Most everyone who has ever had bad credit has sought for improvement tips to remedy their situation. Why? A poor credit report caused by erroneously input items poses a lot of damage and places you in a bad light. The current state of your credit history determines your financial worthiness and your life in so many ways.
Adverse credit history can lower your chances of getting a loan or credit card, renting an apartment, buying a car, or even getting a good job.
Improving your credit score by correcting harmful data on your credit report is vital. While there are several ways to address the situation, we will discuss the 609 Dispute Letter route and how you can go about it.
What’s the 609 Dispute Letter?
A 609 dispute letter is a request to the credit bureaus (TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian) to remove harmful, inaccurate, and not verifiable data from your credit report. This letter got its name from Section 609 of theFair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) that seeks to protect you from illegitimate credit reports and collection practices.
If you have applied for a loan or other forms of credit from a lender, you may be denied based on the data on your credit report, which impacts your credit scores. When you check it yourself and find information that has no business, you have one option to draft and send a letter to the credit bureau(s).
The dispute letter encourages them to investigate the discrepancies and rectify the mistake properly.
Most people think that these credit bureaus do not make mistakes, especially when tabulating your credit information. But they do. In fact, according to a report by the Federal Trade Commission, one in five Americans have a piece of incorrect, erroneous information in their credit reports.
Thus, if you notice an error in your credit report, you should forward a 609 dispute letter to the credit bureaus.
What is Section 609?
Section 609 of the FCRA highlights a consumer’s right to request copies of their credit report and its reporting information. While the Act doesn’t precisely outline your right to repute incorrect information in your credit report, you have a right to assess and review all the information in your report. And if you spot something out of place, you can dispute it with the letter.
Section 609 of the FCRA permits you to request the following:
- That every prospective employer that has reviewed your credit report for the past two years
- Businesses that have made soft inquiries on your credit information
- All the data in your credit file and their respective sources.
- Access information that the credit bureaus are using to develop your credit report.
By doing so, you can make sure the credit bureaus aren’t calculating your credit scores using incorrect information. However, if they are, you can clean up your credit report by forwarding a 609 dispute letter to them.
What the 609 Dispute Letter Can’t Do
After discussing what the 609 dispute letters can help you achieve, you must know what they cannot do. Most people think the dispute letter is a leeway to exploit the system and polish any accurate information that impacts your credit scores.
However, the credit bureaus will not remove any verifiable debt; it will remain on your report. More so, the dispute letter will not remove existing debt from your credit report. Thus, the letter will not stop lending agencies from collecting their debts.
Correctly Disputing Items on Your Credit Report
The following steps are to be taken by you in forwarding a 609 dispute letter to your credit bureaus:
Get Your Free Credit Report
Before making a move to write a dispute letter, you need to know the current standings of your credit report. You need to request a free copy of your credit report online. Ensure that all the information recorded is accurate. If they aren’t, you should take action.
You can get a free copy of your credit report at theAnnual Credit Report
Write your Dispute Letter
Now that you’ve gotten your credit report and spotted some erroneous information, you should write the letter. The letter should contain the following:
- Personal Info. Include your full name, contact address, phone number, government-issued ID, and date of birth.
- Attorney Details. If you have an attorney representing you, include their name and contact details.
- Your account number. You need to include your account number reporting on the credit report if different than the actual account number.
- A statement from FCRA exercising your rights. You should state that you’re exercising your rights under the FCRA Section 609. Write that it is your right to review all the documents, credit applications, and contracts that have your signature.
- Highlight items of dispute in your credit report. You should highlight all the objects of conflict in your credit report and attach them to the letter.
- Removal request. You should also request the removal of the items you highlighted in the attached credit report. Remind the credit bureaus that they remove an item if they cannot identify and verify it within 30 days.
- Enclosures. If other documents support your statement, attach and refer to them.
Mail Your Dispute Letter
After writing your 609 dispute letter, you should sign and make copies of it and other documents. Mail the letter via certified mail through the United States Postal Service. You need to request a return receipt from USPS.
The postal service will give you certified mail at the point of mailing the letter and a return receipt upon delivery.
The addresses for the three credit bureaus are as follows:
TransUnion LLC Consumer Dispute Center
PO Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016
Equifax Information Services LLC
PO Box 740256
Atlanta, GA 30374
PO Box 4500
Allen, TX 75013
When to Hire A Professional
While anyone can draft 609 dispute letters, it is essential to hire the professional services of an expert credit counselor or credit repair attorney. You may not be conversant with the technicalities in drafting the letter and other aspects in repairing your credit report. The Phenix Groupoffers free credit consultation and can help you with a custom strategy to get your credit back on track.
Constantly reviewing your credit report will help spot discrepancies and make moves to correct them before they impact your chances on a loan or other forms of credit.