The Credit Monkey regularly receives requests for sample credit repair letters. Composing dispute letters from scratch can be daunting to the uninitiated. To make it easier, below are templates for three of my most used and most effective credit repair letters. If one of these letters don’t fit your circumstance, modify the letter. I use some variation of these three letters for a large percentage of all my communications with the credit bureaus.

First Dispute Letter Explanation

The first sample letter disputes two collections accounts when a credit bureau listed a debt but provided no creditor names and addresses for the accounts. Without a creditor’s name and address, it is impossible to know if the reported collections account is actually yours. It could belong to someone else. It could be fictitious. Furthermore, a debt without a name and address cannot be validated or even paid if appropriate. A nameless collection account should never be on your credit report. It’s bad news because the nameless collections account hurts you credit score. The good news is that nameless accounts are easy to remove.

With a few small changes, this letter can also be used for a single disputed item or for three or more disputed items. It could also be used for disputes other than unnamed accounts. It could be used for such things as wrong addresses, incorrect date of birth, etc. Keep in mind that you should limit a single dispute letter to similar types of disputes,i.e., addresses, dates, unnamed account, etc.

Keep disputes simple. By mixing types of disputes in the same letter, you could confuse clerical workers at the credit bureaus. Plus, keeping it simple makes follow up easier, should follow up be necessary. The Monkey discusses follow up in his third sample letter.

Second Dispute Letter Explanation

The second sample letter disputes an entry on a credit report for which you have the documentation to prove the entry is incorrect. It is not unusual for a collection agency not to report a payment, for a lien holder not to file a satisfaction or even for a collection agency to sell your account to another collector after you paid the debt. It happens all the time.

If you have the documents to support your claim, reference them in your letter and include copies with the dispute. Make sure you circle or highlight the pertinent information in your documentation. Make it easy for the credit bureau clerks to identify the error.

As with the first letter, keep your explanation simple and to the point. You don’t want to confuse the office staff reading the dispute. Instead, make it easy for the clerical staff to help you should you need to follow-up.

Third Dispute Letter Explanation

Not all credit disputes have satisfactory endings. Clerical errors happen. What appears simple to, is not simple to others. Collectors ignore debt validation letters. Sometimes credit bureaus investigators get it wrong. The Monkey’s third letter is a simple letter demanding that the credit bureau get it right.

For the most part, threats mean little in the world of credit repair. A credit bureau’s staff member is not personally liable for oversights and errors. The statutory penalties for violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) are relatively small, bout $1000 per instance plus attorney’s fees. That’s petty cash to a credit bureau whose income is a billion dollars every year. Accordingly, no great effort is expended by any of the credit bureaus validating your claims.

Knowing that threats have little financial meaning, why do the Monkey’s sample letters contain threats? Simple. The threats demonstrate your knowledge of credit law. They show that you know how to proceed if you receive an unsatisfactory outcome. Furthermore, the threats name the government agencies and officials that could exert pressure on your behalf and even levy fines on the credit bureaus if a pattern of abuse is discovered.

How to Use Credit Dispute Letters

Congress enacted the FCRA and FDCPA in the late 60’s and early 70’s. At that time, the de facto standard business communication was the letter. Accordingly, the Acts were written around the use of letters. As the de facto business communication standard changed, so did the ways that the credit bureaus accepted consumer disputes.

Credit bureaus accept dispute letters sent VIA the United States Post Office because they had to to be compliant with the law. In the 1980’s they began accepting dispute letters by fax. More recently, the credit bureau started accepting online disputes because they are faster to resolve and more importantly to the credit bureaus, less expensive to process.

Regardless of how your dispute is delivered, the components of the dispute are then same, a date, consumer identification, notice of the dispute, and an explanation of the dispute. That is enough information for the credit bureaus to investigate your disputed item and respond in a timely manner. (A credit bureau has forty-five (45) days after it receives your complaint to mail its response to its investigation.) In other words, you can use these letters in any form of dispute.

What To Expect When You Dispute

Generally, when a credit reporting company receives your dispute, it immediately removes the disputed account from your credit record. That removal results with an instant bump to your credit score. But, don’t get to excited. The higher score comes at a cost.

The price of that bump is a new history category appears on your credit report, “DISPUTES”. Your credit report now tells a lender who pulls your credit report how many disputes you filed. That information is critical.

Lenders are credit savvy. They know the tricks. For instance, conforming mortgage lenders will not approve a loan if there are disputes on the applicant credit report. A dispute could be $10,000 judgment or a $100 medical bill. It’s impossible for a lender to know. A mortgage lender needs to know what information the dispute hides to assess the risk before offering credit. Rather than take a chance, they decline the mortgage loan.

As an example, an applicant’s credit score of 760 will change to 540 after forty-five (45) days when the debtor’s fifteen (15) disputes are found to be unsubstantiated and the delinquent accounts are calculated back into his credit score. The credit bureaus and the lenders make it almost impossible to circumvent system.

Don’t expect to receive your entire corrected credit with a score even though it was corrected. All you get when the investigation is complete is a letter explaining the results of the investigation. The credit bureaus make money by selling credit reports and credit scores. They won’t give one to you for free unless the law requires it.

Finally, don’t expect the credit bureaus to be on your side. Lenders pay them for your information. The same lenders provide them your payment histories and account balances for free. To the credit bureaus, you are little more than a data file. The only reason your credit report and score exists is to make them money

How To Personalize the Sample Letters

Look at the header first. Add the date that you intend to mail the dispute letter and remove the braces. As mentioned earlier, the correct date is important because delivery time (five (5) days each way) plus the forty-five (45) days research and response period keys your next action.

