureaus and send them out via registered mail (return receipt requested) for your records. Always include copies of your credit in the letter or letters, not originals (because you will NOT get your originals back). Below is a step-by-step guide to writing a letter of dispute. Also, this week on my blog, Facebook, and website
Once you have received your FREE credit report and noticed that there is an error, outdated listing or a bad listing that does not have anything to do with you, or has been reported incorrectly, it is important to look over the details and dispute these mistakes first.
Make sure that for each listing on your credit report, you check the personal identification information. Like your name (correct spelling) address or addresses you have lived. Often, a listing that is not yours can end up on your report because it seems to match up with your details. If you dispute these types of errors first, other mistakes on your credit report will be corrected only if it’s really not yours.
Make a List of Items for your Credit Dispute Letters
Once you have made sure that each of the incorrect personal detail listings are accounted for now look at all of the other derogatory marks on your credit report. List these from most damaging (will be doing a video later this week on how to start) right down to neutral. For instance, a bankruptcy, repossession, short sale (I will go over short sales in a later post) far more harmful than a late payment or credit rejection.
Once you have all of the necessary disputable listings set out in front of you, begin writing your first letter of dispute (will be doing a video later this week on how to start). Each of the three credit reporting agencies should be addressed, even if these derogatory listings only appear in one or two of the reports. If the three reporting agencies are addressed with a credit dispute letter for each questionable listing, it will lower the possibility that, later on, these items do not appear on your other credit reports.
Send Each Dispute Separately
All listings, apart from incorrect personal data disputes, must be written out and sent separately (take the time do it right). If you try to dispute several items at once not only it is likely but almost guaranteed that the bureau will reject your claim on the grounds of it being irrelevant. Credit reporting agencies are required by law to investigate and accept that all disputes are legitimate unless they have evidence to prove otherwise. So don’t give up.
Personalize Your Letters
When writing the letters of dispute, some suggest handwriting them rather than typing them out. I disagree because I’ve seen some pretty bad handwriting (my dad and well me) so if you have bad hand writing don’t be upset just type it out. Make sure you use strong words that will make it clear to the TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian that the mentioned listing is being disputed. Examples of these words are erroneous, outdated, misleading or unverifiable. Do not spend time explaining things in your letter of dispute, explanations are not considered useful. When the reporting agency receives your letter, they are then required to investigate the listing you have disputed.
If you are unsure of the format of dispute letters, I will post samples after this post (stay tuned). These samples give you a good idea on how a dispute letter should be formatted and what details should be completed to get the maximum effect.
It will take between 2 weeks to a month to receive a reply from TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian letting you know that your letter has been received (you should already know it’s been received because you sent it certified/return receipt requested) and your dispute is being investigated. After a further 2-4 weeks, a new credit report should be received from the reporting agency to confirm that the item has been removed from you report or other actions taken.
Once the updated credit report has been received, you can then address the next dispute that you have until you have had all of the disputed.
•Sometimes, credit reporting agencies are slow to respond or choose not to respond at all. If this is the case, you will need to send another letter to them to remind them that they are obliged by law to address your dispute. If this becomes a problem I have sample letters written by attorneys that cover the laws.
• Disputing items on your credit report is no easy task, you will need a great deal of patience and persistent and DO NOT give up. Remember that the credit reporting agencies are required by law to investigate your disputes, so don’t let them bully you into thinking that it is not possible to have things removed from your credit report.
• For those who don’t have the time or are having difficulties with the credit reporting agencies, there are legal services available that will dispute the items for you at a small fee. (see add below)