The credit dispute letter can determine whether your dispute is taken seriously or thrown in the pile labeled frivolous. The credit reporting agencies are looking for any excuse not to investigate a credit dispute.
An original credit dispute letter should be short, succinct, simple and request a full deletion of negative information, not a correction. You may not get the deletion but always request it. Correcting negative information has virtually no impact on your credit rating.
Your credit score will not improve with a correction of negative information such as a collection account or charge-off. Whether negative information is accurate or inaccurate, it is still negative.
Strategies, guidelines and general information when drafting dispute letters
- NEVER use the credit reporting agencies’ dispute forms…NEVER.
- The credit reporting agencies receive thousands of dispute letters on a daily basis. Representatives have a few minutes to examine the letter and determine a dispute code from among several specific codes offered by the E-Oscar system. Read more about E-Oscar.
- What the credit reporting agencies deem as form letters may not be taken as seriously as dispute letters written in an authentic, personalized voice. Show your frustration with how the issue is affecting you.
- Dispute letters which create an emergency and demonstrate how you have been harmed are more powerful. It is not that the credit reporting agencies care about your situation — they want to avoid any possible lawsuits.
- Base your disputes on factual errors. Many consumers submit disputes such as “account not mine” when it really is their account. Not only is this misleading, it may get your credit file flagged as “identity theft.” Dispute one factual error at a time. Do not use all your dispute reasons in one letter. Save some just in case you do not get the desired result the first time.
- Effective credit disputes should be specific, clear and concise. Always indicate why you are disputing an item. You have the right to dispute any inaccurate, incorrect, unverifiable or obsolete information in your credit file and request deletions.
- The optimum time of year to send a dispute letter is after Thanksgiving and before New Year’s Day. During this busy time of year, there is a good chance staff is over worked or on vacation. Dispute investigations must be completed within 30 days or the derogatory tradeline must be deleted.
- Refrain from making empty threats and quoting each and every FCRA violation in your dispute letter. Save that type of expertise for your dispute letters directly with the creditor. Credit reporting agency employees are working under a timeline and are not moved by your vast knowledge.
- Do not bombard the CRA’s with more than a 3-4 derogatory tradelines per dispute letter. Some consumers like to send a blanket dispute letter for all derogatory tradelines. This may work well; however, err on the side of caution as the CRA’s are looking for reasons not to investigate your disputes. Allow at least 30-60 days between every round of dispute letters.
- Avoid having your dispute requests being labeled “frivolous” or “irrelevant” by adhering to No. 9 above. Sending too many disputes at one time, or disputing the same item every 30 days will get your dispute flagged and the CRA’s can reject further disputes of that item for up to 12 months.
- Wait the entire (30) days; or, (45) days if you disputed based on the free credit report from the FACT Act’s annualcreditreport.com. You risk delaying your dispute results if you contact the CRA’s requesting status of a dispute. They may just mark the dispute as having received “new information” which would extend the 30 day period!
- Always, always, ask for deletions. When you submit dispute letters, state exactly what outcome you want. Disputing Charge-offs, Collection accounts, Public Records, Foreclosures, Repossessions and even Settled Accounts only makes sense if you request a deletion. Having inaccuracies or errors in these score killer accounts corrected will not improve your credit score.
- The exception to asking for deletions is late payments. Challenging late payments on the basis that you were never late could result in the account being corrected to “Paid Never Late.” Or, you can ask for a full deletion of the account. See more on “How to Dispute Late Payments”
How to Mail your Dispute Letter
There are two sides to this issue in the credit repair industry whether to send dispute letters via certified mail or regular mail. Some experts will say send everything certified mail in order to create a paper trail. Others will say send it regular mail because the credit bureaus get an enormous amount of mail and they do not have the time to deal with certified mail.
I say it is up to you but take into consideration the weight of the disputed item. For example: Disputing personal identifying information such as incorrect spellings of names, telephone numbers, addresses or employment is not as important as disputing a late payment, charged off or collection account. Do not waste money on the smaller items.
Where to Mail your Dispute Letter
Credit reporting agencies are known to have several addresses. The below addresses are believed to be currently accurate; however, you should always double check. It is a good practice to have alternate credit bureau addresses as each representative is different. One may deem your dispute letter frivolous and another may process the dispute.
I am sure you have experienced customer service representatives of the same company where you ask a question and get two totally different results. The credit bureaus are no different. Additionally, credit bureaus regularly change addresses, telephone numbers and fax numbers. To find alternate addresses simply Google “alternate credit bureau addresses.” Sending dispute letters to different addresses may get you a more favorable result.
PO BOX 9701
ALLEN TX 75013-9701
PO BOX 2104
ALLEN TX 75013
Equifax Information Services
P.O. Box 740256
Atlanta, GA 30374
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374
TransUnion Consumer Solutions
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022-2000
2 Baldwin Place
P.O. Box 2000, Chester, PA 19022