Next, choose the credit bureau to which you are mailing the dispute and delete the others. HINT: The Credit Monkey often leaves two or three credit bureaus on a letter if the very same letter is going to more than one bureau. That way, I copy and keep only one letter for my file rather than duplicates or triplicates of the same.

Replace John Smith’s name and address with yours and remove the brackets. The Monkey is always nervous about including social security numbers in correspondence. Doing so, is an invitation for identity theft. Unfortunately, social security numbers is the datapoint that the credit bureaus use to index your credit file. There’s no effective way around it. Include your social number in the header.

Specificity is important in the body of the letter. Inform the investigator the date of the credit report for the item(s) you are disputing along with its account number and line number. Edit the sample letter if necessary to be specific.

Briefly describe your dispute. Regardless of your story, don’t write a book. Nobody at the credit bureau cares and no one will read it. In the beginning, a sentence or two is more effective the pages detail. Save the long drawn out explanations for an appeal. Use the examples in letter two. Remember to remove the braces.

Include your telephone number and/or email address in your letter if for no other reason than it’s professional; but don’t expect a credit bureau to contact you by telephone. They won’t.

Finally, whenever possible include with your letter the page(s) of your credit report with the item(s) disputed. Also include any documentation that you have which supports your dispute. Circle or highlight the important information. Assume the person investigating your dispute is a low paid clerk with little training. Make it easy for the investigator to help you.

Sample Letter Template One – Request to correct or supply missing information

[December 15, 2016]

VIA U.S. FIRST CLASS

Experian
P.O. Box 4500
Allen, TX 75013

Equifax Credit Information Services, Inc.
P.O. Box 740256
Atlanta, GA 30374

TransUnion, LLC.
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022.

RE: [John Smith
22 Bell Vue Court
Hometown, PA 10000]
S.S.N. # XXX-XX-XXXX

Dear Sir/Madam:

Pursuant to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), this letter is a formal request to correct inaccurate information contained in my credit file. The items listed below are incomplete and misleading. I have enclosed a partial copy of the credit report provided to me on [Date of credit report you are referencing] and circled in red are the items in question.

Line Item(s): Xxxxx (x) and Xxxxx (x)

Item Description: Alleged [medical] accounts with no name but with alleged account numbers xxxxxxxxx and xxxxxxxx.

Requested Correction: Please delete the above accounts from the file you maintain under my social security number because they are impossible to validate or satisfy as you report them.

In accordance with the FCRA, I request that you investigate my claim and, if after your investigation, you find my claim to be valid and accurate, immediately delete the items. Furthermore, I request that you timely supply a corrected copy of my credit profile to me.

If your investigation shows the information to be accurate, I respectfully request that you forward to me a description of the procedure used to determine the accuracy and completeness of the item in question within 15 days of the completion of your re-investigation as required by the FCRA.

I thank you for your consideration and cooperation. If you have any questions concerning this matter I can be reached at [insert daytime phone number including area code].

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

The CreditMonkey

Sample Letter Template Two – Request to correct or supply missing information

[December 15, 2016]

VIA U.S. FIRST CLASS

Experian
P.O. Box 4500
Allen, TX 75013

Equifax Credit Information Services, Inc.
P.O. Box 740256
Atlanta, GA 30374

TransUnion, LLC.
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022

RE: Error Dispute
[John M. Smith
33 Main Street
Hometown, PA 10000]
S.S.N. # XXX-XX-XXXX
Account Number:Xxxxxxxxxxx

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, I am writing to dispute the entry of the above stated entry in my credit file held with your company. I have also circled the item on the attached copy of my credit report.

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 deleted [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, court documents] supporting my position. Please investigate this (these) matter(s) again and [delete or correct] the disputed item(s) as soon as possible.

I thank you for your consideration and cooperation. If you have any questions concerning this matter I can be reached at [insert daytime phone number including area code].

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

The CreditMonkey

Enclosure:

Sample Letter Template Three – Appeal Letter

[January 2, 2017]

VIA U.S. FIRST CLASS MAIL

Choose the correct agency and delete the others.
Experian
P.O. Box 4500
Allen, TX 75013

Equifax Credit Information Services, Inc.
P.O. Box 740256
Atlanta, GA 30374

TransUnion, LLC.
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022

RE: Error Dispute
[John M. Smith
33 Main Street
Hometown, PA 10000]
S.S.N. # XXX-XX-XXXX
Account Number: Xxxxxxxxxxx

To Whom It May Concern:

On [date on credit dispute letter] a letter was sent to you requesting removal of the above listed account from my credit report because [provide the reason from your previous letter]. (A copy of that letter is attached.) You have heretofore not responded to my request nor have you corrected the error within the forty-five (45) day time frame required by the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). As you are no doubt aware, falsely reporting a debt can spur possible legal action pursuant to the FCRA. Therefore, I demand that you immediately make the appropriate changes to my credit report to avoid further violating the FCRA.

Should you fail to timely follow Federal Law, I will file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Attorney General of the [state or commonwealth that you live]. Furthermore, if necessary, I will direct my lawyer to file suit under the applicable provisions of the FCRA, for fraud and for credit slander in [your state or commonwealth] Court.

I hope you will take advantage of this opportunity to resolve this matter without the need for unnecessary complaints and litigation.

Warm Regards,

The Credit Monkey

Enclosure:

If these letters are helpful, please leave a comment, share the post or send the Monkey an email at info@creditmonkey.pro.