If you’ve noticed something awry in your credit report, there’s a lot you can do to take action and fix the problem. A well-composed credit dispute, first and foremost, should help you get back on your feet in no time. Whether it’s related to a hard inquiry you didn’t request or a loan that’s already been paid off but is remains on your history, you should always file a credit dispute if you have reason to believe your credit score has been negatively impacted by any type of error.
Though sometimes time-consuming, writing a credit dispute letter and gathering the necessary evidence to support your case is a straightforward process. Once you send your letter and supporting materials, the credit bureau is legally required to resolve your case in the next 30 days. This means they’ll have to investigate your dispute, contact the credit provider in question, and get to the bottom of things as quickly as possible.
You’ve got nothing to lose by filing a dispute: if the credit bureau finds in your favor, your credit score will likely improve in the next 2-4 weeks, and if they find that the disputed information was not reported in error, they’ll simply keep it on your history and do nothing else. Here, we provide everything you need to put together a complete and compelling credit dispute letter:
Building a Case
Before filing a dispute with the credit bureau, it’s important to get in touch with the credit provider in question. Once you’ve told them about your concern, they will look into the transaction. If they find in your favor and recognize their mistake, you’ll be spared the headache of having to contact the credit bureau and putting together a dispute.
If the credit provider doesn’t believe there’s been a mistake, however, you’ll want to request that they send you all of the verifying evidence they have, so that you can compile as much documentation as possible to support your case. When disputing an error on your credit report, there’s no such thing as too much evidence. Evidence can include monthly statements, credit reports, and letters that have been exchanged between you and the loan provider. Just make sure to notate the evidence with highlights and explanations so that the credit bureau representative knows exactly what they’re looking at.
Writing Your Letter
It’s best if the dispute letter itself is short and sweet. You’ll want to provide a standard header at the top of the document, including the date, your name, your address, and the name and address of the credit bureau that you are contacting. Then, you’ll want to quickly review the matter at hand:
I am writing to formally dispute the following information on my credit report. I have included an annotated print-out of my report to facilitate your investigation—the disputed item(s) have been highlighted. Please let me know if there’s any way I may be of further assistance in resolving these irregularities as quickly as possible.
-Item #1: Provide the name of the creditor and the type of item in question. Explain, briefly, why the item is inaccurate, and how the provided documentation supports your claim. Proceed to request that the item be deleted or modified to correctly reflect your transaction history.
-Item #2: Follow the same format as Item #1.
I am formally requesting that you investigate and resolve my claim(s) as soon as possible. You’ll find enclosed with this letter [court documents, monthly statements, etc.] that support my case. I hope this matter can be resolved within the mandatory 30-day time frame. Thank you for your help.
Enclosures: Provide a list of all supporting evidence included with the letter.
Sending Your Letter
Once you’ve composed your letter and assembled all of the documentation, you’ll need to submit everything to the credit bureau. All three credit bureaus make it easy to submit your dispute online. One of them, Experian, gives you no choice but to submit via their website. If you’re filing your dispute with TransUnion or Equifax, on the other hand, it’s always a better idea to send your letter via certified mail. This way, you’ll know exactly when the credit bureau received your letter, and you’ll be able to hold them accountable to their 30-day deadline.