A credit report dispute letter should be sent to the credit reporting agency (CRA) if there are any inaccuracies on a person’s credit report. This mistake can unfairly make the credit score lower, which will adversely affect the person’s attempts to get a credit card, car loan, rent an apartment or buy insurance.
A Federal Trade Commission (FTC) study in 2013 showed that one in five consumers have errors on their credit reports. It also states that five percent of the consumers with errors are serious enough to cause them to pay much more in interest for a loan.
Four out of five consumers get some modification to their credit report if they file a dispute, and more than one in 10 had their credit score raised. It is rare, but possible, to get a credit score raised from 25 – 100 points.
The first thing to do is ask the three credit reporting agencies, which are TransUnion, Equifax and Experian, for a credit report. Each agency is separate and may have different information. There could be an error on one report and not on another.
Each agency should be contacted if the inaccuracy is information that does not belong to the consumer or if it is a wrong address or incorrect public record information. Other inaccuracies should only be disputed with the CRA report that contains the mistake.
Dispute Credit Reports Online or By Mail
Consumers can dispute credit reports online or by mail. If they choose to use the postal service, they should send the letter by certified mail, so they have a receipt that is proof of when the letter was sent and received.
It is recommended to also dispute an item with the credit furnisher. However, the dispute must be made with the CRA before the consumer can sue for credit damage. For this reason, the consumer can send a copy of the dispute letter with documentation to the furnisher at the same time.
The letter should be brief and to the point. The person reading the letter will not take the time to read a lengthy notification. The letter should not be more than one page. If there are several disputed items on the credit report, they should be put into bullet points.
The credit reporting agencies are legally bound to investigate consumer disputes, so it is not necessary to add references to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
All the documentation required to prove the dispute should be included. These should be copies of the originals. Original documents should never be sent. Each document that is enclosed should be listed at the end of the letter.
Second Credit Report Dispute Letter
If this is the second credit report dispute letter for the same dispute, the consumer can put a cc at the bottom of the letter and send a copy of this letter to the state attorney general’s office, Better Business Bureau and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. These institutions need not be sent copies with a first letter.
Below are samples of a credit dispute letter that can be sent by mail. It should be sent by certified mail because then the consumer will get proof that the credit agency received the letter and when they received it. Any enclosures such as bills or credit reports should be copies with the mistake highlighted. No original documents should be sent.
Sample 1 – Letter to Dispute Credit Report Error
9876 Carmen Way
Fairfield, vA, 94533
February 1, 2019
ABC Credit Bureau
Address of ABC Credit Bureau
City, State, Zip Code