Credit Topic:Credit Dispute

Anatomy of a credit dispute letter

The old adage about the importance of first impressions is just as applicable when talking about a credit dispute letter. A well-written and properly crafted credit dispute letter can be invaluable in working to clean up your credit and improve your credit score -- making that dream of a new home, new car, or new job closer to becoming a reality.

Although a classic credit bureau dispute letter should follow generally accepted letter writing guidelines, it also needs some specific components that the credit bureaus will need to investigate your dispute. Please note that there are numerous variations of credit dispute letters you may use, and that they each may be more or less successful depending on your particular situation.

Use clear, concise, and unemotional language in your credit dispute letter

The upper left hand corner of your letter should include, in order, your name, address, telephone number, e-mail address (if you have one), and Social Security number. Two spaces below this section, enter the credit bureau's name and address, and, another two spaces below this, the date you send the letter.

The body of the letter should begin two spaces below a generic salutation. With a polite and clear tone, discuss each error in separate paragraphs. Accurately explain how the information you are disputing is inaccurate, untimely, misleading, incomplete, ambiguous, unverifiable, biased, or unclear. Plus, remember to use facts, not emotions; remain professional and courteous, and explain what action you are requesting the credit bureau take. If you need them to remove the item from your report, state just that.

In addition, it may be helpful to send a copy of the credit report with the disputed item(s) highlighted, along with any backup information that proves your claim that the questionable information indicated is inaccurate.

Effectively cleaning up your credit reports may end up requiring multiple letters and a number of different types of letters depending on the items being disputed and the responses you receive from the credit bureaus and your individual creditors. It is in part because of the time and learning investment that many people have to make in order to repair their own credit reports that many people opt to receive assistance from a credit repair organization. In fact, according to a survey of over 2,000 Lexington Law clients, almost 40% claimed to have attempted to repair their credit on their own before enlisting the help of the firm.

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